When Destiny first came out it was met with backlash from the gamer community for being less than what was promised, although over the next three years a steady stream of content and updates have kept the loyal fan base long intrigued in this grand universe. After a long wait and an even bigger concern for what promises would be kept in regards to Bungie’s sequel to 2014’s Destiny , I have dived head long into the campaign portion of Destiny 2 and walked away impressed and satisfied with what has been delivered.
The multiplayer aspect review to follow within the week.
Right from the beginning the game gives you a little bit of a picture show that highlights all of your Destiny 1 achievements whether it was raids or story missions, this serves as a nice little recognition of all you contributed to the universe before it strips you down and starts you anew. Yes, in Destiny 2 you lose all your prior gear and your abilities but in doing so it gives you that fresh start experience as it did with Destiny 1, only bigger, better and more coherent. You are soon greeted with an intro cut scene that establishes the drive of the story, villain and significant lore into the Traveler, from that point onward so begins your journey to new and exciting locations across the stars.
Gameplay wise this is similar to the original but more finely tuned and added upon, shooting enemies feels satisfying and a new sub class makes learning a new play style more approachable . The new sub classes are :
Arc Strider ( Hunter): A fast arc infused class that gives the wielder a staff made of arc energy allowing for fast acrobatic attacks
Sentinel ( Titan) : My preferred class for the time being, causes you to spawn a void shield that you can use to strike and smash enemies and also throw the shield at enemies ricocheting off from one to another, just like Captain America .
Dawn Blade ( Warlock): Using solar energy the user creates blades to rain down an aerial offensive
The new locations to venture to are fairly large and full of secrets and things to discover, for example you can find Supply caches while exploring if you see an arch symbol beside a tunnel or door, if you enter into this you will find a higher level mini boss and upon defeat you can access his loot chest, similar to optional tombs in the Crystal Dynamics Tomb Raider series.
Another big change would be the Adventure side quests which are fully narrated side missions for each location which give more of a purpose to the mission as opposed to patrols. Patrols make a return but only after completing the main quest line. All of these and other little tweaks give the game much reason to head back to each location to explore. Each location contains its own vibe and feel, each designed intricately, the most appealing to me was the European Dead Zone which was a welcome change to the earth location, where as the cosmodrome was dull and drab the EDZ is lush with plant life and confined neighborhoods.
The EDZ gives you the feeling that humanity did thrive outside of the Tower where as in Destiny it seemed almost lifeless beyond the hub. One of the highlight moments would be an assault on a Cabal weapon hovering closely to our Sun, in which we need to go outside and dash from cover to cover to avoid the solar radiation whilst sparks and tiny flames flicker about the screen. Another example of the worlds being diverse is on the location Titan which consists of a floating power station complex amidst a raging body of water and lightning storm marked skies. Multiple times I found myself gazing at the scenery and truly appreciating the worlds created within this universe.
Another welcomed feature is the addition of finely animated cut scenes that are superbly voiced. This addition adds context in a big way as it delivers story points and narrative in a new way , whether it cuts to the terrifying new bad guy Ghaul menacing about on his command ship, or Cayde-6 being…..well… Cayde-6 . The cut scenes give way to allow amazing performances of all the returning characters from the first game in a big way and show more into each ones motives and intents.
Lore is also now included on each weapon and inventory item, giving you reason to read into the lore in a handy codex as opposed to reading grimoire cards online in the first Desiny. This makes the lore more accessible to players which in turn builds the knowledge of this world which went unseen by many in 2014, which is a shame because Destiny has a rich lore and history to its universe .
Touching up on the previous point, the new villain in this entry is Ghaul, a commander within the Cabal fleet that is looking to capture the essence of the Traveler for himself, to show he is worthy of greatness and rule the universe as we know it. Ghaul has a pretty basic villain role but his writing and voice acting put him well above that standard archetype. The writing in the story truly conveys every feeling it sets to accomplish, from the Tower and the Last City being lost, to being powerless wandering through the wildlands of Earth and finally the epic conclusion filled with struggle, despair , hope and most of all : Bravery.
The story by any standard could have been a straight forward adventure to pass the time, but Bungie saw our comments and our complaints from days past and worked to deliver us a unique experience that aims to award loyal fans of the series as well as bring on a whole new following as well. I laughed, I cried and most importantly I was enthralled by the story, with every dramatic moment, joke or familiar face popping up. Upon completion there is a moment where you feel like you contributed to this story on a personal level and a moment of silence hits you and you feel like you are involved in this universe .
Voice acting and sound engineering is at its prime, with the sound effects for various weapons and vehicles feeling diverse and thought out, amazing performances from the returning regulars Lance Reddick, Gina Torres and Nathan Fillion. The soundtrack blends the Zimmer-esque orchestrated feel into an electronic ambiance for certain situations, and it allows cues for moments of driving resolution to reflection and wonderment.
Overall Destiny 2 has surpassed the first in almost every way with fresh changes, an amazing story and plenty of content fitting for both single player and fireteam based players. Overall the experience itself seems to be a personal than you from the Bungie team to all of the fans who supported them amidst some rocky starts and stayed loyal to the universe that they so lovingly crafted , and as one of those people feel honored to be part of such an amazing group.