There are a lot of feelings, thoughts and opinions on Bungie’s huge selling shooter. The original Destiny made for some hugely entertaining gameplay, in a title that also left a bitter taste in people’s mouths at the cost for what was delivered. It evolved from its disappointing launch to a very good package in the end but it was too late for some. After a settling in period and a full release of the game on all formats, is it really worth playing? Enter my Destiny 2 review…
As one of those day one purchasers of the original, who soon realised the game was empty and it was best to wait, I had mixed feelings about Destiny 2. But they made the right noises about the content in the game with new, solo player friendly missions mixing with co-op and PvP to get me interested.
After really giving it a fair amount of time, I’m pleased to say the sequel finally delivers a wonderful experience from start to finish. One that feels like a fully formed game, with an excellent campaign, lots to do and hugely addictive gameplay. This is the Destiny game I always wanted from a single player point of view, even if the multiplayer suffers as a result.
Check out the details of my review below, but first I have a fun question for you to answer…
Review Side Quest
IF your Ghost in Destiny 2 could be voiced by ANY actor or character… Who would it be?
Get in the Disqus or Facebook Comments at the end of the review. And please share this so other gamers can get involved, and enjoy the review.
How does it play?
One thing that can’t really be questioned about the original Destiny is the gameplay. It was a tight shooter with a hint of action-RPG elements and highly rewarding and addictive.
The issue was always the need to run on the PS3 and Xbox 360 systems that really held the core game back. But with the sequel, everything is how it should have always been: a dedicated next-gen game.
As before the game is split into sandboxes, each of them unlocked as you progress through the campaign. The European Dead Zone (EDZ) is the main area on Earth in terms of content and size with plenty to get involved with. The original Destiny looks on enviously at the number of things to do on the large map that’s for sure. Plus, more open the more you play, including after the credits.
Taking on quests is far more interesting this time out too. There are a number of NPC this time to support the main cast of the Vanguard. Even they are out there and in the field this time, but more on that in the features section.
Getting into quests sees you move around the locations and take on some really entertaining fights with the various races. Both the enemies and your playable classes return as before, which is a slight disappointment since I was expecting at least one of each. But in reality, there was so much to do and so much fun to be had, it doesn’t affect the gameplay.
For the puppies’ loot
The gameplay is driven by a few elements: getting better gear for your chosen Guardian, taking part in some really entertaining missions and exploring the locations. The latter two are something that the original was sorely lacking in. This time it’s actually fun to go around and get involved in more regular public events, take on adventures and look for the hidden Lost Sectors.
All of which brings you loot! Gear you get from your adventuring comes tiers including rare, legendary and exotic as before. Equipping higher level gear increases your overall power, while XP levels your Guardian. The game is far more focused on gear rather than traditional levelling, as a result the skill trees are a bit thin but it poses some interesting choices within each subclass as a result.
Loot is more accessible this time and you earn it in a rather addictive balance of reward to disappointment, which really keeps you coming back for more.
As a more single player gamer, I enjoy the gameplay in the quests and main missions. But then I also find public events are really entertaining outside of that and reap some cool rewards if you make them “Heroic” by finding the secret objectives.
Bring out the big guns
As a shooter Destiny 2 is genuinely excellent and with the PC version able to go past the 30-frames-per-second cap on console, it’s even better. The action gets crazy at times and the use of different weapon classes to blow the hell out of what’s in front of you.
Don’t come here looking for traditional FPS combat however, it’s more hit-point based shooting meaning time to kill isn’t like a Call of Duty experience. The Cabal are your main enemy and are thick, well armoured opponents and take a bit of killing. Other races like the Fallen are more nimble, while the Vex are downright intimidating and relentless.
Every firefight is so much fun. Use of special abilities comes into play too as you unleash your class’ powers. The main being your super which charges over time to unleash a very special ability for a short time. Playing the campaign actually gets you to sample each of these individually too in order to make you play them and open you up to change.
Generally, you are shooting stuff and looting stuff! Sounds simple but it’s all very fun with some top boss fights and more. The gameplay has always been great, but the added polish and the motivation to actually experience it is finally there.
Yes, they could have included more but it’s simplicity does actually works in Destiny 2’s favour. They really have set the foundation this time and it’s excellent.
Presentation and Graphics
Again, the original Destiny looked very nice when it came out. And again, where it didn’t it was clearly a holding back exercise rather than a developer not capable of creating top visuals and designing great levels.
Now we see a true look at the world(s) our Guardians live in. There is colour everywhere, details on everything and more variety to the levels than I expected. There is a sense of verticality too with lots of little areas to find, usually holding Lost Sectors or things to shoot. Then there are the cool weather effects, details on enemies and the gear you find.
What I did like this time is the way the voice actors, that go their own feature not long ago, were really used to drive the main campaign. All the Vanguard are really used to bring character and drive to your Guardian though the main quest. The villain, Ghaul is also well voiced (if not used enough but more later on that one) but once again Cayde-6 stands out as the best character.
All the actors play great roles however, backed up by a wonderful soundtrack. Destiny 2 is simply gorgeous.
