BETA PREVIEW – I love Destiny, as a franchise and the first game with its expansions, as even for their faults regarding storytelling, the gameplay loop is addicting enough that I still play it to this day. Still though with the announcement of Destiny 2, I was a little hesitant since based on the trailers, and interviews, a lot is changing, but also seems to be getting streamlined. For better or worse Destiny 2 is coming, and after the Beta, I’m not sure if this should have been a full blown sequel.
The story of Destiny 2 takes place after the events of Rise of Iron, but the events that transpire in the opening mission/cinematics have been hinted at since The Taken King. In which the Cabal are terrified by The Taken, and the forces encountered during their campaign (namely the player), so they send a distress signal. This results in the Cabal’s reinforcements overwhelming The Last City, and The Guardians are forced to make a tactical retreat.
The first mission was a fun introduction, which laid the foundation of an actual cohesive storyline this time, rather than going full blown space magic, and mysticism. Rather than obscure references like “The Light” or “The Darkness” (which by the way turns out Luke Smith has no idea what it is – as revealed in a recent interview). The lack of mysticism will hopefully be not true for the entire game, as we see only a small glimpse of the Story and one Strike. I do hope though that our character will get to speak a few lines during missions, as otherwise, the lack of responsiveness from our character is going to be a bit of a disappointment.
All in all the story while nothing spectacular (hell it should be basic at this point in 2017 for any game), does manage to at least elevate the franchise from its stale mumbo jumbo to a bearable sci-fi game.
A Shield, a Spear, and a Gun
Speaking of lack of mysticism, it seems that Bungie has once again decided to streamline a few things for the sequel. For one, no more customizable skill perks, instead all six classes get two skill trees per class. Instead of mixing and shaking up the existing skills, Bungie has opted to limit the options. The player now can choose between two skill trees, and that’s pretty much it. Oh and rather than having three subclasses, the developers have reduced it to two (One new subclass and one old). This would not bother me too much, but the gameplay balancing decisions shown in the open beta worry me quite a bit. While this was just a beta, and changes still can be made to the overall experience by the developers (some comments were already made that this is a four-month-old build), I’m not entirely sure about certain parts will be fine-tuned for the better.
First off the recharge rate of the Supers, and abilities were abysmally long, and I did not feel like a Super-Undead Soldier, but more like a guy who can throw a knife every five minutes, or a grenade that does not do too much damage. In fact, the focus shifted from mixed combat as in Guns and abilities to a sole focus on guns (at least in the beta). It feels disappointing to see this shift in focus, although there are many variables that we do not know about (as in how the gear and weapons will affect recharge rates).
Bungie has also rebalanced ammunition, and how the system works. Previously it was Primary, Power Ammo, and Heavy. Power Ammo has been nixed from the list in Destiny 2, and instead we now only have Primary ammo and heavy ammo. In reality, this means that now getting a shotgun, and fusion rifle ammo ( aka the old power ammo weapons), is tougher than ever. This issue has been noted by Bungie and will be fixed by the full release. As it was quite boring to mostly use the primary weapons for the large percentage of the gameplay throughout the Beta period.
Aiming was also off in the Beta for some reason. The entire aiming felt too floaty, and even if I adjusted sensitivities, and other parts in the control it still lacked that depth. The movement, however, was great, and Bungie expanded the animation for the player character and added a few small details (such as climbing small ledges into the mix). Still, the while small animation enhancements were made, movement felt sluggish, and the aiming was off. Speaking of sluggishness, the movement also felt slower compared to the first game. The aiming and movement felt toned down regarding responsiveness and freedom and was considerably than Destiny 1. Hopefully, these will be rectified in the full release.
Shiny old enemies
The graphics of Destiny 2 are simply good, it’s not bad or spectacular, and while the engine has finally been let loose on the PS4 and Xbox One, regarding visuals it still feels like a bit higher rezed Destiny 1. Some of the particle effects look better, there’s a lot more going on in the background, and on the battlefield, compared to the first game. The experience is now backed up by a much better engine, and graphics, but in the end though many people “cried” when they stated how the visuals are still the same.
To these people, I would have to say no, the graphics are not the same compared to Destiny 1. What these people are seeing is the lack of an upgraded style for Destiny 2. Everything feels the same, sure it might have more pixels and better effects. However what I saw in the Beta, was that I’m still fighting the same enemies with a slight reskin in certain cases, or entirely new enemies, but due to their samey design, people end up getting rattled up about the lack of change. While the new enemies in The Cabal are perfectly identifiable, for the Vex the only difference was that different types of lasers were visible.
There might not be much that Bungie can do here since we still seem to be getting only the four basic enemy races for the game. Hopefully, the full release will provide some varied designs for the four races.
Player vs Space Wizard the final showdown
PVP in Destiny 2 was show cased with simple 4vs4 mode, and a capture and defend mode called Countdown. Both modes were fun to play, and I enjoyed that there was less One Hit Kill moments, but overall the modes were not that special, and felt okay.
In the end, I have tempered expectations about Destiny 2. Sure it might look better, and have a decent campaign (hopefully), but some of those changes (yikes), are a bit too streamlined for me. Furthermore here’s hoping that Bungie will be able to provide meaningful content and not short DLCs like the last time.
These might make it a success:
+ A fun science-fiction story
+ New classes, and abilities
+ Larger open worlds…
These might make it a disappointment:
– …which was not shown in the beta
– Some design decision is not the best
– Style is still the same/lack of new designs hurt the Sequel
Genre: Action role-playing
Relase date: September 6, 2017