Destiny 2 Review: A Journey of Loss and Triumph

Last time I was asked to review a new Destiny game it was back in 2014 but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do so due to an already hectic week of work ahead of me. So this time, I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity and see what Bungie has brought us. To be straight with you, I wasn’t disappointed.

Some call it Destiny 1.5 and to some extent they are correct, but the improvements and the amount of content the base game offers this time around are worthy of applause. Destiny 2 is a fine example of how a developer should fine-tune its games based on community feedback – positive and negative.

The original game laid the foundation of meaty Halo-like shooter mechanics that were the strong point of Destiny all the way till Rise of Iron. Destiny 2, on the other hand, is using its predecessor’s strong point to its advantage, perfecting everything that made Destiny mechanics unique.

The biggest complaint with the original Destiny was its short campaign. What also became a major issue was its lack of end-game content. The universe felt tiny and the AI was, for the lack of a better word, stupid and easy to manipulate. There was a major lack of a long term economic system in Destiny as well as crafting and trading systems, something that pretty much all reviewers found dissatisfying.

Paid expansions filled the void and brought enough gravitas but for the base $60, players weren’t getting enough content which sparked concerns over what Bungie and Activision may do with the second game, which was justified considering they have a 10-year plan for this franchise.

I am happy to report that the situation is different with Destiny 2. The new game brings a profound sense of satisfaction from the get go in terms of content. And the world feels rich, vibrant, filled with characters having sui generis personalities, finally.

Destiny 2 Review In-Progress

The premise of the main story is pretty interesting and perfect for Guardians both new and veterans. Destiny 2 feels like a fresh origin story if you are a novice to the universe but at the same time feels a perfect build up to a great story to the veteran Guardians. The story starts with the Tower falling to the Red Legion, commanded by Ghaul, who considers himself to be the rightful heir to the Light.

The opening mission, Homecoming, hits you right in the feels. No matter who you are – new or a veteran, prepare yourself for an emotional prologue. The opening mission occasionally feels like a victory as you defend the Tower and push back the enemy but in fact, the Guardians have lost everything they hold dear. The events that follow create a story arc that Guardians aren’t really ready for just yet.

The world without Light or should I say Guardians without light develops a strong sense of loss and cements the fact that the journey that follows won’t be easy.

Ghaul and his Red Legion are a formidable and methodical foe!

With no Ghost, no Powers, and doddering through the ruins feel intense, especially, when you realize that your beloved Guardian is just a shadow of his former self. Your steps in the opening act in Destiny 2 are heartfelt ones, an emotional Fireball Grenade that explodes without warning.

The opening act of Destiny 2 is about taking it all away. Your Vault, The Tower, and your Guardian brothers who are brutally executed. Everything in the opening act motivates you to move forward and take back what’s rightfully yours.

Apart from the main story line, Bungie has done an exceptional job addressing complaints about lack of content in the first Destiny by adding Public Events, Heroic Public Events, roaming world bosses, treasure chests, Lost Sectors, Adventure side-quests, patrols, planet specific challenges, Flashpoints, Vanguard missions.

Destiny 2 side missions

Additionally, there are items scattered around each planet and location you visit that offer snippet of lore. You can also acquire gear sets by using Tokens you get by completing activities in exchange of reputation at the vendor of that particular destination.

Due to the nature of these public events, it is hard not to jump into each one even though you are busy with other activities, even the main storyline. Destiny 2 offers enough content to justify its $60 price point, which is something fans would appreciate. Some may even go for the season pass to show support for Bungie’s handling of Destiny 2 content.

You’ll often find yourself lost in the Lost Sectors, itching to explore every nook and cranny for items and lore. These are enjoyable distractions that give you time to process the events of a stout storyline. Every activity will help reach a higher Light Level and early activities are designed to help the novice, players who are new to Destiny. However, maxing your character out at 350 will require whatever lurks beyond the main campaign.

Side activities run parallel to the main story line.

Each step you take in the storyline unwraps a new layer; at one point you are getting the Vanguard band of Zavala, Ikora, and Cayde-6 back together, while other times you are flying to an exotic new location to catch up with Hawthorne. Driving a tank in enemy territory to lay some Smack Down for what they did to The Tower is a pretty incredible feeling.

From a feeling of loss to reaching triumph, this is the sum of your journey in Destiny 2. Each advance brings bad news for the Red Legion, an incredibly satisfying experience. Every set back you cause the enemy brings frustration among its ranks. Every win soothes the pain from the first act.

Once the dust settles and the story mode ends, you do find the need to go back and play some of the missions. However, similar to Destiny you can not choose which missions you go back to. Instead, there is a new mechanic called “Meditation,” this allows you to play three randomly chosen missions with a Higher Light Level.

It’s not the most ideal of ways to replay the game and fans would have preferred a proper option to choose for themselves.

But this is not your only option once the story mode ends. You can access more story events on each location in Destiny. These events are called Quests and are meaty enough to be worth your time.

The open world content meets the amazing Strikes, 15 to 20-minute missions that conclude with a boss fight, PvP battles in the Crucible, and the amazing six player raid is going to test your maneuverability as a Guardian, puzzle solving, and precision shooting.

The player is likely to jump between different activities. Destiny 2 keeps you busy!

Although Destiny 2 to commits to plenty of mistakes made by the original game but it is successful in making the open world much more rewarding. Compared to the Destiny, the successor has much more room to evolve into something even better with expansions. Especially, now that PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 version are out of the way, developers can focus on creating spectacles that do justice to the scale of Destiny 2.

There is an added layer of cinematic presentation that wouldn’t have been possible on last-gen consoles. Right off the bat, Destint 2 feels like a complete experience, and this is threaded in every aspect of the game.

It is understandable why some call it Destiny 1.5, there is just enough of the ‘old’ in there to make the overall transition easier for everyone.

The Crucible comes with two new game modes as well as new maps. Competitive multiplayer does have some balancing issues, especially, the Warlock Stromcrawler’s floating ability and HP regeneration needs to be nerfed.

Character customization is something developers have focused on, making sure it is deeper than the original concept of 2014. Players can now self-mod weapons and armor with consumable upgrades. Shaders are consumable now and my god! the game looks amazing.

Bungie has outdone itself and if you think the original Destiny or Halo 5 was a beautiful looking game, wait till you see Destiny 2.  I would say Titan and Nessus are the most beautiful planets and offer variation in the environments. Developers are Bungie managed to bring made these worlds come alive with eye-popping clarity. Graphic designers created Nessus with a bright flora that contrasts perfectly with discolored structures of the planet.

Everything is topped off with a killer Raid!

Destiny 2 Raid is the toughest challenge the player would face in the game. Called the Leviathan, this dungeon series is packed with challenging puzzles and boss fights. Team work is at the hear of this Raid as each Guardian has a role to play. One wrong move and hours of hardwork goes down the drain. It is the perfect way to top off the beautiful cake that is Bungie’s Destiny 2.


Destiny 2

Bungie has outdone itself