September 20, 2017

Destiny 2 - Review

It's time to dust off your old guardian's armor and return to the fray against the Taken, the Fallen and the Vex in the enthralling universe that Bungie have created in the second installment of Destiny. Will the glaring lack of story from the first Destiny be addressed, does the game live up to the rather large hype train that has preceded it? Read on to find out.

It's been 3 years since the original Destiny graced our consoles and it was a game that certainly hooked me for quite a few hundred hours especially as the gameplay grew stronger and stronger through the release cycle of its 4 expansions, the only thing it did lack in mine and many other peoples opinions was a coherent story, you will be glad to know that Bungie have definitely addressed this issue and while the story in destiny 2 can be predictable at times it is certainly a big step up from what was delivered in the first installment. The most welcomed addition this time around is that some of the lifeless static faction vendors have been turned into voiced characters with personalities all of their own, it makes you care about these characters and their individual quests.

The main enemy in Destiny 2 is a legion of particularly large and scary Cabal who decide to invade and forcibly remove the remnants of humanity from their refuge on Earth. The leader of the Cabal empire Dominus Ghaul and main protagonist for the enemy faction kidnaps the speaker during the invasion of the tower and this is where your guardian comes in, the main storyline has you run through several missions reuniting old friends such as the quirky, wisecracking Cayde-6 and Zavala and meeting a few new friends as well, once reunited the battle against Ghaul is the only thing stopping you from restoring balance to the universe. I found the main campaign a huge step up from the original game, even though its main cast of characters seems to rely on comic relief a lot of the time the story is still engrossing enough to keep you way up past your bedtime on a school night, Cayde-6 voiced by Nathan Fillion steals the show.

Once you have finished the game's prologue (which runs for nearly an hour itself) you will be introduced to the games new social area called the farm, this is where all of the games vendors and quest givers are housed, its also where you gear storage is located, this area is superseded by another area once you finish the campaign but you can always go back and visit, and in fact some later game quests require you to come back after finishing the campaign. When you first get to the farm it can seem a bit daunting as there just appears to be so many options of what activities you can do, do you continue on with the main story, do a side quest or try your luck against other guardians in PVP? The choice is yours and the game is so much better than the first at giving you things to do. The main campaign runs for around 15 - 20 hours depending on how much you explore and how many sidequests you decide to take on along the way. The 3 classes Warlock, Titan, and Hunter (and their subclasses) return from the original Destiny and you can even import your character from the original game, the only thing that you are really importing though is your character's appearance though as items and levels do not carry over, one nice touch if you do choose to import though is that during the intro to the game it will show various achievements you made in the original game along with the date and the friends that were with you at the time.

Those familiar with the original Destiny will be able to jump straight in and feel familiar with the games control system, even those unfamiliar with Destiny or other massively multiplayer FPS games will come to grips before they know it as the controls and gunplay have in my opinion always been second to none as far as user friendliness goes. All of the original activities from the original game return including public events which now have a nifty timer which shows everyone when the next one will occur, such a simple tweak has now made this one of the favorite parts of the games for me as the timer and the increased rewards seem to make other players flock to these events making these a lot less lonely than the events from the original game.

After I finished the campaign the inevitable grind for exotic loot began but Destiny 2 provides you so many options in ways you can acquire loot that I never felt stuck for choice as to which way I should go about it. From PVP in the crucible through to discovering lost sectors on planets Destiny 2 just seems to throw upgrades at you for everything you achieve. The PVP gameplay in the crucible is worthy of a triple-A video game release in its own right, this is just a testament to the amazingly fluid shooting mechanics that Bungie has spent countless hours refining just for this game.Even at over 40 hours in with my guardian at 272 power level I am only just starting to see improvements in the way of loot harder to come by but they certainly haven't dried up completely as I have yet to even attempt a nightfall strike or the raid as of yet. Apart from PVP and the odd strike, I have played the vast majority of hours in Destiny 2 solo and it certainly hasn't hampered my chances of obtaining upgrades one single bit.

Bungie have also added a far more expanded clan system into the game which now provides rewards for how far you progress each week as a clan. One of the main gripes with the original Destiny was that there was no matchmaking for some of the harder activities like nightfall strikes and the various raids, Bungie has also addressed this with their "Guided Games" system which provides an avenue for solo players to team up with already established fireteams to take on nightfall strikes and raids, this gives solo players chance at more loot and the clans running these games a chance to gain extra clan achievements and loot in the process, I think this is a fantastic way of letting everyone have a chance at some of the higher tier activities in Destiny 2, hats off to Bungie.

Given that Destiny was hampered by many widely publicised issues during its development you can't help but think that this is what Bungie's vision was for the original title, Destiny 2 improves in almost every area from the original title and there is really something for everyone here, the casual player through to the lootaholic. I certainly cannot wait to finally take on the raid (one of my favorite activities from the original game) and continue upgrading my guardian piece by piece. With the first expansion "Curse Of Osirus" scheduled to drop in December I certainly cannot wait to see how Bungie continue to expand upon the solid foundations they have provided here. Destiny 2 is one of the standout games of the year, if you enjoy FPS games in any shape or form then you would be absolutely mad to not run out and grab this game now, even if you don't Destiny 2 is a great title to get your feet wet in this genre.

Thanks to Activision for supplying the game for review

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