Destiny 2 - PS4 Review

Kick em’ in the Cabals, Guardian!

Game Info:

  • System: PS4, XBO, PC
  • Publisher: Activision-Blizzard
  • Developer: Bungie
  • Release Date: September 6th, 2017 (October 25th, 2017 PC)

Who it Caters to

The first Destiny was the first release from Halo series creator, Bungie, after their separation from Microsoft. It was a sci-fi action epic that allowed for a cooperative experience that hadn’t been seen before in a FPS. Although it got a number of things wrong that scared away all but the most committed players, there wasn’t anything quite like it on the market.

As someone who put in a staggering 2,500+ hours into the original Destiny on PS4, I awaited Destiny 2 with great anticipation. Would my favorite guns be back? Would there be new weapons and armor to fall in love with? I couldn’t wait to see what new experiences laid in store for me and the nearly 100 new gamers I’d met and befriended during the past three years.

In short, Destiny 2 caters to everyone who enjoyed the first game, as well as everyone who quit playing it for any number of completely valid reasons. Bungie’s patented FPS gameplay is back, but with it comes a host of new, meaningful challenges, as well as a fully fleshed out cinematic campaign. To put it bluntly, this is the game that the first Destiny should have been.

What to Expect

As a game with loot, so too is there a grind to attain it. Fortunately, Destiny 2 has created multiple paths to rewards that don’t force you to constantly farm for materials and resources like in the first game. The game tries to keep you doing as many different things as possible to keep from feeling fatigued over repetitive tasks. If you like feeling like you always have something new to do, this is a game for you.

Depending on the kind of gamer you are, it’s very important to understand in what ways Destiny 2 is different than your usual FPS. First things first, you’re going to either have friends to play with or be comfortable making friends. Bungie has made soloing Destiny 2 an easier and more enjoyable experience, but you’re not getting the most out of the game doing things by yourself. With the newly released Guided Games feature, the most difficult experiences from the first game, Nightfalls and Raids, can be done via matchmaking. Still, these activities require effective communication, so be ready to put on the headset and sit up if you’re a laid back gamer.

Also, if you enjoy competitive multiplayer, then you might be in for some disappointing news. Every multiplayer mode in Destiny 2 is 4v4 vs the 6v6, 3v3, and free-for-all modes of the first game. This change removes a lot of variety from the game, and also forces you to work together with your teammates more than ever before. It’s very difficult to just join a match and have an amazing game without sticking with your other three teammates. Players who play with friends will have a more enjoyable experience, but those that like playing a couple of matches casually will probably feel a bit outmatched.

Destiny 2 - Official Launch Trailer

Story

One of the biggest complaints of the first game came from the lackluster, and almost non-existent storyline in the campaign missions. In Destiny 2, there is a contained story told throughout the campaign. Ghaul, the leader of the Red Legion of the Cabal race has come to Earth. His mission is to take the Traveler, the source of your Guardian’s power, for himself. Depending on your familiarity with the first game, you may or may not be aware that the Destiny universe has a rich, deep lore. Unfortunately, Bungie left 90% of this lore out of the playable game, and instead placed it in collectible grimoire cards that had to be read through websites. This time around, it’s a much more polished and enjoyable first-time playthrough experience.

Many of the NPC characters in Destiny 1 receive a prominent role throughout the story. You’ll fight alongside them, watch them come to your rescue, and take a more active role in the story. Many new NPCs also join the cast, giving you much needed guidance during your journey. Keeping everything straight for your first time can be a bit confusing if you’re only going off of your past experience.

Destiny 2 has revamped the storytelling approach entirely. While it’s not 100% as streamlined as players may be used to, the campaign is conclusive and meaningful. Your advancement throughout the campaign is tied to your progression through the game, meaning you will want to complete the story this time around to get the best rewards.

Gameplay

While, initially, I was very turned off by the more cartoony look that Destiny 2 has adopted over the first game, it eventually grew on me. Destiny 1 looks much more photorealistic, and the sequel looks more like it has visual influence from something like Overwatch at times. It does balance out, and for the most part it’s pleasing to the eye. However, there are some inconsistent looks to the design on worlds like Titan. It doesn’t look very polished, at times looking incredibly last generation graphics-wise. Io also looks incredibly cartoonish, but the other worlds, like Nessus, and especially the European Deadzone on Earth, are visually interesting.

Still, despite Bungie’s claims that they felt going for more action on screen was more important than hitting 60fps on consoles, it doesn’t feel like it was a worthy tradeoff. Having played the PC version, even at the lowest settings, the improved look and feel at 60fps is something that would have been much appreciated on consoles. Technically, the game feels very much as limited as Destiny did in many regards. Loading into the Tower is buggy, and as of this writing, it’s likely that you will crash to the dashboard regularly. Also, your weapons, your character or other players, and even NPCs will fail to load in certain instances. This may be due to server load, but it’s been going on for three weeks, it’s high time Bungie addressed it.

