Before I delve too deep into my first gameplay look at the sequel to the controversial Destiny game, I will make one thing clear. This is not a Beta. It is a demo. This is Bungie’s chance to show gamers why they should care about the sequel to their hugely popular and successful first game. This is the chance to bring back all those players that abandoned the first game, many of which did so well before the better DLC was released. This is the chance for Bungie to show everyone how they fixed the criticisms of the first game and how they would implement a proper story with great characters.
Have Bungie succeeded in writing their wrongs of the first game? Let’s take a look.
One of the biggest complaints of the first game by basically everyone who played the game was the weak story telling. Very little was explained and what was there was sometimes delivered with a horrible script which made gamers care even less about these one dimensional characters. The sequel needed to really improve this aspect of the game and, even though we’ve only played one mission, it seems Bungie has listened to the criticisms and given gamers the campaign they wish the first game had.
The game definitely opens with a bang with the mission being set up much better and we see past characters do and say more than we have before. The writing is quite good and the voice acting is great as it has always been. It shows a very familiar place in the Tower as we’ve never seen it before. For those who have played alot of Destiny as well, it still has some new, well disguised, Horde mode sections. In all the chaos, you are still eliminating a few waves of enemies before you can move on to the next section.
It is disappointing to see that the AI of the characters doesn’t seem to have been improved in any way. They still mostly blindly fire at you and stand around, sometimes flying in the air, but they still act very similar to the first game. They also look very familiar. Bungie needed to improve these aspects of the game and hopefully they have in the rest of the main campaign.
The Inverted Spire Strike was the weakest part of the PVE. It felt like I have played this Strike hundreds of times before. It played exactly the same as the ones in the first game that I’d already been playing for so long. It’s still a three person activity and it introduced no new mechanics or anything of interest to persuade me to play more of it. I summed it up in the DUG podcast with one word – boring. To me, The Inverted Spire is the perfect example as to why there are so many people saying that Destiny 2 is pure DLC. Judging it by the Strike alone, it couldn’t possibly be called a sequel.
I’m hoping that other Strikes are much better than this one and introduce new elements of gameplay to make it fresh for players, especially those of us who are exhausted of the Strike formula of the first game. It needs to do more than simply shooting our way to the bullet sponge end boss whilst other enemies keep spawning around us. Been there. Done that. A thousand times.
The first Destiny game always had problems with its PVP but it still had a healthy player base even years after its release. Devoted fans would still login by their hundreds-of-thousands everyday to battle each other in The Crucible. From chaotic 6v6 battles of Control or Rift through to the 3v3 weekends of Trials of Osiris where players were trying to reach the elusive Lighthouse.
After logging in hundreds and hundreds of hours into The Crucible of the first game I’m disappointed to say that I wasn’t very impressed with the sequel. Sure, I may like it more in time should I buy the game and become more accustomed to the changes, but after a few hours playing it I didn’t bother going back to it the next day. Or the day after. Or today.
For me, Bungie has made changes to The Crucible but I find they aren’t for the benefit of the game itself. I didn’t read many complaints about the 6v6 game modes of the first game but Bungie has now made all modes 4v4. In every game type. This seems that Bungie fixed the problems that didn’t exist and didn’t bother focusing on the much larger problems.
It has been said numerous times before since we found out, but a lack of dedicated servers is, quite simply, pathetic. In my few hours of playing I still came across the same connection and lag issues of the first game. Why are we putting up with the same problems years later? Yes, dedicated servers are expensive but both Activision and Bungie are very successful companies are wanting this game to be popular and perhaps enter as an esport. It doesn’t matter what Bungie says they are doing in the background to help connections and reduce lag, I’ve heard it all before with the first game. When players leave the game this will become even worse. The move to 4v4 is simply to reduce the number of players in the game to help with these problems. And without going into detail, a lack of 60FPS on consoles is down right ridiculous in 2017 for a competitive shooter, especially in PVP.
Playing the Control game mode, I found every game seemed to be very similar. Your starting Control point is automatically already captured so everyone goes for the ‘B’ point. This turns into a huge fight and each game plays the same. One person only need capture points to whereas in Destiny 1, the more players in the Control point the faster it captured. I see Bungie removing this only because they now have less players in the game.
The Time-To-Kill (TTK) has also been increased in Destiny 2 so killing an opponent now takes longer. Being a Halo5 player to, this is closer to that TTK which I don’t mind. But due to Bungie really not focusing on the most needed problems, this seems to be included simply because now it’s a 4v4 so players aren’t dying too quickly. I find these types of changes are made for the reasons they shouldn’t be.
Even though Supers and weapons are of course a part of the PVE I will talk about them in the PVP as this is where I think their problems show the most.
Supers recharge so slowly at the moment they may as well be taken out of the game. Everyone seems to get them in the last minute of the game so it just becomes a ‘super fight’ then the game ends not long after. They need to find a happy medium otherwise remove them altogether.
The weapons showcased in the Beta don’t come close to how memorable and great the guns in the first game were. These all lack personality and their sound effects are weak. Bungie always brought such great weapons into the first game and I hope the sequel provides the same but so far it hasn’t. After using all the weapons none of them gave me the same feeling as the MIDA did from the original game. Or the Parthian Shot. Or The Hawkmoon. Even if the weapons were weak and not specifically good in PVP they were at least fun and often you could tell which weapons were being used based only on sound.
I’m hoping Bungie takes the criticisms that people have with the Beta and improve everything in the final game. The story seems to have been made into what gamers wanted from the first game, it just needs more of it and be a substantial length. But it seems Bungie and Activision have also ignored all the complaints of connection and lag issues in The Crucible so gamers are destined to confront those problems again in the sequel.
For this Destiny fan, if Bungie and Activision are wanting me to invest the same hours and money into their sequel, perhaps they should ask themselves whether they’ve done enough, especially in PVP which carried the first game through content droughts.
The Traveler’s light has gone dark, but I suspect after the Beta, the game hasn’t shown enough to many gamers to try and reignite it.