DESTINY 2 [Review]: Destiny’s *Superior* Child.
“Monsignor” TRAVIS MOODY: This review was supposed to go up Sunday night. Then it was supposed to go up Monday night. Tuesday. And.. ahhh.. here we here on a crisp and cool Wednesday night, chiefly because Destiny 2‘s campaign is massive–at least in comparison to Vanilla D. It took me far longer than I expected to finish, and for that I apologize, but what a wildly enjoyable, 25-plus hour ride these Patrols, Adventures, Lost Sectors, and Public Events were and continue to be. N00bz, casuls, trend-hoppers, and lone wolves (such as I) should have a far more accessible time jumping into — and, ultimately, loving the fuck out of — this sequel.
“Father” RYAN FORBER: It definitely seems more like a game for everyone. That said, I was a huge fan of the original Destiny. The multiplayer cooperative play–paired with the Crucible–was like nothing I had ever seen in a first-person shooter before. And you’ll love this, Moody: The storyline has vastly improved. I know you, in particular my man, found the plot of the original woefully wanting (“The Darkness?” Really? Did we stumble into a Never Ending Story knock-off with guns?) But that’s old news; Destiny 2 has me engaged in a way where I found myself really wanting to pop Ghaul in the face, and that’s good for a game in my book.
“The Advocate of Al’Akul” ADAM BOWERS: Ahhh… The Crucible. Since I know you fellas will focus more on story (since it’s clear Moody’s a lonely wolf and all), I’ll stick to the competitive MP that you brought up, Ry-Dawg: In the short time I’ve messed around with this sequel’s Crucible mode I’ve had a ton of fun. It seems like Bungie erased many of the beta’s complaints, such as abilities that took forever, etc. When the match was over, I had yet to get my Super fully-charged. That changes here. The only issue is the lack of opponents; everyone is doing PvE and/or finishing the story, which is incredible!
MOODY: Maybe that’s because this action shooter has a story that is finally engaging but doesn’t promise to be some enormous RPG thing it clearly isn’t, or can’t be (For all intents and purposes, I’d grade the original Destiny 3.25/5 Bibles). The cinematics get you where you need to go, vocal performances from Lance Reddick (Zavala) and Nathan Fillion (Cayde-6) are on-point, with a little more Star Warsian type humor this time out without ruining the game’s overall tone (imagine Failsafe as a talking female BB-8). I don’t need to have dialogue options, craft weapons, talk to local townsfolk, and complete 600 fetch-quests to enjoy a great game. I just need something to fight for.
ADAM: Get it, Trav! Yes. Most folk seem to be grinding the Strikes, which award higher light gear and weapons. The game is far more rewarding and, thus, the Crucible feels way better than Year One and faster too. Not in terms of matches, but in terms of firefights. Not being constantly sniped is a nice welcome change and battles now turn to who has a better understanding of how to: A.) Play the game, B.) Know their own Class. Here’s a good hint at how to now play the Crucible: Play it like Halo 2 and 4.
MOODY: Good to hear. Ryan, I thought the O.G. Destiny had lots of failed promise. Sure, mechanically, it was arguably the best shooter around– but, really, did Bungie have had any idea what type of game they were making? Their original premise (and funny-ass promise to support the game for a decade–did they mean D1-3? #SMH) sounded like a Mass Titanfall Effect/The Old Halo Republic. None of that happened, naturally, but what resulted in years of work from a very dedicated dev team and an extremely active and loyal community came a fantastic core for something more. That “more” is Destiny 2, and now that I know and understand and accept what the series is, I love it. Considering The Taken King (to which its sublcasses, Nightstalker Hunter, Stormcaller Warlock and Sunbreaker Titan, are thankfully included here), the sky’s the limit for what Bungie has yet to offer with this sequel.
RYAN: Indeed! Thankfully those mechanics you mentioned, in regards to overall power, keep the game familiar but fresh. Hell, I found the challenge of leveling up to 20 and beating the main storyline–all while acquiring loot along the way–trying, yet possible. In other words, I died a few times; struggled to find some hidden places on the map, but I didn’t hurl my controller at the screen in frustration over an insurmountable boss.
