Shooting and looting again.
The best way to follow up a successful game is to simply repeat the formula. That is exactly what the team at Bungie did with the release of the highly anticipated Destiny 2. It is an online only multiplayer first person shooter set in a post apocalyptic space future. Published by Activision, Destiny 2 is the latest in a series with a 10 year support plan. Within the mythic space story players assume the role of a Guardian tasked with protecting Earth’s last safe city. Released on September 6th, 2017 Destiny 2 has reignited a spark of excitement in its already massive community of devoted fans. How does it do inviting new kids to the club though?
Imagining what it feels like to walk on the moon or flying through space is a simple task. Bringing that sensation to life is an entirely different task. It is a task that the team at bungie has been doing successfully since the Halo days. Destiny 2 is no exception. Visually, the game is incredibly stunning and beautiful. Every aspect of the experience looks like it deserves to be where it was placed. Although, the repetitive nature of the gameplay takes away from the excitement induced by the scenery, it does not damage the scenery itself. Locations and equipment are the true champions in the game because of how vivid and natural they look. If only there were a few more enemy designs to really explore the level of detail that Bungie can focus on.
When Destiny originally launched in 2014 there was an immense outcry from the audience over the lack of a valid campaign mode for the game. Fast forward three years and Destiny 2 provides much clearer narrative. Clear does not make better unfortunately. This time around the development team put a good amount of emphasis on the story but it is still very lacking. A lack of character development and interesting plot twist make it very hard to enjoy the possibly immense lore behind this game. There are still way to many unanswered questions and more come rising the further you go down the rabbit hole. And not to beat a dead horse but the lack of any coherent character development makes it even more difficult to emotionally connect or care about what happening on screen. The plot is definitely not the worst thing ever written but it definitely doesn’t accomplish what it should or could have. For now it seems the true plot twist for Destiny will continue to be that there is no plot twist and every lore about the game is pretty much made up by the fans.
Similar to the success Bungie had recreating something visually real that very few people have ever experienced they nailed the sound designs. It’s hard to believe anyone has ever shot or heard the shot of a laser rifle, but Destiny 2 makes the player feel this false memory. It would probably be more difficult to convince a hardcore Destiny 2 player that a laser doesn’t sound the way it does in the game then vice versa. The music was appropriately ambient and the fade outs during intense moments absolutely created the suspenseful feeling the visuals were showing. When playing in surround sound, the living room quickly turns into a high intensity battlefield set in a distant location in space. The excellent combination of sound design and visual fidelity make every breathtaking moment truly feel like there is no air in space.
Land. Kill. Loot. Repeat. That is the entire premise of every single MMO and Destiny 2 is no different. In fact it is so identical to the first iteration that it occasionally borders on excessively repetitive. For hardcore Destiny fans this is fantastic, for everyone else it is merely ok. A major issue for players who aren’t as heavily invested, the gameplay gap between the wide range of players becomes huge very quickly. As a sequel to a pretty successful game to much change shouldn’t be expected however there seemed to be a lack of anything refreshing.
When taking on a challenging raid with a few great friends Destiny 2 is an exciting adventure. The moment those friends move to a light level to far ahead of your own, the game immediately becomes less interesting. It is still a fun game for the most part with tons of customization and socialization features but it does lack that dazzling touch. Perhaps if the story would have been a little more interesting it could have been more pulling. It is still a great source of relief thanks to the endless army of alien soldiers to empty clips into.
Destiny 2 is by default better than its predecessor. That does not excuse Destiny 2 for failing to be the very best it can be. By no means is Destiny 2 a bad game, but it does still seem to need a little bit more fleshing out to be great. Luckily it can follow the path of the original game and continue to grow as time passes through the annual add on content. Becoming a legend or rather “Becoming Legend” is still well within the realm of possibilities for these guardians.