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Destiny 2 Review (PS4) — ‘The Best Loot is The Loot of Friendship’

 
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Overview
 

Published by: Activision
 
Developed by: Bungie
 
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows(October 24, 2017)
 
Genre(s): Action role-playing FPS
 
Mode(s): Multiplayer
 
Game Type: , ,
 
FG RATING
90%
90/ 100


User Rating
5 total ratings

 

Raves


• More intuitive and accessible to Solo Players • Gunplay and Looting are as rewarding as ever • Matchmaking now possible for the more co-op heavy modes •

Rants


• Derivative story • Late game content still ultimately dependent on group play •


1
Posted October 27, 2017 by

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After multiple attempts and countless grueling hours of non-stop fireteam action in Destiny 2’s Leviathan Raid, we eventually managed to defeat it’s dreaded end boss. Opening the loot chest at the end of it felt like getting a we-beat-the-raid-and-all-I-got-was-this-lousy-t-shirt t-shirt. What I mean is that the shirt, or in this case a Robes of the Fulminator legendary chest armor, was but a souvenir. Serving as a mere remembrance for the sights we’ve seen and the moments we’ve shared as a group; the game’s truest reward.

STORY

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The story begins as the warmongering space-rhino race called the Cabal mounts an invasion on The Last City of Earth. Later known as the Red Legion, they successfully overrun the city, seizing The Traveler and with it, it’s light. Light is the source of every Guardian’s power. The source of our ability to resurrect from death. A power that had been forcefully taken from us as we’ve been left within an inch of our last life by Dominus Ghaul – the tyrant behind the siege. The opening act is an emotionally charged moment, perfectly setting up the overall tone of the narrative and giving us a compelling excuse to raise our Light Level back from scratch all over again.

Destiny’s universe is a dense world rife with lore — an abundance that the first game failed to capitalize on.

I got into Destiny by the time The Taken King expansion initially came out. Back then, my progression was all over the place. Starting off at The Taken King campaign then jumping between all the available activities. This time, Destiny 2 urges players to experience the story undisturbed, barring access to many of the endgame activities until the player beats the story. You won’t even get your Sparrow(think Star Wars’ speeder bikes) until much, much later because Bungie wants you to take in the scenery.

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Destiny’s universe is a dense world rife with lore — an abundance that the first game failed to capitalize on. Instead, offering a disappointingly insipid campaign. In an attempt to remedy this, the Grimoires – housing the bulk of Destiny’s lore –  have been completely done away with, focusing instead on delivering a more fleshed out campaign. Your Guardian still plays the essential role in the plot, though this time the limelight is cast wide among the supporting characters and everyone’s collective effort to take back the city. Although the main campaign is a big step up from what the first game had, it still falls short of any significant development, suffering still, from underwhelming delivery.

GAMEPLAY

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Gameplay remains largely the same but with a few key changes and modifications from the original formula that gears Destiny 2 towards providing a more accessible gameplay experience.

Destiny 2 attempts to tear down the wall barring solo players from endgame loot.

For the uninitiated, Destiny 2 is an online shooter with prominent role-playing elements. It’s like a loot-focused dungeon crawler but in space, with guns, and in a first-person perspective. You start by choosing one of three main classes:  A Titan, a Hunter, or a Warlock, representing the three primary archetypes in RPG in mind. On the surface, the game plays like a typical first-person shooter, but, under the hood lies an intricate loot-focused system design to keep you shooting space-rhinos for hundreds of hours.

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One of the highest priorities for any shooter game is to give you a solid reason to… well, shoot; a feat that Destiny has been cultivating since the original. There’s a wide variety of weapon classes to choose from, as well as a slew of ‘exotic’ weapons that often have unique game-changing effects (The Cold Heart exclusive weapon, for instance, is a trace rifle that fires a beam of energy and is the only weapon of it’s kind.). Exotic gears will be some of the rarest and most sought-after gear in the game and to pick one of these bad boys up is just absolutely euphoric.

Initially, you’ll likely be concerned with maxing out your character’s level, gradually unlocking new abilities and reaching the level requirement for gears and activities. The game begins to really open up once you hit max level. At this point, you’ll be shifting your focus to maxing your Power Level up to the cap (currently 305). This can be achieved by actively participating in any of Destiny 2’s plethora of daily and weekly activities.

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Destiny 2 has activities for just about anyone. For PvE, you’ve got the campagin, adventures, patrols, public events, strikes, side-quests, and the Raid. For PvP, you’ve got the crucible which offers competitive and quicklplay modes, then you have the Trials of the Nine, the pinnacle of competitive play in Destiny. Aside from these, you also have seasonal events, like the Iron Banner, and the Faction Wars, offering exclusive gear only available when during the even periods.