MOODY: Agreed. The difficulty feels perfect. When the tough gets going, just sub-class super the fuck out of dodge! My Hunter went from Darth Mauling down these “Max Rebo” dweebos to golden gunning down War Beasts to ghost-bowing shadow-arrows into the heart of the Red Legion. I don’t know about you dudes, but I rotate my guns seemlessly several times a fight.
RYAN: Okay, lovers. Now for the bad (but not too bad). One of the downsides to Destiny is that one has to remain online at all times, and Bungie (and Xbox One and PS4) has already suffered major server crashes and other unexplained errors that have kept thousands of players offline and frustrated. I’m sorry, in the post-World of Warcraft world in which we live, this is some entry level bullshit. The tired excuses of “Too much traffic!” And, “Please be patient while we work on this problem” are pretty unacceptable. Figure out how to run a server, or maybe bow out of the video game industry. Another drawback, while I maintain that the game feels fresh, it might not feel fresh enough for players who felt ho-hum about its predecessor. It’s still a loot grind and, although Bungie has done a great job making that grind feel new, exciting, and engaging, a loot grind it remains.
ADAM: The quality of life of Destiny 2 is much-much-much better. Having your weapon nodes already unlocked is a surprising, welcome change. No more sitting in a corner using Motes of Light to unlock your weapons perks, only to realize they suck ass. It’s a wonderful thing to see an actual map where Public Events are, rather than the use of half-assed third-party web-based app. Going from planet to planet without first launching into Orbit is also satisfying. It also feels right to open patrols from 8 to 16, as if you really are in a war. The Clan intergration was not fully instituted when it was first released (9/6), but as of 9/9 it was and a much heralded change. Being able to recruit or join a clan in-game rather than go to Bungie.net, create a username, log on, click Clan, find said clan, request to join, wait to be accepted, then go back and set as clan.. oh, you get the picture. The amount of things to do in Destiny 2 is more varied, but it still boils down to shoot guy, claim reward, curse the RNG Gods.
MOODY: And that’s exactly what I contemplated going into this sequel: As a lone wolf, am I ever truly going to enjoy and feel immersed in this universe? From the first day of the first game, I felt so far apart from everyone else. In the one week having the game, I’m finding myself so much more involved in Destiny 2 — jumping into every Public Event I can muster, meeting random guardians, adding them to party chat and teaming up with them in previous areas that don’t feel so “previous” the second or third time out with a partner or three. Those planet environs, by the way, are so gorgeous you don’t even need a 4K television; hell, planet Nessus reminds us of the game No Man’s Sky and Mass Effect Andromeda (whoa!) should have been. I’m just imagining how stunning these no-longer-hollow-worlds will look on the Xbox One X this Holiday. There’s tons of loot to find and a lot more hidden areas that don’t feel like such a grind, and that makes me happy. Above all else (having had zero server issues in 33-hours on Xbox Live, too), D2 just feels so fucking good. What it lacks in density it certainly does not lack in technical gun-blasting mastery. 4.5/5 Bibles.
ADAM: Hells yes. The gameplay is much faster, more crisp, and beautiful. The colors are vibrant and the explosions looks so stunning. The score really sets the tone; definitely one of the best Bungie has done, which is saying something since the development team has done some amazing soundtracks (I mean.. Halo: Combat Evolved!). There are not enough words in this tri-force review to express how amazing Destiny 2 is, and this coming from the resident Destiny player in GHG (sorry, Danny) with impossibly infinite expectations (Closed Family & Friends Beta to Age of Triumph update; yes, nerds, I got the shirt). There’s no doubt I will be playing this with my clan, The Quest Runners (with Moody or not). Eyes Up, Guardian. 5/5 Bibles.
RYAN: It’s worth mentioning, gents, that the deluxe package doesn’t feel like a total rip-off: Coldheart is a legit weapon in both PvE and PvP; you have access to two expansions; and, you’ll get hours of replay time that will make the money feel well spent. Destiny 2 should be the clear-cut Best Shooter of the Year and, just maybe, of this Console Generation. Only time will tell. 4.5/5 Bibles.
Keep in mind, guardians, that we are far from the endgame with Destiny 2. We will keep this review “in progress” in the weeks and months to come the more Bungie updates and makes changes.