I remember when I first got my PS4. I was so excited to be entering the new age of gaming. Games were faster, smarter, and looked better, though I didn’t care about any of that. The entire reason I wanted a PS4 was Destiny. I was completely consumed by it. I ate up what story there was, I looked up weapon reviews, I mastered each class, and wrote out which specs were best for situation. So, when Destiny 2 was announced, I screamed a little.
Destiny 2 boasted a better, more developed and engaging story, new weapons, new gear, new cosmetic items, and the promise that Bungie understood what the players wanted and that they were going to develop what Destiny should have been. After sinking more hours than I care to admit into Destiny 2 thus far, and barely feeling like I scratched the surface, I can whole heartedly agree that Destiny 2 is everything I wanted and expected from Destiny.
For returning players, Destiny 2 starts with a montage of the player’s accomplishments ranging from completing the main story to topping the Taken King, Oryx. It’s a touching moment that thanks the players for keeping their journey going and adds to the stakes set in the story. And the story packs a punch. The Traveler, the main source of power for guardians, is attacked by Ghaul and his Red Legion, a faction of the Cabal, an alien race in Destiny. Ghaul feels as if the Traveler chose the wrong race and believes he is capable of being a guardian. He demolishes the city and shatters the link between guardians and the Traveler, removing all power from the guardians, reducing them to mere mortals. The rest of the campaign follows the player as they attempt to regain their light, pull the Vanguard back together, and fight Ghaul to take back the city and the Traveler.
The voice acting and writing in Destiny 2 is fantastic. Characters are given much love and care. The interactions between characters is sincere and funny. Cayde-6 steals the show once again, but new additions, such as Failsafe, add more brevity to the crushing story. Ikora and Zavala are given more prominent roles as leaders of the Vanguard factions, and are portrayed as actual humans with motives and desires, making them more than their stoic presentation in Destiny. All the dialogue feels honest and less like a script. Each character acts, as if, by free will, allowing players to further immerse themselves in the world. While the story is leaps and bounds better and more engaging then Destiny, it stills feels thin and falls short. During the story, cut scenes show Ghaul trying to understand why the light never accepted him and he almost goes through a personal change and understands what the light wants, but at the key moment of potential change, he pulls back and reverts to his murderous self. The moment is weak and feels like a cop out. His story arc felt rushed and left me wanting more.
After the story, the real meat and potatoes of Destiny 2 opens. Players could pit themselves against other players in the Crucible or team up to take on harder foes in Strikes, Nightfalls, and Raids. This is where Destiny 2 could make or break if players love or hate the game. Everything is, from this point forward, repeated over and over to get better and better loot. Replaying content rarely feels tiring or boring since Destiny 2 has multiple interactions between characters for each strike, or different players could offer different strategies for overcoming challenges. The faster players can clear certain content gives a strong sense of progression. Harder content means you, as a player, are getting stronger and more skilled. Destiny 2 creates a cycle that encourages players to constantly be doing something, and anything that the player does is rewarding one way or another.
Destiny 2 also changed the UI up, particularly in the pause menu and directory. Everything has been streamlined and is easier to use and understand. Quests aren’t a separate section anymore and have very easy to follow instructions and parameters. Each planet or patrol zone has a map that players can access and follow at any time. The equipment screen has been simplified and made easier to understand. Players can jump between planets in mere seconds to reach a public event on Earth, then jump to an adventure on Io, one of Jupiter’s moons. The revamped menus give players the power to easily plan and make the most out of their play time.
The new raid isn’t out yet, but from what I’ve sunken into Destiny 2 and how it feels to play, Destiny 2 is something players shouldn’t miss out on. It’s a beefy FPS that rewards players for doing absolutely anything in the game. The characters are honest and funny. The story isn’t half bad and the gameplay is superb. There is something here for everyone. This is the sequel that players have been waiting for.
Destiny 2 is available now on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. A PC version is slated for an October 24th release. This review is based on a PS4 copy paid for by the writer.