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Destiny 2: A Review

Destiny 1 got a lot right. It proved that┬áHalo wasn’t a fluke for Bungie, and that they really do know what they are doing when it comes to FPS games. For those of you who have read my articles on a range of sites, you will know that I’m a huge fan of the Bungie games and the way they create an effective AI ‘illusion’ for their enemy combatants.

Whilst COD has been a game (traditionally) of pop up enemies, and waves of attackers, who keep on coming, until you the player cross an imaginary line in the virtual world, Halo was a game with packs of enemies. Some with complicated AI routines, and others with simpler routines – but with the outcome being one of real time tactics having to be considered by the player. It’s more of a case of clearing out an area, and out thinking the enemy, rather than trying to get from zone A to zone B to move the story on.

So Destiny 1 proved Bungie knew how to make a Bungie game, and it too was a great shooter from that perspective. However, it also got a lot wrong. The worst thing it got wrong was the way it buried it’s story. I’m told it had one, but I never really found it. The exposition was hidden in collectables and activities outside the core game. Gone were the Halo-esque cut scenes, and the in game chat (between the Chief and Cortana), and instead the story was replaced with lore, cards and more. Maybe I should be congratulating Bungie, as perhaps they were trying to do something different, and different for big budget games is brave and should be rewarded. However, different for different’s sake is not good if it ruin’s the experience.

Destiny 2 brings back the great gun action and the great AI but this time we get a story. A narrative. It’s a pretty cool one too, with a Guardians of the Galaxy scale of story. Which is ironic, as in Destiny, you also play a Guardian…. ahem….

The Story though is good, and the cut scenes are great, superbly animated and nicely acted. I care about this story, and I really care about the characters you come across through the game. They have depth to them, and empathy. Some even have humour, yes Destiny 2 has humour, and it works. In addition, whilst there is no Cortana/Chief relationship with your character being totally silent, there is ongoing banter between your Ghost (your Cortana like companion) and other characters, with the Ghost in effect taking for you. This banter is not only fun, and but informative and helps pad out the exposition.

I can go on and on about how important the story is. So I will. For all the great shooting mechanics we need a reason to keep playing and keep shooting. Sure, for many players Destiny is all about loot, and levelling up, better guns and what not. However the story is what makes it meaningful, and prevents the game from being just a shallow experience of game mechanics put together, which is how the original felt.

Of course Destiny 2 also has a fully functional multi-Player component, which again seems sweeter than last time. More focused on small groups of players, and team work. In competitive games, in general, we are seeing a trend back towards small teams playing together, whether it be Splatoon, or more hardcore shooters. It results in everyone feeling they are making a difference and forces people to work together. Plus with different roles/strengths certain players play style can come through if the team is balanced.

With more story content promised and of course Strikes, Nightfalls activities, and now Raids starting to go live, you can expect a rich experience from Destiny 2. For those unaware, Raids are large missions, which are designed around a Co-Op experience with six players. Work through them, at different difficulties and get a lot of Loot and of course rapidly level up. The Strikes are for 3 players, and the Nightfalls are time limited missions/experiences.

Destiny always teased being a living and breathing world, bringing a lot of MMO mechanics to a more conventional FPS world, and Destiny 2 gets much closer to achieving this. Even the hub world is more alive, vibrant and interesting. You can have a rudimentary game of football in it with friends if you want!

More fun, better story telling, and the same old Bungie FPS magic combines to make a great game.

We reviewed the Xbox One version, and we want to thank Xbox for our review code. We are really hoping that Bungie will announce a 4K upgrade for the Xbox One X in the coming weeks too!

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