Destiny 2 Review - Hard or Soft?
I feel like this last week went by in a haze. I have now finished the main campaign, and have put in about 32 hours into the Xbox One version of the game. Quite a bit to play a game in one week, but it is quite a bit of fun. There are a lot of games that are fun that don't have longevity, so how did Destiny 2 do? Let's find out.
First off, the campaign. There is actually a damn story here! It is amazing that this fact is a compliment, but the first Destiny was barren as far as story. The last boss was three of a mini boss you defeated earlier so...yeah. It starts off a bit cliched. A faction of the Cabal returns, storm the main city, and...well, beat the crap out of you and all the Guardians. The short of it: you lose your powers. Everyone does. From there comes the journey of regaining your strength, abilities, and arsenal to take back what is yours. There are three main classes in Destiny, each with their own "leader", and they will be your main contacts throughout the campaign. I played the majority of the game as a Striker.
The characters themselves are actually fleshed out. I will stop with the comparisons for now. The voice acting is really good, everyone has personality, there does not feel like any character is just here to check off a box. You care about these characters. They have witty banter between each other, even referring to the previous game. Mostly they push the narrative forward, making everything you do feel meaningful. The main campaign proper can be completed in about 15 hours if you skip most of the side missions, though it is really hard to do so. The objectives are different, and you always get something cool for finishing them. Spoiler: the campaign ending leaves it open for future DLC. Big surprise right? This isn't a Halo 2 situation though. You don't feel ripped off at the end.
The three new worlds are all huge, with a big focus on the vertical. There are a lot of places to explore. The controls are tight, and it's enjoyable to move around the worlds, which are beautiful, expansive, and dense. There isn't a lot of empty wasted space. It helped make the entire experience very enjoyable, I never dreaded going back in. Each world also has quick travel points. You don't have to start at the exact spot every time, like in the first Destiny. There is a "guide" in each world, and you could make it through the place seeing them maybe once, it's up to you. They all have stuff to sell, and assign missions for the world they are in. Once you finish the main campaign, they will all have more missions for you. Not repeats either, brand new ones, with new dialogue to go with them. You can do most of them solo, until you get to the public events, strikes and raids. Also, once you reach level 20, all exp. you earn from there goes towards acquiring "Bright engrams", which include at least one legendary level item each.
This design took care of most of my complaints from the original. The story works now, you care about what's around you, and you don't run out of things to do after six or so hours. It is impressive. The constant discovery from new equipment keeps the experience fresh. Weapon handling, mobility, it is some of my favorite still, behind probably only Titanfall 2(buy that if you haven't yet, seriously). I have not reached the "power" cap of 280, so the jury is still out on whether the game will become a slog then, but so far, so good. I did several public events, which are still consistently happening in every world. They are like having a mini-boss spawn in an area, but unless there is at least one more player there with you, you'll probably die. If you complete the event, you get a loot chest. I also completed two strikes, which are hard missions requiring a team of three people. The game can pair you with two other players fairly quickly, and off you go. Both strikes were unique, not just missions from the campaign with ramped up difficulty. I'm excited to try the rest.
What about the Crucible? This is the part that I am least excited about. The matches are now 4v4 instead of 6v6. The maps and play modes have been changed to accommodate. Everything is still fast paced. Most of the new modes focus on the fact that there are a limited number of lives per team. This makes most matches tense and quick. Still, I feel like the old team Deathmatch 6v6, and Control 6v6, were a bit more exciting. It isn't as good, but again, it's still good. You get drops after every match, mostly fodder to trade, but every once in a while, there will be a good drop. You also have challenges in every mode which give more rewards, like "Get x amount of solar based kills" "Kill x amount of guardians as a team without dying", etc.
The raids haven't dropped, but I never played any in the original, so I'm not too worried there. It is too early to know if there are horrible balance issues, but so far I haven't felt like the game or its weapons or systems screwed me. Nothing seems overly OP. In case you can't tell, I had a great time playing Destiny 2, and I don't intend to quit anytime soon. Is this what we should have gotten to begin with years ago? Probably, but not everything is better.
There are now game altering micro-transactions. You can now acquire mods to use with weapons, which can be obtained by opening "Bright engrams". As I stated earlier, you can earn them by grinding after level 20, or by buying them with Silver, which you can buy with actual money. It is too early on in the game's Meta to know how big of a difference they will make, but this isn't a good look. "But everything can be earned in-game" is something I've heard already, but you can't help but feel that you would be earning at least twice as many Bright engrams if this system wasn't in place.
I have stated that I will rate things based on value for your dollar. Is it worth your money? What do you get for your purchase? After 32 hours of play, and knowing a lot more is to come, I don't regret my purchase one bit. I feel like I got my $48 worth(GCU baby), and will continue to enjoy the game. If the future DLC packs are full of varying content, I won't feel ripped off when I purchase them. Unfortunately, for a game like this, it is really hard to give a recommendation that always last, as Bungie could just start being dicks tomorrow and severely lower drop rates to increase micro-transaction purchases.
For the time being though, having played the campaign, two strikes, a ton of Crucible and public events, and knowing that there will be a solid player base for PvE and PvP for years to come, Destiny 2 gets a hard recommendation from me. If you decide to purchase the game and put in the time, I know you won't regret it. Also, I'm looking forward to Xbox One X enhancements. If and when they come. See you all online.