At the time of this article’s publication, I’ll be approximately 100 hours into Destiny 2. I’ve completed the main quest line, hit level 20, and started the long process of grinding towards the maximum power level of 300 (305 including the use of mods). I thought this might be a good time to discuss some of the issues I’m seeing through these hours, as well as perhaps including some constructive criticism regarding how Bungie might be able to address some of these issues.
While this would typically be the time in a game’s lifespan where I would be mercilessly tearing it to shreds, I can’t do that just yet with Destiny 2. It still feels incredible in comparison to the first game, and many of the gripes that I reiterated for three goddamn years covering the eternal beta that was Destiny 1 have actually been resolved in the sequel. It will be interesting to see how Bungie addresses some of these outstanding issues in the future, but for now, let’s just get into the meaty bits.
While I have technically reached the “endgame” content the game has to offer, I don’t feel like I’ve run out of things to do by any means. I haven’t done the raid or Trials of the Nine (the new incarnation of the Trials of Osiris from Destiny 1), and those alone make for a more than reasonable amount of weekly replay value. I’m also interested to see how the Guided Games system works, which is a system designed for solo players to find clans and groups to Sherpa them through the raid, Trials, or even the weekly Nightfall strike, none of which typically offer any sort of public matchmaking.
From what I am reading about Guided Games thus far, completion rates for even the hardest activities are floating from 75-90%, which is huge. Playing Destiny solo can be a rough time, but the Guided Games system allows for players with limited amounts of time to play, or specific time constraints regarding when they are able to play, to find a group that is currently playing the game mode in which they are interested.
That is a massive improvement from Destiny 1, where you simply couldn’t access that endgame content without being in a fireteam. Of course there was LFG (or “Looking For Group”) to assist with matching up players for said activities, but it was always a crapshoot; you either ended up playing with a solid group that knew exactly what they were doing, or in my experience, you were playing with groups of thirteen year-old kids who hadn’t the slightest clue what the hell they were doing. It’s nice to see Destiny 2 working a little bit harder to ensure that all players have access to all content offered in the game.
The story itself is…present.
That’s more than you could say about the first game’s story (which was practically nonexistent), but not by much. The biggest problem I see with the Destiny story is the lack of good dialogue writers. Some of these voice lines are absolutely atrocious; for example, the Shipwright, Amanda Holliday at one point has a line where she says “last one there is a Dreg face!” and I died a little inside). There is also the return of the worst line in a video game ever, “I don’t even have time to explain why I don’t have time to explain,” unfortunately rehashed by Nathan Fillion’s character, Cayde-6.
Bad writing isn’t just cringeworthy to listen to for the players, it’s bad production. If you intend to offer up a game to the public which boasts an “epic, dynamic campaign,” you can’t just rely on the gameplay to make it live up to the hype. You also can’t just make every character extra sarcastic and snarky, because at a certain point it comes off as disingenuous. Yes, we get it Nolan North, your version of the Ghost character is snippy and needles at the player (and pretty much everyone else in the game) incessantly. I don’t need that thrown at me literally every time that you speak.
One good thing about the campaign is the addition of new activities on the different planets where the main story takes place; these include Adventures (basically the equivalent of a regular campaign mission from Destiny 1, except there are a ton of them on each planet), Lost Sectors (caves and other “hidden” areas where you can clear all the enemies and earn loot), and other story side missions which don’t always directly relate to the main quest line, but offer some sort of reward for completing their multiple parts. For example, the MIDA Multi-Tool, a popular exotic scout rifle which has been ported over from Destiny 1, is available as a reward for completing the side quest “Enhance!” In the European Dead Zone (or EDZ).
These additional missions ensure that you’re not just grinding the same activities over and over again as we had to before, and again adds a massive amount of replay value to the game.
Speaking of old shit, let’s talk briefly about old exotic weapons making a comeback.
While there are only a few that made the jump from the first game, that doesn’t make their inclusion in an “all-new” game seem any less lazy. Players are looking for new experiences, new characters, AND new weapons in Destiny 2, and the inclusion of weapons and equipment from the previous game is a rather lackadaisical approach to fulfilling these desires.
Finally, while the Crucible PvP mode has seen a resurgence in not only solid player connections to lobbies, and the introduction of a few new match types, there are still a few glaring issues. For starters, while a Competitive mode does exist separately from the Quickplay (or more casual) mode, there is still no form of ranked multiplayer mode. I think this is an important issue to discuss based on the success of ranked multiplayer in other popular franchises like Call of Duty, or in competitive PvP-only games like Overwatch.
Much like the high score offered to players in more rudimentary games, offering ranked multiplayer gives players something to work towards, and also could lend its presence to some highly successful tournaments down the line. Especially considering that weapon balance is in a good place right now for pretty much every weapon type (RIP hand cannon users), and there is a high demand within the Destiny PvP community, I don’t see how Bungie can afford not to include a ranked mode at some point during the game’s lifespan.
Overall I’m still very impressed with the improvements Bungie has made to Destiny 2. We’ll see how that holds up once I have completed more of the endgame content myself, because I can damn well guarantee that something is going to irritate me enough to write about. Until then, go forth and shoot many alien beings in the frickin’ face.
I’m going to go draft an email to Luke Smith intimating that while I am impressed, he’s still an asshole.
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