The much-anticipated follow up to Bungie’s 2014 smash hit Destiny has arrived. Destiny 2 addresses the major complaint of the original—its lackluster story—with a bigger, better campaign lasting 12 hours.
This past summer we got a taste of what to expect in Destiny 2 during a limited time closed beta. If you played the beta you’ll have an idea what’s in-store, but there’s lots more to experience in the full game. It certainly whet my appetite for more, so I was extremely excited to finally play the retail version.
So how does Destiny 2 stack up to its predecessor? Let’s find in this review!
Platform(s): PS4, Xbox One, PC
Meet Ghaul, Earth’s biggest threat
Immediately upon firing up Destiny 2‘s campaign, the improvements smack you right in the face. There’s a greater level of polish in key elements like the voice acting, script, special effects, and cinematics. Moreover, the introduction of Ghaul—Destiny 2‘s big bad new antagonist—is handled masterfully from a storytelling perspective. Within minutes everything that was built up in the original game comes crashing down, including your Guardians’ all-important Light. It’s all because of Ghaul and his menacing Red Legion.
With your Light stripped away, and the Last City in ruins, your character has no option but to flee. There’s a tremendous sense of loss, and this dramatic setup helps explain why your characters from Destiny don’t carry over. We’re meant to feel like it’s a new beginning, and have the desire to build ourselves back from the brink of despair.
I touched upon the voice acting earlier and want to emphasize just how superb it really is. All actors play their role to a tee, and the range of personalities span the entire gamut. Cayde-6 (Nathan Fillion) is a bit of a loose cannon and his scenes generally provide hilarious comic relief. In stark contrast, Commander Zavala (Lance Reddick) is a staunch leader committed to his plan to take down Ghaul. Then there’s Ikora (Gina Torres) who’s so emotionally shook-up she’s borderline ready to just give up. Their performances are completely believable and it’s moving to see how they cope with the immense devastation happening around them.
Three new subclasses
Like the original, when starting out you’ll have the choice of three classes: Titan, Hunter, or Warlock. Titans specialize in armour and can generate a wall or mid-size barrier that allows for cover fire. Hunters are agile Guardians and possess the ability to evade enemies much more easily. Finally, Warlocks are masters of arcane magic and can conjure pools of health to keep your Fireteam in tiptop shape.
As well, each class has a brand new subclass with unique abilities and modifiers. The Dawnblade Warlock has a super called “Daybreak” that allows you to weave Solar Light into devastating blades. Next, the Sentinel Titan “Shield” power enables you to summon a protective shield of Void Light. Finally, the Arcstrider Hunter possesses an “Arc Staff” capable of channeling electricity and striking fast. All three new subclasses feel genuinely useful and distinct, while also giving Destiny fans all-new skill trees to explore.
Changes to armour and weapons
One of the biggest changes in Destiny 2 is the new way in which weapons and armour are classified. Whereas the original had stats for Strength, Discipline, and Intelligence, we now instead have Mobility, Resilience, and Recovery. Mobility determines your movement speed and jump height, Resilience affects your defense, and Recovery reflects how fast your health regenerates. Every piece of armour you collect specializes in one of these three stats. By mixing and matching gear you can raise or lower the stats, up to a maximum of 10 apiece.
Weapons have also been adjusted, with your top two slots now consisting of sidearms and a variety of rifles. The second slot is used for different guns that add elemental damage to their attack. Lastly, your bottom power weapon slot is used for high damage weapons like rocket launchers, snipers, shotguns, and grenade launchers. In terms of the feel of weapons, not much has changed from Destiny—guns still generally feel responsive and accurate.
So much to do
While the intro to Destiny 2 is pretty bleak, the game soon gives way to vast, tantalizing worlds to explore. You’ll quickly find there are a lot of different activities to participate in, perhaps so many it’s a bit overwhelming. Examples include Public Events, patrols, Flashpoints, Exotic Quests, Strikes, the Nightfall, Raids, and the PvP Crucible. Explaining them all would be an article unto itself, but needless to say there near endless options open to you. Let’s not forget the game has a lengthy campaign for you to complete as well.
All these mission types take place on new areas/worlds to explore: Nessus, Io, Titan, and the European Dead Zone (Earth). Each world has its own gorgeous terrain, from the lush greenery of Nessus to the vast methane oceans on Titan. To help flesh out the story more, planets have new characters to meet and new narrative-based side quests to complete. All considered there’s easily 100s of hours’ worth of content here, provided you’re naturally one to explore.
Having played Destiny 2 and PS4 Pro and PC, I can say I’m thoroughly impressed with how the game looks. The level of detail on all four planets is astounding, and each one comes off as a living breathing world. Looking more closely at your character, I especially like the in-game presentation for your weapons and armour.
Perhaps the best visuals in the game though are reserved for Ghaul, who comes off as a true threat to human existence. He’s menacing, frightening, and has an ominous deep voice that sounds utterly imposing. I was also impressed with his cunning leadership, which reinforces the belief of him being a worthy adversary.
Destiny 2 is a game that should get you excited for many reasons. It’s obvious that Bungie has listened to its fans and created a game that well surpasses its predecessor. Whether you’re a new fan or a veteran Guardian, you’ll find near endless missions to enjoy in Destiny 2.
+ Great campaign
+ Stunning visuals
+ So much to do
+ Excellent new subclasses
+ A revamped stats system
+ Superb Gunplay
– Can be a bit overwhelming to start
– Menus slightly clunky to navigate
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 5/5