A month into 'Destiny 2': What the first 'Destiny' should've been
I remember Destiny 1 being a polarizing title the first time it came out. For my part, vanilla Destiny felt lacking. The narrative barely held my attention, and while the Crucible or the PvP modes of the game were engaging, it still wasn’t enough for me to stick with the game for longer than a month.
Destiny 2 however, feels completely different from when Destiny was first released and it’s all for the better.
For starters, Destiny 2 has a much more engaging storyline. While Destiny 1 had me scratching my head most of the time, never knowing where the story is taking me, Destiny 2 had a distinct path. The narrative for Destiny 2 was all about dealing with loss and fighting back. After the Cabal kidnaps the Traveler, the huge and mysterious source of power for Guardians, everyone on Earth are faced with a tremendous challenge.
How do they take back what was once theirs with limited power and resources?
You soon find out that that isn’t really the case for you, after the Traveler somehow guides you into regaining your Light. However, even though you’re probably the most powerful on the side of the good guys, you still require their help. You then go through the solar system, assembling a now broken up Vanguard who split up after the attack to find their own answers.
What’s also a huge improvement for the narrative of Destiny 2 is that evil now has a face and a name to go with it. Destiny 2 introduces Dominus Ghaul immediately, the Red Legion leader. Throughout all his cutscenes, Destiny 2 tries to convince you that Dominus is a bad guy who you should sympathize with. And for a time, you will.
That isn’t to say that the story isn’t lacking though. Even though we have a proper framework to work and we do finally get to connect with the characters little by little, the story still feels like it could’ve gone deeper.
To give you an idea on how much story content you get to play, the campaign took me less than 10 hours to finish.
Now that may not sound much, but that’s because most of my time on Destiny 2 has been spent not progressing the story, but instead enjoying the open world of every location available, and compared to the first Destiny, there is a lot to do and a lot of ground to cover.
There are a lot of side missions, or Adventures, given by significant NPCs each with a distinct personality, Public Events which are actually difficult to take on alone, Lost Sectors which encourage you to go through every nook and cranny of the world, and more.
The best part of participating in these activities is that they actually are rewarding. You will often get an item whenever you complete an activity, and if you don’t, you still get a token which you can collect and present to said NPCs who will provide you a random item that will either upgrade or match your current Power level.
The steady stream of activities will keep you playing for hours and hours on end, and the variety and rewards won’t make you feel like you’re grinding for nothing.
Outside travelling different areas are the more taxing PvP and PvE modes which requires teamwork but does its best to not dissuade the solo gamer.
For those familiar with Destiny, the PvP modes are accessible through the Crucible. Now while there are new different game modes and maps in Destiny 2, the game frustratingly does not allow you to choose your game mode or your map. It also takes a long while for you to get to enter a game whether you have a fireteam or not.
The good news is most of the maps are well-designed and allow for variety of combat. Gone are the days where running around with a shotgun would merit you kills. While individual skill is important, it is teamwork that matters the most in winning the games. The game also abandoned the 6-vs-6 format in favor of the 4-vs-4 format. This significantly reduces the seemingly random chaos and allows for a more focused match.
The more difficult PvE modes which are the strikes, nightfall strikes, and raids are what you’re working for while you take on adventures, public events and other open world activities. These three cooperative PvE modes need a lot of firepower and coordination, especially the raids where I reckon you will be spending most of your waking hours with your fireteam.
You’ll most likely get started with the regular strikes. Like the Crucible, you won’t get to choose which maps you will be playing on. However, the loot you get and the variety of maps and their different objectives makes it worth replaying. From time to time you may also experience subtle changes in gameplay when you repeat a strike. This is something I experienced from having played The Arms Dealer strike three times.
With enough power, you’ll get to experience the Nightfall strike which requires a lot more communication than regular strikes. These are tougher versions of the strikes you’ve played and will require careful planning of your loadout, as this will be locked the moment you start playing.
Finally, there’s the raid, a time-consuming trial that requires much preparation and absolute focus and communication within your fireteam. This PvE mode takes hours to complete and some teams haven’t even finished it weeks after the first Raid was released. I recommend mentally and physically preparing yourself for this one, but if you’re the type to enjoy challenges and games with similar difficulty levels as Dark Souls, then you’re in for a treat.
If you feel intimidated about these team modes, know that it’ll now be easier for you to form up or join a team with Destiny 2’s clan features. Unlike the first game, Destiny 2 now allows you to create clans or join them, and if you are the type with commitment issues or don’t know where to begin, then you can join Guided Games, where you team up with a clan as if you’re on trial basis.
I think this is an excellent and necessary addition to the game, seeing as Bungie insists that the Destiny 2 is better experienced when working with a team.
All in all, while Destiny 2 has a couple of flaws and odd kinks that should be worked out, the game is truly is what the first Destiny should have been. Destiny 2 is a true and worthy MMOFPS that provides a variety of content supported by a compelling narrative, interesting characters, rewarding challenges and activities with high replay value. It’s been a month since I first started playing Destiny 2, and I don’t think I’ll be abandoning it anytime soon. – Rappler.com