Destiny 2 isn’t a complete overhaul of the foundation established by its predecessor, but rather a compilation of the feedback given to Bungie over three years to help create a better experience. In addition to a more focused and cinematic single player campaign, there are lots of smaller changes that make playing Destiny 2 feel a lot better. This leads into many hours spent grinding for new loot and conquering clever challenges long after you finish the story. Though not completely refined in every aspect, Destiny 2 feels and plays better than the first game while rewarding everyone that spends lots of time with it.
The story of Destiny 2 feels a lot more complete and easier to follow this time around. Paired with a great soundtrack and visuals, Destiny 2’s story is presented in a much grander fashion. The main campaign in Destiny 2 gives players a plot with a villain that takes center stage over the universe established for the series. Rather than an ambiguous foe such as the Darkness, the main baddie this time around is Ghaul and his Red Legion of Cabal warriors. The events of Destiny 2’s story thrust you into the action faster, with the Traveler’s light being subdued and your powers being taken away from you. This sets up a very tense beginning that gives a lot of weight to the story at first, however it doesn’t last too long and loses its steam once the plot progresses.
What is very clear throughout the story of Destiny 2 is its focus on encountering specific characters, something that wasn’t really emphasized in the previous game. Not only are the guardians Zavala, Ikorra, and Cayde-6 given more time to grow on players, we’re given more context into the reasoning behind Ghaul being the main antagonist to the story. No longer is there an enemy just lingering around the universe just being bad, but instead there’s a reason given about why that’s the case.
However despite having a definite conclusion, the story of Destiny 2 does have its rocky parts that don’t always add up. There are a few plot points that end up being underwhelming by the time you finish the story, as well as a few others that never come to fruition as much as you might have hoped. Some characters do stand out for a short time, such as the unexpectedly funny Failsafe, but they aren’t enough to make up for the story’s bigger shortcomings.
The main campaign of Destiny 2 will take anyone around 10 hours to complete, but that’s only the beginning for what you experience in Destiny 2. The game really opens up after you finish the main story and begin partaking in the myriad of end-game activities online. Like the previous game, you have the Crucible for online player vs. player matches, as well as the various Strikes, Quests, and Raid activities that offer some of the best cooperative gameplay around. It’s within these areas where the game truly shines and offers a highly addictive, yet satisfying experience for almost anyone. Before you know it, you’ll see hours pass by as you try to complete quests and other activities in the constant chase for better loot to increase your overall power levels.
But it’s within the small changes that Bungie has made to the gameplay that makes spending all of those hours chasing new loot much smoother. Weapon loadouts for your character have been simplified to allow one kinetic, energy, and power weapon combination of your choosing. This makes adjusting your loadout easier, but still have a strategic element to it for the many activities available. Equipment also has similar properties, with various mods and abilities you can tie to the different armor you find throughout the game. Each character class has three separate sub-classes, much like in the first game, that offer varying degrees of abilities and perks that you can change easily when needed.
A lot of this is very much the same as before, but given an extra layer of depth with the addition of class abilities that make each character class feel a bit different. In addition, the map has been completely redone to be clearer and show just about every point of interest that’s relevant to your journey. You’ll no longer have to guess which area you are in in order to find that one Public Event you know is going on.
The different locations you visit in Destiny 2 not only look visually pleasing, but also have plenty to do in them. You still have the many Patrols and Public Events that take place, where you can earn a variety of loot and bonuses over time. However, many of these activities happen more frequently and are given icons on your map, making them easier to find and join. The addition of Fast-Travel points is also a very big game changer, which not only saves a ton of time getting form place to place, but also makes the bigger tasks more manageable. Instead of driving around for a long time, you can just fast-travel between areas and significantly cut down the time it takes to get that one exotic quest you have completed.
The Crucible multiplayer also gets a bunch of changes that really mix up what you may know about Destiny PVP multiplayer. Matches are changed to 4 vs. 4 games, with both a Quickplay and Competitive playlist to choose from. This dials back some of the craziness from multilayer and makes matches focus more on strategy and teamwork, especially in the highly competitive modes like Supremacy and Countdown.
Player abilities take longer to recharge in Destiny 2, allowing for significant consequences for loosely throwing a grenade without dealing damage or getting a frag on the other team. The changes to weapon loadouts in Destiny 2 also impact the way you approach multiplayer PVP games this time around. While the metagame of PVP will still shift focus to a few select weapons that get the most work done, there’s still enough room for strategy with your loadout going into a multiplayer game.
Most players spending a lot of time with Destiny 2 will work tirelessly towards completing the new Raid activity. The Raid for Destiny 2 is by far the most intricate, clever, and biggest one that Bungie has created to date. You definitely need to be prepared with a high enough power level and team of six players working together to conquer the tough challenges within Destiny 2’s new Raid, but it’s incredibly fun doing so. The Raid has you taking on the Cabal emperor on the floating fortress named the Leviathan, which has a number of hidden secrets and alternate paths that could take you hours to discover.
You still have the puzzles, platforming, and hordes of enemies to wipe out that were popular from the first game that many Destiny players loved. What’s interesting however, is how sections of the Leviathan can be approached in a non-linear fashion, which leads to some unique experiences every time you attempt to complete the Raid.
A lot of what makes Destiny 2 a great experience is built upon what was established by its predecessor, improving upon what didn’t work so well while preserving everything that did. Destiny 2 is a lot more accessible, but that doesn’t take away the fun you will have spending hours playing through the game’s many activities. A few flaws in the story, as well as some rare bugs and glitches, aren’t enough to bog down the incredible value and replayability you get with Destiny 2. Just when you think you’re done with everything, there’s always something more for you to come back to and enjoy.
This review was based on a digital review code of Destiny 2 for the PlayStation 4, provided by Activision.