Despite issues surrounding the availability of my machine (namely its presence on a rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean until earlier this week), and also a severe lack of time to even sit down and start working my way through the campaign, I’m currently a little over two hours into the Destiny 2 main story. Destiny 1 was an interesting journey to say the least, as players who were expecting a finished game at release were instead thrust somewhat unwillingly into what essentially equated to a three year long beta. We’ve thrown piles of money at the screen for at least that long, regardless of how much we bitched and complained about Bungie’s money-grubbing partnership with Activision, and how both parties were spectacularly ruining what could have been one of the greatest video games ever made. We’ve spent countless hours grinding away for armor, weapons and useless peripherals which have now all become obsolete. However, I think it’s safe to say that we have finally arrived, and all of our financial and temporal expenditures have led us to this one glorious moment.
Destiny 2 is what I believe to be Bungie’s way of saying, “thanks for all of the time and energy you wasted on our extended and expensive beta, here’s the game we should have released in the first place.” While this is certainly as frustrating for you as it is for me, I don’t necessarily think that it’s overtly negative.
For starters, Destiny was always referred to as an MMO (massively multiplayer online) title, and wrongly so. While some elements of an MMO-style experience were certainly present (the loot/equipment grind, the team-based PvE raids, etc), the game has always been a first person shooter at heart. The Crucible multiplayer aspect of the game always seemed to have more of a draw than the PvE activities, and the grind was mostly endured to ensure that your gear and weapons would give you an edge in competitive multiplayer.
One of the first things I noticed about Destiny 2 is that it feels much more like an MMO: There is a structure to the way in which you accomplish things in the game which is far more focused on actively playing with other people, and the multiplayer mode itself has been altered to feature only 4v4 matches with some new game types and a specifically labeled “competitive” mode, something that PvP players have been asking for since the first year of Destiny 1. The patrol missions and newly added activities have been restructured to make your in-game experience feel more similar to something like World of Warcraft or Elder Scrolls Online, where you must utilize every advantage you and your fireteam possess to complete tasks and obtain better gear. The game is trying to suggest in a not-so-subtle way that you’re free to play however you choose, but you’re going to have a much easier go of things if you play with friends.
This mindset is exactly what Destiny needed. The first game was nothing more than a test run to see what sort of environment the developers could cultivate, and towards the end there seemed to be a whole lot more people solo-queueing for PvP matches and lone-wolfing their way through parts of the story that they might not have finished, or that they needed to complete again to get a new piece of gear. Destiny 2 feels like a new coat of paint more than an entirely new game, but the shade is decidedly brighter than before.
It’s also worth noting that some gameplay mechanics have changed in frustrating ways; shoulder charge, for example (RIP Striker mains), is no longer a one shot kill in the Crucible, nor is sticking an enemy with a grenade. Additionally, “Titan Skating,” a method used by the Titan character class to move much faster than the game normally allows, is no longer possible (RIP Titan mains). There is also the new “Arc Stripper” subclass for the Hunter, which finds them doing the exact same things as they would with Arcblade, but using an electrified staff that very closely resembles something that you might find in the living room of someone who pole dances for physical fitness.
The ammo economy has also drastically changed, and weapon slots now feature Kinetic, Energy, and Power classifications, which sets up more calculated confrontations in multiplayer and PvE alike. Aggravating as this may be for some (particularly those who spent the majority of Destiny 1 running around with shotguns and fusion grenades making everyone want to tear their tonsils out with a rat trap), it bodes extremely well for those players who are looking for an actual challenge in multiplayer.
Additionally, the gunplay in Destiny 2 feels so crispy in comparison to Destiny 1 that it might as well be a menu item at [insert reader’s favorite fried chicken restaurant here]. Every weapon type has been fine tuned for the new experience, and while the weapon classification changes move guns like sniper rifles and shotguns into the Power (formerly Heavy) weapon slot for which ammo is much more strictly regulated, the other weapons in your arsenal more than make up for the changes in their utility and improved control.
So far, I’m completely on board with the new changes and the overhaul of the beta that just wouldn’t end. Knowing myself and how I tend to cover this game series in particular, I’m sure I’ll find something that pisses me off enough to write about it sooner than later. For the time being, however, I’m going to gradually work my way through the base story missions and enjoy the feeling of not being irritated that I still play this game. At least for a little while.
*Twitch gameplay of the entire Destiny 2 campaign can be seen @GGT_Live every weekday afternoon at 4 PM PST.
*An archive of Gonzo Gaming Today’s previous articles, including many on the first Destiny title, can be found at: http://rnrgonzo.wordpress.com
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