|System: PS4, Xbox One, PC|
|Initial Release: September 6, 2017|
|PC Release: October 24, 2017|
|Players: 1-8 Player|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood, Language, Violence|
by Jenni Lada
It’s time for a fresh start. Destiny was a game with growing pains that turned into something beloved. Destiny 2 is here, ready to carry on the legacy. While it has some of its own growing pains to contend with, this is not a case where a game is released, takes time to find its footing, and only comes into its own after a few weeks and months. Destiny 2 hits the ground running. Are there occasional stumbles, especially in regards to the Crucible? Sure. But what is there is well organized and structured, eases players into adventures, and feels like it is preparing people for better things.
Destiny 2 has a strong story, one of the biggest changes from Destiny.While the original game had recognizable characters, such as Zavala, Ikora Rey, and Cayde-6, I never had the sense that we were actively involved in each others’ lives. We had the same profession and interacted from time to time as a result, but I couldn’t tell you much about them. Destiny 2 is all about the personal details. The game begins with The Last City falling. Dominus Ghaul and the Cabal Empire’s Red Legion have come to take the Traveler by force and steal its Light. All of the Guardians lose their light, many people are killed, and The Last City falls. The three Vanguards each retreat, with Zavala on Titan, Ikora on Io, and Cayde-6 on Nessus. Only the player’s Guardian remains unscathed, as he or she is restored after encountering a Traveler shard in the European Dead Zone.
There are a lot of familiar elements to Destiny 2’s story. A big bad wants everything for himself and isn’t afraid to use force to get it. The players’ Guardians are the special ones who somehow are able to save everything, even though there are more established warriors out there. Whenever a “bad guys” cutscene shows up, it’s Dominus Ghaul making threatening gestures, but sometimes not really doing anything. People like Suraya Hawthorne and Devrim Kay come across as typical, tough survivors. Where it really excels is with Zavala, Ikora, and Cayde-6’s personal crises. Each character goes to different extremes to cope. Getting to visit their respective planets, help them with their quests, connect with them, and restore them to their positions ended up being one of my favorite things to do in the game.
Of course, customizing your own character is pretty great too. Destiny 2 sticks with the Hunter, Titan, and Warlock classes, giving each person Arcstrider Hunter, Sentinel Titan, and Dawnblade Warlock options to start. The Hunter feels almost exactly the same as it did in Destiny. It is a tight and responsive character, great in a firefight, though a bit frail unless players know what they’re doing. Titans are great for beginners, due to their strength and ability to put up shields. Warlocks are good in-between characters, with healing skills and bursts. The character creator is capable enough, letting you make some unique looking Awoken, Exos, and humans. Everyone feels rather balanced, and I especially appreciate how physical the Dawnblade Warlock feels with its Daybreak special that essentially has it wielding fire swords for a brief period of time.
My only qualm is that the additional subclasses just seem to… appear? I was traveling, I received a relic after defeating some enemies, and then had to go through a questline to get the Voidwalker Warlock subclass. I don’t know if getting to level eight made a difference or what, but suddenly I had this extra option available to me. It felt a little haphazard in a game where having things organized so you can build the exact character you want is so desirable.
Destiny 2’s world not only feels more structured, with its multiple campaign missions and side-quests that give you greater perspective when it comes to characters and places like Earth, Titan, Nessus, and Io, but more connected. When you want to go between Destinations, you bring up the Director and choose a Planet or the Crucible. When you head to a planet, you choose where you want to land. (You begin with one fast travel point in each area, but eventually gain more.) You can then track different quests on the map, checking out locations and exploring along the way. The downside is, you don’t actually get a chance to buy a Sparrow until after Destiny 2’s campaign is complete. It’s a bit of a letdown, since I loved finding new Sparrows and would have enjoyed tooling around on them earlier.
There are some great maps in Destiny 2. The locations on each of the planets you’ll visit are rather large and detailed. You’ll go through multiple corridors, explore caverns and rooms, and have various levels of elevation and impromptu pieces of cover scattered around the place. They all fit in well and connect with the world, which is beautiful by the way. Each planet has a very defined setting and biome. Titan’s my favorite, with rigs that are moving with the waves and containers that shift along with them to provide cover constantly sliding across surfaces. When you look into the background, you’ll see the oceans churning, storms constantly striking, and ships being tossed about.
It almost makes up for how repetitious Destiny 2 can be. Its campaign missions and side-quests tend to all proceed in rather similar ways. You’ll go through a number of areas where enemies swarm you. Initial objectives will require you to wipe all of them out. This will happen a few times until a point where you hit a zone where your Ghost can’t revive you. This triggers a boss or two, often accompanied by more generic enemies. If you’re alone and pushing the recommended power level, it could mean resetting back to a checkpoint or two. Sometimes, there will be an objective that involves doing things until a certain percent of things happen, but that percentage can feel as meaningless as the one indicating your phone’s battery life. Reassuring, but able to suddenly slow to a crawl or speed up.