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September 18, 2017 | by  | in Games |
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Destiny 2 (review in progress)

Developer: Bungie

Publisher: Activision

Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC (from 24 October)


I must confess that I never played the original Destiny. As Bungie’s first game since being released from their servitude to Microsoft and the Halo franchise, hopes were certainly high for the pseudo-MMO first person looter shooter, but it never seemed to deliver. The perception of the game being little more than a boring grind stuck with me, and since it had been available for nearly a year before I got my PS4, jumping in seemed overwhelming.

Destiny 2 therefore feels like something of a fresh start, an opportunity to refine the best bits of the original while still appealing to newcomers such as myself. There is, however, so much content even at launch that I simply cannot cover all of it in a single review. For that reason, I’ll mostly be looking at the story campaign and the levelling-up process here.

For the uninitiated, the Destiny games are set in a “mythic science fiction” world where humanity has significantly advanced due to a giant celestial body called “the Traveller” granting a mysterious power called “Light”, but now faces near-extinction. As a Guardian in one of three classes (Hunter, Titan, or Warlock), you defend Earth and its interstellar colonies from alien threats. In Destiny 2, the Red Legion, an elite faction of the Cabal race led by Dominus Ghaul, have invaded humanity’s last city on Earth, trapped the Traveller and taken as much Light as they can. After discovering a shard of the Traveller and reclaiming your powers, it’s up to you to fight back and reclaim your home.

That sounds like a pretty bog-standard sci-fi story, and that’s because it basically is. However, when your predecessor struggled to have any coherent story, it is certainly something to take note of. Character interactions crackle with witty dialogue, particularly from the Nathan Fillion voiced Cayde-6, and the action is well-paced and stacked with tension, particularly during boss battles.

While it’s nice to have a half-decent story, the loot and progression systems are the game’s meat and potatoes. Killing enemies, particularly difficult ones, will result in random loot of varying rarities being dropped. During the campaign you probably won’t get too much higher than rare loot, but if you pray to RNGesus you might get an Exotic weapon eventually. With a level cap of 20 you probably won’t need to do too much grinding in the early stages, especially since there aren’t too many abilities to spend upgrade points on unless you change your subclass.

As you would expect from the creators of one of the most influential shooters of all time in Halo, the gunplay is nothing short of excellent. It is incredibly satisfying to use the wide variety of guns available, even when using lower-level gear. With new weapons dropping regularly, sticking to one gun for prolonged periods will not get you very far, with different types working best against certain enemy types.

Of course, once you’re done with the campaign there is so much more to do that I have no space to describe it all in detail. While it’s not necessary, joining a clan will open up many opportunities to play PvE missions with friends, or make new ones. If you get bored of the campaign or your teammates are away, the Crucible is always there — a 4v4 competitive mode allowing you to test your skills against fellow Guardians. While the Crucible is simplistic compared to many multiplayer shooters, with just five game modes, it offers some relief from the grind.

I did not expect to enjoy my first 25 or so hours with Destiny 2 as much as I did. Of course, this is only the beginning, and I certainly look forward to this game having a bright future. If you want to join me for future raids and other in-game events, join the clan “OSWreview” and maybe I’ll say something nice…

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