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Destiny 2 [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Destiny is less of a "fun game" and more of an addiction. Activision has locked in on the feel of proper gameplay as well as the horribly difficult balance between the ability to get to end game/appreciate end-game content and a never-ending grind for gear. While you will be spending an awful lot of time grinding, it's much easier to get into the endgame now thanks to Clan Rewards and Guided Games.

The Pros: 

+Addictive gameplay
+Major quality of life improvements for menus and character classes
+Guided Games help you get into endgame content (if you're a loner like me)
+Staggering amount of content, new stuff being added every week

The Cons: 

-Small issues like one-time use shaders and mods
-Quality of life issues like the inability to sell off/dismantle multiple shaders/mods at once

ShogunGamer.com Rating : 
9

Destiny 2 has proven to be less of a “good game” and more of a down-right addiction. Now, at a first glance that seems like exactly what you’d be looking out of a gear-grind game. However, it’s important to note that I’m several weeks behind on reviews and personal errands at this point due, in no small part, to the fact that any free time I’ve had in the last few weeks had been dumped into that gear-grind to make sure my characters have one of everything.

As opposed to my previous gear-grind addictions, like World of Warcraft and Diablo, there is a definite collector-niche to Destiny that I have not been able to get over (yet).

A significant amount of my time spent in-game has been making my way through weapon quests for items I’ll never touch again. They are worked for and then tossed in the vault never to be seen again. Destiny has perfected, in my opinion, that need for the next thing. Whatever it might be, whether it’s something you wanted to use or not, there’s a collect-a-quest mentality that runs through the nervous system of the entire game.

Sunshot

Let that serve as a warning to those who have been sitting on the fence (or waiting for the PC release of the game) and are now considering jumping in. Because that is about all the negativity I can muster so far. Anything else about the game that serves as criticism is going to be minor at best and nit-picky at worst. So, let’s jump into the remainder of the review:

If you played the original Destiny, then you’ll be glad to know there is a more significant carry-over with your character then you might have initially expected (or been told). Sure, your character is going to reset and at the core, it’s just the physical creation of your character that travels over… but when the game begins it also breaks down your past accomplishments, listing (as you load) every major milestone your guardian completed in the original title along with dates and the names of those who were in your fireteam at the time.

Fireteam

Beyond the nostalgic nod of the character’s accomplishments being listed, there’s a weight to seeing your character return in the cut-scenes that I feel has (so far) gone a bit understated.

Within the first couple of cinematics, I found myself feeling the warm-fuzzies for the character I built and spent years working through the galaxy with and he and his ghost resumed the fight against a new foe.

Of course, many of the gamers (myself included) didn’t get sucked into Destiny 1 because of the deep lore (though it is there for those who hunt it). It was the gameplay and the grind that sucked us into countless hours of playtime, advancing out characters constantly in preparation for the fight ahead as new events and DLC streamed onto our consoles semi-regularly.

It's in this concept that I believe Destiny 2 (so far) outshines its predecessor most notable.

Within the weeks since the launch we’ve been receiving new content week over week, keeping us guardians playing and checking in on the regular. There’s been Nightfall Strikes and Clan Challenges, PVP Events (like the return of the Iron Banner), the release of the game’s first raid and now it’s prestige form as well. Each week the raid changes the order of events, the Nightfall changes where it’s held and the modifiers that make it more difficult and challenging to the players, not to mention there’s a series of individual and clan challenges to be completed that will help you boost your character’s stats quickly.

Story

Of course, what is most important though is the core gameplay.

I’ve often said if a game is going to have you complete a task (or action) a couple of thousand times, then it must feel good (or be fun) every time.

To that end, Destiny has found its feet. Everything from the movement of the characters to the feel of the weapons feels solid. It hasn’t become boring in the 100+ hours I’ve already dumped in and I can easily see myself dumping a couple hundred more (especially as more friends join the fight on PC this week, and we have the new DLC components to look forward to).

One example of the things that I was most nervous about, coming into the game, was the “nerfed” character creation. There seems to be far less modification on the character classes this time around, each sub-class having basically two branching paths that you can choose which determine how your class plays (along with small changes like the jump-type and grenade-type). In practice, it feels simply more streamlined. The previous title may have had more options, overall, but this feels more simplified and narrowed to get your character the most out of the tree without having to have you dig through data or forums to maximize your sub-class for your particular play-style.

Gunslinger

As for those “nit-picky” complaints that I alluded to, nearer the beginning of the review, they are things like the inability to delete multiple shaders at once. Something that could easily be, and I’m sure will be, changed down the line as the game continues to evolve through patches and DLC.

What’s impressive is the hooks the game drives into you, the fact that it can suck you in for so, so many hours and not make you regret a single one.

As with the first title in the series though, the real end-game is the friendships you craft with your buddies or clan-mates that you find online through LFG creations for Raids and PVP and Strikes.

Generally speaking, I’m a grumpy old gamer that doesn’t like to talk/bother with random people online… but the necessity of coordination for the mechanics of the new Raid means that I eventually had to bite the bullet and party up.

When I did, I was surprised to find that everyone I encountered was very patient and very helpful.

Guided Games (Beta)

This is thanks to the new Guided Games system.

The idea is that people who have completed the Raid/Strike previously can set up an “LFG” style notification in the corresponding section of the game (Raid or Nightfall) and offer their services as a party leader, guiding the less experienced through the process of completing one PVE event type or another as a “Guide”.

There are, of course, some restrictions to acting as a guide for this section as well as requirements for those joining as well. Most notably would be the need for a headset for online communication and coordination (which was where I was most hesitant).

Like I said though, my fears were quickly quieted as I found a couple of great groups (inside of the random clan I joined, and also through the Guided Games Beta) and some new long-term friends through the game.

Clan Creation

After dealing with the ramping toxicity of Overwatch Competitive play and years of garbage humans in games like League of Legends it was a welcome relief to cause the team to wipe for the fifth time in a row and hear “No worries man, we can run it again” and “Let me take a look at your build for you, see if we can make this easier on you.” Suggestions for improvement without being a condescending dick is an entirely new experience and one I will not forget.

As too was the experience of NARROWLY completing a Nightfall Raid with 2 seconds remaining to meet the final leg of the Rat King quest (5 minutes remaining) and celebrating with our fireteam as we all lost our minds with excitement as the Exotic popped on our notifications.

Activision/Blizzard has locked into a winning formula. They have addressed the complaints of the original release and launched with a game that is, as mentioned, nothing short of an addiction this time around.

Fireteam Pose

While it isn’t a perfect game (yet), it does feel like it has the potential to be. As the game continues to evolve and modify the way the menus and loot work through active patching and DLC content this could easily become one of my favorite games, not even of the year, but of the last 5 years. 

Review is based on a retail version for Xbox One, provided by the Publisher.

Destiny 2
Publisher: Activision/Blizzard
Developer: Activision/Blizzard
Platforms: Xbox One (reviewed), Playstation 4, PC
Release Date: 
September 6th, 2017 (Oct. 24th for PC)
Price: $79.99 (CDN with options for Digital Deluxe and Game+Expansion Bundle at $99.99 and $129.99 respectively)