Gameplay-wise Bungie slowed down movement immensely from Destiny. Your characters will move at less than half speed, as well as charge their abilities much slower. It takes a while to get used to, and it’s arguable whether this made the game better or not, but it’s not a death sentence. The addition of the clamber ability is useful in a number of situations, so movement altogether still has its draws. When facing a ledge at chest height, your Guardian will scramble up it instead of falling like in the previous game.

All three subclasses from The Taken King expansion return for each three classes in Destiny 2. The arc Stormcaller, the void Nightstalker, and the solar Sunbreaker round out the elements for each class. New subclasses replace old ones, but have similar abilities. Hunter’s Arc Strider, Warlock’s Dawncaller, and Titan’s Sentinel each have aspects that improve upon the subclasses they replace.

As far as loot goes, the way it's distributed is much more fair this time around. In Destiny, you would get random perks on weapons, and in earlier expansions, you could reroll to get the perfect weapon you wanted. Now, all weapons have the same perks, and some have a similar stats version under a different name with separate but similar perks. If there’s a weapon you want, you won’t have to grind for the perfect roll. Just look at whichever vendor has it in their loot pool and then work towards rank-ups to hopefully get it as a drop.

The game’s soundtrack is missing Marty O’Donnell after his firing from Bungie years ago. That said, the soundtrack still sounds amazing. Much of the team that worked with him on Halo is still at Bungie, and the score is at times very moving. The custom pieces that play during the Leviathan Raid are also really striking, but depending on your success during it, you may get tired of hearing them after countless failures!

Campaign missions, adventures and patrol quests are all started from the planets you land on now. You never need to go to orbit to access something, you can do it from wherever you are in the game. Each world also has a lot going on, from high value targets which drop loot and tokens for unlocks, to returning public events. Public events now have more difficult Heroic versions which drop higher rewards and require teamwork from everyone in the area.

All in all, the game feels like there’s a lot more to stay busy with. Players who got tired of the tedium of the first game will be able to go through more activities that keep their guns drawn and the action flowing. As a returning veteran, it feels exciting to have new places to explore in after knowing the old game like the back of your hand.

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

As far as PvE and story missions are concerned, it’s a far better game. Players who dropped the first game after a couple weeks should have much more reason to stick around for a good while. There are so many different missions and activities, that you will rarely encounter the same thing twice casually playing an hour or two a day.

However, as someone who played the PvP in Destiny for the majority of their time, and followed Bungie from their Halo days, it’s a bitter pill to swallow. The movement speed reduction, the lack of selectable multiplayer playlists, and the scale down to 4v4 all lends itself to a less fun game overall. Many argued that PvP felt tacked on in Destiny than a major focus like in Halo, and this feels like even more of a reduction than that. Bungie’s days of making competitive multiplayer FPSs may, in fact, be long gone if Destiny 2 is any indication.

That said, the new Countdown mode, which places players on attack and defense in rotating rounds, is a blast for the new Trials of the Nine. Playing with three friends towards a common goal and having to win 7 games in a row without losing a single match is thrilling. Even players who can’t make it flawless are rewarded for getting to 7 wins in 10 games. Powerful engrams that grant armor and weapons lie atop each spire location at 3, 5, and 7 wins. If you think you have what it takes to beat the best players on the planet, then try your luck in Trials.

The only weak point is the Leviathan Raid, unfortunately. Previous Raids in Destiny had been a mix of boss fights and puzzles, but Leviathan only has one end boss fight and each encounter is an assortment of puzzles. Depending on who you play with and their level of awareness, it could be a simple attempt or an all-day chore. Personally, Destiny is at its best when shooting is the main focus, so jumping, standing, and sneaking around to solve puzzles for hours on end doesn’t feel right. I would rank it as the least exciting Raid behind Oryx for overly complicated encounters.

Honey's Pros:

  • Sense of Exploration
  • Story-driven Campaign mode
  • Guided Games for solo players
  • Subclass changes

Honey's Cons:

  • 4v4 PvP across every mode
  • Only two playlist options for multiplayer
  • Raid is too puzzle focused, too few boss fights

Honey's Final Verdict:

Destiny 2 is a much better game for players who feel sinking 60 hours into a game is getting their money’s worth. For power players like yours truly who especially like to get their PvP on, the game loses major points for restricting options. Much of Destiny 2 feels like major steps forward, but there are some definite steps backward that become noticeable the more you play it.

Did you play Destiny 2? What did you think of it compared to the first game? If you have any thoughts on it, let us know in the comments section! Also, Platinum Trophy get!

Hercule SSJ

Writer

Author: Hercule SSJ

What happens when you give a Crunchyroll trial to a former Toonami kid who hasn't watched anime since Cowboy Bebop got dubbed? You get Hercule SSJ. Thanks to that, he's spent the last two years catching up on dozens of shows and manga he's neglected over the years. Has probably watched 60% of all harem ecchi in existence. Currently seeking series to fill the void left by Konosuba and One-Punch Man. Accepts NisiOisiN quotes as payment.

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