I had a wrestle with myself on this section gamers. There are so many things to do in Destiny 2, all of which are really enjoyable I was considering a clean sweep of Gold awards. I mean, the campaign is great to play with so much more than the original game. Adventures add really entertaining side-quests as do Patrols, Strikes, Raids and Quests later in the game.
It’s got so much going for it. But there are somethings not quite as they could be at this stage of the game. Now, given there will be a lot of updates going forward, this is based on the version at time of publishing. I say this because some will no doubt be altered in some way.
One thing I do think is a big step forward for Destiny is the campaign. Both in how the game focuses you on actually getting through it and how entertaining it is to do. The story however, is a bit straightforward for me. Our villain here, Ghaul could have been so much more in the end. But the characters, especially the Vanguard make for an entertaining experience if a rather simple plot rests behind it.
Missions such as rescuing Cayde from a rather tricky position in a teleporter and getting to Ikora on Io are some really entertaining missions to experience as you reunite the Vanguard. Wrapped in a narrative around your Guardian that was very entertaining, especially after the very impactful opening sequence.
I enjoyed it from start to finish, like all good campaigns you felt compelled to come back to it even with all the distractions. Characters are strong, but I do think the Destiny lore deserves a deeper plot developing down the line.
And his name is… Gary?
I want to give this a mention on its own because the villain of any story is a very important part. I like games that have great villains, ones that get you hating them like Vaas in Far Cry. I thought this would be the case for Ghaul after in impactful start.
He busts in and storms the last city, taking the Traveler and the Light in the process. It’s the premise of the game and one that made great sense to me. But, after that he doesn’t really do much until near the end of the game.
Does that make him a bad villain? Not exactly, but he’s not a good one either. He could have been anyone really and it’s a shame it wasn’t more as it lets the story down overall. It’s not something that spoils the enjoyment of the campaign.
For me, it’s the fact more could easily have been done to really make him a truly villainous character. Let’s hope whatever arrives in the expansions delivers something more malevolent!
Marked on your map…
Bungie did promise before release that there would be a lot more to do in Destiny 2 in the core game. More of which would be lone wolf friendly too. A promise I can get behind as a solo player… but one I was slightly cautious of too.
I didn’t want to be burned again at a midnight launch!
But I’m happy to say there is a serious amount of missions and activities to do on all the maps. And Destiny 2 has some really good locations to do them in too.
Adventures are great as you take side-quests that see you getting into some scrapes to do some supportive missions on each planet. They can be quite deep too with some good fights to be had, plus they are all entertaining to play.
Lost Sectors are good too, it’s fun to stumble into a hidden location and take on what lurks within. There are plenty of these too with the potential for more to open up as the game gets updated. What I liked most is the fact you can get to one in an area you really shouldn’t go and you soon get shot to bits by enemies too powerful for you.
Quests open up after the main campaign is completed, and patrols are available later in the game too. Quests are larger side quests and are really quite meaty in content which surprised me.
All in all there is plenty to entertain and keep you coming back for more.
Playing nice with others
Destiny is about sharing the world with other players and this means working together and against each other. Together there is so much to enjoy with the public events that are quick and accessible to all gamers. Strikes that are a bit more intense and then the big one is the Raid’s that really require you to be high level and work as a team to survive.
When Destiny 2 is in co-operative mode, it’s great and I (as a lone wolf player generally) genuinely enjoyed playing through all of these with my characters.
Where they have let the variety down is in the Crucible, the player-vs-player zone. From what was a wide selection of modes we can simply take on the multiplayer from a 4-V-4 perspective as a casual player or a competitive player.
As someone who gets shot each match more than Robocop did, I’m appreciative of the separation. I play to have a laugh and not be bottom… and usually fail.
But the lack of options and modes here is a step back from the original for many gamers. In focusing on the single player and co-op side they have lost a little of what made the first game so good for PVP fans. It’s a shame and something I think they will fix going forward, but for now it’s the main blemish of this game.
Should I play this?
Destiny 2 is one hell of a game, and one that is only going to get more content adding to it. While it’s not perfect, there is so much fun to be had and outstanding gameplay to experience it’s a game I recommend anyone to give a try to.
With the PC version getting extra capabilities technically, and all versions having so much to enjoy I can only complement Bungie for really delivering a great game this time. Even if you were not happy with the original, it’s more than worth giving Destiny 2 a play.
Gamers who should…
If you are a shooter fan and want to enjoy a really solid FPS experience mixed with some RPG elements and lots of sandbox style activities give this a play. Most gamers will enjoy some aspect to Destiny, particularly those who love to play together but it’s also great for solo-players this time around.
Gamers who probably shouldn’t…
I do think most players would enjoy Destiny 2, but it’s not for those really against first person shooters. It’s not the best at Player Vs Player in terms of diversity either.
The original was different in so many ways, but there is still that Bungie feel that makes it a lot like Halo in some ways. The art style is a little like Overwatch in many ways, but it’s hybrid of a few genres together which makes it harder to compare.
|The Good||The Bad||The Bugs|
|Outstanding gameplay||Poor PvP Options||Some connectivity crashes at peak times (rare).|
|Lots of missions to do solo or co-op|
|Lots of fun|