Back….. To the Future
Remember in Back to the Future II where Marty travels back to 1955 again? We get to see the events from the first movie happen for a second time, from a different angle, while the new plot unfolds that eventually brings us all back to the 1985 we know and love. I mean 2014… Sorry, 2017…..
Destiny 2 is the sequel to Bungie’s 2014 shoot and loot co-op space adventure. And like Back to the Future II, we see similar things but at a different angle. It still plays the same(for better or worse), we are still going on about the Traveler and Guardians, and we still come full circle back to 1985 with the end game content including an all new raid. So, the question is, does Destiny 2 show itself as the better game? The answer is on down the road, but we don’t need roads(right? right?!?!?) to finish this review.
As usual, I don’t like to spoil things if I can help it, so anything I will be discussing will not contain spoilers to the story outside of the trailer that was shown before the game launched.
To start with, Destiny 2 shows us right off the bat that the soundtrack is going to be just as good if not better than the first game. Michael Salvatori once again lends his skills to improve upon an already fantastic foundation from the first Destiny’s music. The menu gives us these moments of sheer awe followed by another mystery waiting off in the distance. Let’s find out what that is. You will notice right away that Destiny 2 looks much more vibrant and clear, letting the devs show off a bit with the different environments it has to offer. I will say it ran smoother too, moving around felt more fluid, as well as being able to control your jumps mid air also a bit easier.
While most things can be conquered in Destiny 2 by yourself, it is always more fun with friends. Grab two other people and create a fireteam of three, to roam around planets completing the main story and the multitude of side quests laying around. Are there new classes? Well, you get not one, not two, but(wait for it) ZERO new classes! Okay, that’s not entirely true. The three main classes- Hunter, Warlock, and Titan, now have one new subclass to play around with. So each class gets three subclasses so far. I have always enjoyed playing the Hunter class, so I started out with the Arcstrider subclass. You get your usual grenade types, double and triple jumps, but a really cool ultimate that has you running around with a staff made of arc energy to swing at foes and their faces. You can also do a jumping attack that brings down an area of effect that stuns most enemies, including bosses. Warlock and Titan classes also start out with their new subclass as well. So while I leveled up, I would eventually unlock the other subclasses as well, each with their own abilities and ultimates, but you had to do a certain amount of public events with other people to truly unlock them. No big deal, public events are on every planet.
Happy days are here! Gone is the silly way you traveled from planet to planet by having to go into orbit first. You can bring up your map and select your planet and destination from wherever you are standing! It’s the small things people. This made traversing the four planets much more efficient. Earth makes a reappearance along with three new planets called Nessus, Titan, and Io. Each planet has its own unique habitats, teeming with plenty of foliage and areas to explore. Add in the enemy types running around, and it can make for some fun times blowing things up while looking at the broken down buildings, or the crazy interwoven caves, or platforming across floating blocks. But your sparrow(hover cycle) is locked from the get go. Sadly, it isn’t unlocked until after you complete the main story and hit level 20. I really didn’t understand this, because there really wasn’t much of a point to traverse the planet with the option to fast travel around it. But the more I played, I sort of understood why. A couple of these planets are rather small, and on top of that, there really isn’t much to explore that isn’t near a fast travel point.
So before we get to the end game stuff, I guess you want my thoughts on the campaign? Well, without giving anything away, I will tell you this much. I expected more. Not only was the campaign really short, it did nothing to move the story or lore of the Destiny universe forward. We see this new race called the Cabal, and a massive army of Cabal called the Red Legion that comes to earth. With this new threat, we get to see the leader of the Red Legion, led by a very menacing Cabal named Dominus Ghaul. Ghaul immediately makes you feel helpless as he destroys everything you care about, captures the Traveler(Glowing giant ball that gives you your powers called light), and kicks you off a ledge and leaves you for dead. Alright! A villain and a plot! You are now without light, unable to use your powers or revive yourself. Fast forward a bit, you seem to be the only one who gets their light back, you help out Cayde-6, Zavala, and Ikora as they plan to take out the Red Legion. Fast forward a bit more, you meet some new characters, and you are fighting Dominus Ghaul. And he is ridiculously easy. Very disappointed here. With all the events that transpire, nothing moves the story forward. At all. You still know nothing about the Traveler, not much on Ghaul or why he came, or even what happens now? But hey, at least Nathan Fillion gets a bit more dialogue, right? As usual, he brings some decent laughs presenting the happy go lucky psycho attitude of Cayde-6. But outside of that, everything else is bland.
If you do get tired of grinding away, you can always try your luck at the Crucible, which is the player versus player aspect that lets you duke it out to see who is the best. You can still get decent gear from this, and it is a good distraction from the main game. Crucible feels a bit more polished this time around, albeit some lag issues that I’m sure will be fixed later on. Fighting for power ammo is always a blast, and had me laughing or yelling at the screen on many occasions. But like most pvp stuff, I got bored and went back to see the post endgame content.
I guess you could say Destiny 2 opens/starts up here, revealing new missions, strikes, and daily/weekly objectives. It’s all about those light levels, and the real grind starts here. Getting to higher levels seems easy enough at first, by completing public events and patrols, but soon the hill gets steeper and the rewards farther apart. I get it, you can’t have the best gear in the game over the course of a day or two, but getting exotic duplicates was a hard thing to get past when you keep seeing the same things pop. But at least there is enough to hop on and play when you have friends running strikes. The nightfall missions seem more straightforward now, really restricting the time you have to complete them. All of this leads you up to the six person raid full of puzzles and bosses to explore and defeat.
The raids are no short mission, usually taking several hours to complete. This is where my biggest complaint comes in. There is no party system or matchmaking to get people together for the raid. Bungie discusses this, and says that you must have people that will be ready to put in the time and not just quit out. I get that, but the option would be nice. If I can use a party finder in a mmo for dungeons that take hours to complete, this should be no different. And yes, you can go certain websites and find a group to play with, I have heard all the arguments, but that just doesn’t cut it. Bungie, add in the option and give it a chance! Listen to your fan base! End rant. I don’t want to spoil the raid, but just like Destiny, it will be the thing most remember before the dlc releases.
So we’ve had some ups and downs here in this review, and a small rant near the end. But overall, Destiny 2 is a pretty solid game, especially with friends. Many will say wait for the dlc, as most of the Destiny dlc was better than the main game. I will be sure to return when that releases, but right now, we have to discuss what we have in front of us, which is Destiny 2. It has a story, co-op, some exploration, some decent graphics with a nice run and gun engine. For all the complaints I still find myself playing it when friends are online. The answer is yes, it is better than the first Destiny. By how much is the question?