On September 6th at 12 am EST, Destiny 2 was released. While most west coasters only had to wait until 9pm on the 5th, plenty of east coasters stayed up until midnight for the release, either sacrificing sleep or planning to play hooky at work the next day. In fact, so many people were ready to play the moment the game dropped, the servers immediately hit capacity, and players had to wait anywhere between 15-30 minutes before getting in. Some players have it even worse as there are reports of Playstation 4 Pro players who are still, after several days, unable to play. Surely, Bungie is working tirelessly to fix these errors, one of which is hilariously called Cabbage, but as with every creative project, there will always be some positive and negative aspects—a rule to which Destiny 2 is not an exception.
Upgrades in Visuals
The first noticeable change in Destiny 2 is that there is a developed storyline. This was something that was lacking in the first game, and what’s more is that the story actually makes sense and the characters have authentic motivations. We get to see familiar characters from Destiny in action, which is really cool—plus, the developers were really able to take advantage of the upgraded graphics and technology of the newer consoles in the cinematic cut scenes, resulting in masterfully rendered cinematics. Not to mention, the enemies themselves, the environment work, and basically the entire game got a much more detailed and polished look.
It Doesn’t Take Itself Too Seriously
What I’ve been enjoying the most is that Destiny 2 isn’t taking itself too seriously. In the first game, there wasn’t much personality with the exception of Cayde-6. We didn’t get to see much personality from him in Destiny, but what little we did see, we loved, which Bungie probably figured out. So they took that concept and ran with it. They gave us more Cayde-6 but also added personalities to the other characters as well. The characters’ authentic motivations and real personalities make them feel like actual characters—not just automatons that simply give you missions as they had in the first game. Plus, Bungie added other snarky characters, such as Fail Safe, an A.I. who hilariously has a split personality. I found myself laughing or chuckling constantly throughout the game and genuinely enjoyed hearing from the newer characters in the game as well.
Variety of Content
While the story and characters have more heart, the game itself is admittedly short. There were many complaints about the shortness of Destiny, and how the rest of the game had to be purchased through downloadable content—well the same can be said of Destiny 2: I was able to finish the game in about 3 days with only 15 hours of gameplay. However, I do think that Bungie was listening to its customers because Destiny 2 makes up for the shortness of the game itself by giving us beautiful, explorable worlds with a wide variety of activities. In addition to patrols, crucible and other activities in Destiny, Destiny 2 adds “adventures” on each planet which are a lot of fun. They’re basically mini-story missions, and while they don’t technically contribute to the main storyline, they each add to the “realness” of the world. Plus, in Destiny were constantly going to “orbit,” and it felt too episodic, whereas now you fly to the planet you need to go to and explore until you find the missions and activities you want to do. It cuts down on all of the “orbit” waiting and it adds to the “exploration” and “customization” aesthetic of this game.
Customization in Weapons & Armor
One of the things I’ve really been enjoying about Destiny 2 is how customizable your character is. There was some customization in Destiny, but in this newer version, that customization is not only more intuitive, but there is much more variety. First, the weapon options were changed from Primary, Secondary and Heavy weapon choices to Kinetic, Energy, and Power choices. What this means is that you can have both kinetic and energy auto rifles, or scout rifles, etc. according to your preference. While you may not want to carry the same weapon in each “type,” it does mean that if I prefer scout rifles and auto rifles (both of which were primary in the previous game), I can now play with both equipped. On top of that, Destiny 2 introduces “Mods.” Yes, the weapons come with certain perks already, but you can also add mods to improve and change the weapons’ stats.
Customization in Characters
Destiny 2 also introduces new subclasses for each of the character types. The subclass types are still arc, solar, and void based, but some now have new names and all have new abilities. For example, the Hunter has Arc Strider rather than Blade Dancer, the Titan has Sentinel rather than Defender, and the Warlock has Dawnblade instead of Sunsinger. I’ve only seen the Hunter’s Arc Strider, but trust me when I say it looks awesome. In addition to the new subclasses, all subclass upgrades are a lot more customizable. In the previous version, the abilities were basically all lined up in a row and you had no control over what upgraded first etc. So there was an implication that the subclass abilities developed later were more useful and I, personally, never thought to change them. However, in the new game, the abilities are organized like a cloud- where your base abilities branch out from the center, and as you acquire upgrade points you can select what abilities to develop. Plus, the special abilities branch into 2 different options or “trees” for each type and class – a more defensive ability tree and a more aggressive ability tree, depending on your playing type. For example, the Hunter’s Arc Strider subclass can be customized in the “way of the warrior,” which focuses on attack and power, or the “way of the wind,” which focuses on agility and defense.
Overall, Bungie did a great job with Destiny 2; they gave it a lot more heart and succeeded in creating an immersive experience. The worlds and the people felt unique and authentic, and though I finished the game, technically speaking, there is plenty for me to still to do. Plus, the raids drop next week, which will add a whole other level of gameplay to the mix. Tell us what you thought of the game in the comments below!