The City has fallen and the Light of the Traveler has gone, Ghaul, commander of the feared Red Legion has sent the Guardians into the grave, with the remainder thrown to the wind, night has fallen. You, the only Guardian to be able to revive their Light, has been given the task to lead the charge in the fight back against the invading horde that has taken your home, and free the Traveler from Ghaul’s ensnarement.
So, after a few hours of exploring the Farm and the EMZ, what are my initial assessments? Well, it’s Destiny. If you enjoyed the original, you will love this. Bungie have picked up the baton straight from the Rise of Iron, and continued with the emphasis on storytelling, preferring to show instead of tell, a crime the developer was accused of with the first instalment. The mechanics of the game have been bettered since the last outing, and whilst the visuals are not stellar, they are more than adequate for the world that the game is presented in. Each mission pops along to an orchestral score with each swelling crescendo that wouldn’t be out of place in a Ridley Scott film.
The AI of the new release seems to have been massively improved. No longer will enemies stand and absorb shots. The ones I crossed bullets with would take shelter, attempt to flush me out, or even rush me if I moved close enough. And don’t just think bipedal enemies are the only ones you will be facing here, the four-legged kind also make an appearance.
Aesthetically, the world has been made a lot dirtier. With the fall of the City, all of what we knew for the last three years has gone. Our equipment, our achievements, our armour, all wiped out in the blink of an eye. It’s a bold, game-changing move from Bungie, and whilst it could be argued it’s been done to do a soft reboot of the series, it fits in with the narrative the game has to offer. With the finale of Rise of Iron, it’s only fair that Destiny 2 starts off with its very own version of The Empire Strikes Back. Perhaps its unfair to compare it to Empire, but it is valid, in a storytelling beat it would be the darkness before the dawn. Guardians are treated to a small run down memory lane at the loading screen when booting up, each of the expansion packs from the original are displayed with a graphic and notice who you first completed that particular campaign with. I did find myself pausing for thought when the name of one of my old fireteam members flashed up, memories that are best left in the past, but it made its unintended point of highlighting a beat in my own life as a gamer.
Whereas before each mission would involve you having to head back to the Tower and pick up a mission, this time Bungie have kept it nice and easy to be able to dip in and out of the missions. Sure, you still have home bases to work from, but the ability to simply track and untracked a campaign, or switch it up in between and just jump onto a public event has all been streamlined. Bungie have kept what we love about Destiny and thrown in some new features.
I’m not sure if I could say it felt like a proper sequel. I stand by my comments when the beta was released. It feels more like a Destiny 1.5, but in time that may change when the developers start making bolder moves with the engine, a task they could not do before when limited by releasing the game on the last generation’s consoles also.
Going back to equipment, I must say that so far I’ve found the armour quite dull, but again, I am early into the game and I imagine once the Exotic items start rolling out it will be a different story. All you bring across with you when migrating from the last game is your Guardian’s appearance. It would have been a nice touch to have your original assets in the opening level (before the world goes to hell) but I imagine the technical limitations of bringing across essentially every asset from the first game didn’t make this viable.
I’m going to say so far that cautiously this game is good. It’s not great, but I’m a casual FPS fan and never one to only play one type of game. I will fully admit that Destiny was my guilty pleasure and was more of a social event I had with a friend than a game I would sit and play solo. Well it seems that the sequel is going to do the same, and I’m very happy with that.
To sum it up, if you liked Destiny, you’ll like this, if you never really got into Destiny, your mind won’t be swayed in this second chapter. Good work, Bungie, this is a steady entry in a new iteration of the franchise that defined a Guardian.