From Friday until last Tuesday, Bungie put online their beta for Destiny 2 on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 (the PC beta is coming later next month). The beta contained one story mission, a strike mission, and two crucible competitive levels. I only played the story and strike missions because I’m not a big fan of the way Destiny does competitive multiplayer. That’s not me saying it’s bad at all, it’s just not the style of PvP mode that I enjoy playing personally. But I’m just reviewing the story level here.
I played the first game and most of the DLC releases when they came out (I didn’t get around to buying the last one), first for a bit on the Xbox 360 before I got my PlayStation 4 and went into it more extensively. Like many people, I thought the game was pretty good as far as the gameplay aspects and voice acting goes, but severely lacking on the story side and in the amount of content. This improved as DLC added new things into the game working on those problems, but it wouldn’t be unfair to say it still has a few flaws. Considering I still haven’t properly finished the original game, Destiny 2 will probably be the one I go in on completing storywise.
The game begins with a group of the militaristic Cabal race called the Red Legion launching a massive attack on the Last City (the home base of the player character Guardians), specifically by attaching some sort of device to the Traveller (the big floating space Jesus ball, if I’m getting my metaphors correct) before sending troops down to attack the remaining Guardians. This is where it hands over into the gameplay.
The first thing I noticed when I went into the game was the improvement in the graphics. The graphics of the first game weren’t bad considering the game is basically an MMO, but there was certainly room for improvement, which they have done here by making it a lot smoother and improving the lighting. A lot of people argue that it just feels like a reskin of the first game but I’m fine with it.
The beta stays pretty basic in terms of customisation, with basic loadouts for each of the classes (Hunter, Warlock, and Titan) outside of a few items you can collect across the four levels. I only played as the Titan class for this beta, so I can’t talk about the experience with the other ones. The gameplay of it was essentially the same as before but with a new super move that summons a shield for attacking enemies. It’s a really fun change and actually made me excited to use super moves, unlike the previous game.
Going about the level, you’re put in regular contact with the leaders of the three classes as they deal with the attack going on as well as the disappearance of the Speaker, another character from the first game. You fight a few more villains progressing across the city and meeting the Emperor of the Red Legion and villain of the game, Dominus Ghaul, who looks like a really bad expanded universe Star Wars villain. Just the worst. He also pushes the player character to their presumed death (or at least until your little robot mate Nolan North respawns you).
The gameplay of this is really fun and I’d recommend it for anyone wanting a sci-fi shooter game. The level felt a lot more cinematic than the previous game’s levels. It made me feel more like a part of the actual story, as opposed to the feeling of being an outsider shown the story that I got from the previous game. My problems with it would be that it seems to require a fair bit of knowledge of the original game and that kind of took me out of the immersion. Things like characters talking about the Speaker disappearing as a major thing kind of take you out of it when you don’t remember him. Some people probably wouldn’t mind that as much as I did, but I think it might make things more intimidating for new players going in on it without the experience of the first game.
Overall, the game experience was very fun and worked well on improving from the flaws of the previous game. However, I still feel that certain aspects of it may be intimidating for new players, as the games have shown to be more of an ongoing storyline as opposed to more standalone adventures. The full game experience may well be better on that front, but I won’t be able to say anything on that until it comes out in two months time.