The first Destiny got a bit of a rough ride in terms of reviews. Between a dodgy storyline and endless “go here, press this, fight off bad guys for a while” loops of gameplay, the endgame content was lost in amongst the annoyance of those who didn’t quite wait long enough for the rest of the game to open up. I was part of that, not realising how much game was about to open up after the credits landed, so when Destiny 2 rocked up I was determined to make sure I got the whole picture. So I did. And while I’m still not entirely bowled over I still find myself coming back for more, so they must have done something right.
Tackling the issues from the original Destiny game first, it’s easy to say the storyline is far better than last time out, plotting the story of the Traveller losing most of its power and you, the last remaining Guardian with any light to speak of (eventually), fighting to try and rescue the Earth and hopefully win back the Traveller, the Tower and everything else that made the Guardians what they were best known for. It’s a pretty good plot really, and unlike last time out I was quite strongly driven to press on and see how the story panned out. It felt pretty obvious where it was going to end up, but through various twists and uncertainties I was never entirely sure that my assumptions were going to pan out. There’s also far less of the wave fighting encounters, instead focusing on more standard progression through levels. There are some awesome battles too, and at least two moments where I was sure the story was over, only to find another chapter waiting round the corner.
The weapon system has been tweaked a little too, now giving you a slot for standard kinetic weapons, one for element based energy weapons and another for the slightly more badass power kit such as rocket launchers and the like. It’s an interesting change which works fairly well (you’ll always have an energy weapon available via a quick stab of the triangle button) but has taken one of my favourite types of weapon out of standard circulation: sniper rifles. Last time round I really settle on having an auto rifle and sniper rifle as my two main weapons, but you’ll only find sniper rifles in the power weapon category, those which have the very limited purple ammo. Dropping sniper rifles in amongst the grenade launchers and other big hitters does mean you can’t rely on them too heavily, and certainly all but kills their use in the Crucible, but I certainly miss being able to use them more frequently.
But when it comes to weapons and other kit, the draw to have one more hour just to see if something cool and more powerful drops is every bit as strong as it always has been. That feeling when your first legendary engram drops, then the occasional golden exotic one pops up is still great, although the crushing disappointment when they decrypt into something less powerful than what you’ve already got is also every bit as evident this time round.
Completing the main story opens up the activities needed to unlock some of the more beefy kit, whether that’s the insanely difficult raids, the not-quite-as-insane-but-still-difficult Nightfall strikes or some of the slightly more sensibly pitched other activities, you’ll be constantly working towards better gear, picking up reputation with various folk around the social spaces in order to be rewarded for your efforts. There’s loads to do, and while it still boils down to doing the same things over and over, there’s enough variety in the raids and medication missions (basically repeating a tough mission for reputation points) that you won’t get too bored too quickly.
If you do, then there’s always the Crucible and all it offers. There are a few new ways to play the competitive multiplayer this time round, and from the start the matches are broken into casual and more intense games, both giving rewards but with different game modes and lengths. It’s a nice addition, letting you have a couple of quick games without worrying too much about the hardcore players dominating everything; they’ll be in the other playlist trying to win more impressive kit.
With the expected program of DLC lying ahead it’s pretty obvious that Destiny 2 will gain the support that its first incarnation enjoyed, although whether that means that your hard earned weapons will instantly be made useless remains to be seen, but it seems more than likely.
Essentially though Destiny 2 puts right a lot of what was wrong with Destiny 1, and leaves us with an improved version of what, once you gave it time, turned out to be a very enjoyable game. It’s addictive, having that “one more go…” factor, and has such great tight gameplay that it’s almost impossible to not enjoy it. It’ll be interesting to see what future DLC brings, but right now this is another great entry in the already-awesome Destiny series.
Reviewed on PS4