In Destiny 1, if you weren’t the type to engage in group play or interacting with people, then you likely would never make it beyond the power level soft cap. Much of the best gear you can get absolutely required participating in Raids, which required a hefty commitment. Destiny 2 attempts to tear down the wall barring solo players from endgame loot. Every week, milestones can be completed, which rewards players with powerful engrams, capable of boosting one’s maximum power. A good number of these milestones can be completed solo. And even if you weren’t able to run a raid or nightfall challenge, so long as your clan does, you, too, will be rewarded.

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Still, some people want to participate in group activities who just find it difficult to locate a group to play with. Yet another issue that Destiny 2 attempts to address by way of Guided Games. This mode allows clan members to ‘Guide’ random ‘Seekers’ that wish to participate in Raids and Nightfall strikes via matchmaking. Clan members are rewarded for successful runs and are then encouraged to guide a seeker well through an activity, allowing a would-be solo player to experience some of the late game group activities as well as potentially make new friends and become successfully integrated into a solid group. Though the concept is sound, I found the implementation to be inoperable. Matchmaking takes forever and has only found a match a handful of times. I had a better chance just looking for a group myself than waiting for Guided Games to find me a match.

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Though Destiny 2’s list of improvements is mostly hit and miss, it generally fulfilled what it had hoped to achieve. Destiny had become quite engaging without really pushing players to commit to a group only gently encouraging it. Not only is Destiny 2 much more enjoyable for the solo player, much of the improvements have also made it much easier for players to form groups and get together as well.

With all that being said, it doesn’t mean Destiny 2 has pivoted into a singleplayer model. Far from it. Certain activities actually still demand extreme cooperation to overcome. This game is so much more than just holding your own in a fight. For the longest time in Destiny, the ultimate endgame activity is the grueling 6-man activity called a Raid. This is an arduous exercise that tests a group’s communication and teamwork, taking anywhere from an hour to 4 hours depending on how well-oiled your group is and how intimate your group has become when it comes to all the raid encounters.

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A Raid can seldom be a battle-of-attrition. After spending over 3 hours trying to beat the Leviathan raid, there are times where players end up giving up or have somewhere to be, forcing the raid to be put off for another day. You really had to commit several hours when taking on a Raid, but often times, it can be quite the quintessential adventure. My first Leviathan Raid was utterly unforgettable. Everyone else in the fireteam was in it for the first time, and it was a blast trying and learn the inner workings of each encounter together, gradually making progress and building rapport among players who were total strangers only moments ago. Calling out symbols, running a  gauntlet, and jumping onto platforms together with newfound online buddies are as rewarding as the endgame loot itself.

Bungie had become a master of repetition. Rotating events weekly, gradually extending new rewards to keep players engaged and wanting. Completing as many of the weekly activities as I can eagerly anticipating the weekly reset is largely what kept me playing.

VISUALS & PERFORMANCE

Destiny 2 incorporates a set of crafty visual enhancements whilst principally retaining its primary aesthetics. For series veterans, the improvements may be too subtle to notice which I realize is actually a good thing, since there’s hardly anything from the original design that needs a drastic visual overhaul. Series newcomers, on the other hand, are in for a visually stunning and believable space venture.

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For a game that lets you jump around into hyperspace in what is essentially a space sedan, you’d think you’ll be treated with some pretty out of this world locales. Instead, the available regions, though superbly crafted, are incredibly lacking in otherworldly diversity.

The musical score gracefully lends powerful emotions that can turn a trivial skirmish into a cinematic showdown. In spite of that, what is perhaps most impressive about Destiny 2’s audio is the SFX. Every creature, every round, and every ability are very distinct, eliciting a unique persona that harmoniously coexists with all other elements in any given scene. Though a great number of things mayhap be occurring on screen at any given time, the sound FX is seldom noise and rather an orchestra of bullets. Anything that should matter generates a distinct audio cue allowing players to maintain great awareness of all the action on screen, a good tactical feature for any action shooter. You wont just hear someone shoot an enemy,  you’ll know it’s 50 meters away using OMOLON Fusion Rifle against a Fallen Captain.

VERDICT

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Bungie takes what made the original a success and remixes that with new implementations that aims to resolve known issues. While this new blend does compromise certain features that fans would rather have been left untouched, it’s opened the game up to a broad new demographic of non-social/semi-social gamers and expertly endorses them to multiplayer activities whilst providing a sandbox for them to play at their own pace. Destiny 2 is an astonishingly rewarding shooter, both in it’s content, and the experiences it enables players to have together. If you’ve never known the full potential of online multiplayer, Destiny 2 will open a lot of doors for you. 

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher]


Dian Raval

 
Dian is a writer for Flipgeeks who, in his spare time, stares at a wall in his basement. If you'd like to discuss music, video games, or the infinite wisdom of concrete, follow him on twitter @iburnandfume or subscribe to his YouTube channel @iburnandfume. He's pretty much iburnandfume in everything. Apparently he... burns and fumes.


One Comment


  1.  

    I love this game, I also played the “Text base” on android. Very cool game!





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