In 2007, after over a decade of working on the Halo franchise and being owned by Microsoft, developers Bungie decided it was time for a change. After completing their last Halo game in 2010, the team split from the Redmond company, becoming independent once more, and decided to leave their epic, first-person, futuristic space shooter behind, as they went in search of something completely different. Four years later Destiny, a futuristic, epic first-person space shooter was released, and while they might sound familiar on paper, this was a different beast completely. Fast forward to 2017, the team thought it time to release a sequel that managed to build on the previous game in every way.
Note from the Editor: As Destiny 2 is a live service game, we’ll be reviewing all of the expansions and what they mean to the overall game. Current reviewed expansions are found below:
At A Glance
|Positives||+ Perfect difficulty curves|
+ Beautifully weighted combat
+ Loads to do, for no cost!
|Negatives||– ‘Vaulted content’ means original campaigns are gone|
– Menus are fiddly and complicated
– Matchmaking modes not always available for solo players
|Price (When Reviewed)||£0.00|
|Overall Playtime (inc expansions)||70 hours and counting…|
|Available On||PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC|
Destiny 2 starts by explaining the Traveller – a huge white space-ball that has found its way to Earth and has chosen Humanity as it’s next target to imbue with ‘The Light’. This spurred on the Golden Age of Space Exploration and technological advancements the likes of which the human race has not seen since the Stone Age. Needless to say a few alien races didn’t take kindly to all of this and launched an all-out assault on Earth, completely decimating it. 700 years later and the fight for Earth has evolved. Alien nations from around the galaxy are constantly trying to destroy The Light and our solar system. It’s here where the fun starts…
Starting with a trek through the Cosmodrome, players, or Guardians as Bungie call them, are introduced to the world of Destiny 2. Joining in on the journey is a Ghost, a floating companion who serves as a guide and saves my soul if an enemy manages to shoot me dead. As the game ambles along I’m introduced to various characters who throw small missions and bounties at me to get a feel of the set up. Coupled with a live action war going on between real world players and their bug-like opponents, I thought this set up worked quite well. The game didn’t force me from one area to another like most tutorials, and instead I was left in a large open area to either follow the plot or jump in with other players and start shooting at my own pace.
The intro to the game in 2022 is a lot different to when the game first launched in 2017. Bungie has replaced the original opening section, which was directly impacted by the events of the first game, and replaced it with Destiny 1’s tutorial, and for the most part it’s OK. There is a lot of information to digest within the first dozen hours, like learning the menu systems, weapon management and game modes, as well as the story itself. It can be a little overwhelming to begin with, especially to people who are brand new to the game. My tip is to think of the game on a mission by mission basis and that way you won’t be as swamped by the heavy lore.
The plot revolves around the ongoing fight for survival, and the missions the Guardians undertake are key in bringing about the end of the war. As I zipped around our solar system, it was noticeable just how different the style of each environment was. Earth was a decimated place, not only littered with mechanical wreckage from wars past, but the planet had begun to reclaim the roads and buildings too, and were covered in creeping vegetation. All the while Europa (the frozen moon of Jupiter), was an isolated tundra; it’s sparse on the surface, but digging down revealed a sprawling network of caves where the Hive had taken hold. When exploring a planet or moon, it feels like you really are on that planet. Other locations were equally unique and, unlike arena shooters, are all surprisingly vast in scale. There is a lot of land to traverse throughout the game, and there are a few dead spots where there’s nothing to discover and no enemy spawn points, which was disappointing as these areas are just lifeless.
Given the post-apocalyptic setting, Destiny 2 presents itself very nicely, and this is mirrored in the enemy types too. The most common ones encountered were the Fallen – bug-type creatures who scuttle around the screen, ducking and diving for cover while shooting at you at every opportunity. Other types include the Cabal, who are brutish soldiers who look like Warhammer’s Space Marines with flamethrowers attached to every limb. The only criticisms I have in the looks department is that the enemy types don’t offer much variation; there’s only 3 or 4 variations of the six alien types so blasting wave after wave of enemies quickly becomes repetitive. If you’ve played Halo, chances are you’ll also get Destiny’s Fallen mixed up with the Covenant as they look almost identical. These are only small issues though, and certainly didn’t affect the fun I have blasting them to pieces.
And oh boy is shooting fun in Destiny 2 – Bungie have absolutely nailed the shooting experience. The game feels responsive in hand; aiming down the sights of a side arm is a quick snap, and machine guns fire with a satisfying klak-klak-klak that makes me feel like John Rambo on his boat shooting at hordes of nameless goons. I wasn’t limited to just shooting either – with swords, bows and arrows and even a staff on hand to mix up the game – the combat is generally a lot of fun. Who you choose to be at the beginning will influence the different abilities and stats you get to play with, so whether your preferred playstyle is more acrobatic, or you prefer to be an immovable object, then you can alter your experience accordingly.
It’s not all fun and shooting in Destiny 2 though, as the menu systems are muddled and confusing to the point of annoyance. The menus are clunky, with three separate ones mapped to two different buttons. This kind of rooting around in menus should be limited to management sims and 1980s text based adventures, and while it’s understandable Destiny 2 needs a place for equipment to be used, it can sometimes feel like too much time is spent opening up the wrong menus rather than shooting aliens in the face.
Menus aside, the Destiny 2 experience is largely positive and has a range of enjoyable gameplay mechanics to get to grips with. The game can be played in single player modes (for the most part), but this is an MMO, so teamwork is the key to success. The multiplayer modes are vast and all encompassing, from traditional deathmatch-style 3v3 competitive tournaments to six player fireteams, who collect together to take on various challenges for a chance to nab some fancy gear. While multiplayer modes can be tackled solo it’s not recommended for the raids, which give you the best-of-the-best items. It’s also worth noting that not all multiplayer modes are matchmaking ones, and to get the absolute best out of every area of the game, you’ll need at least two other friends (or two randos from forums if you’re into that kind of thing) to play with.
The snappy and fluid controls of Destiny 2 are the standout features and work like a dream. It elevates the game to a point where the action is never overwhelming enough to make you want to throw your controller down the nearest black hole. Even if you prefer playing solo, there are hours upon hours of content for you to enjoy. The game treads a line that keeps the game challenging yet accessible, so players of any skill can join in, and while Destiny 2 can feel like a Halo knock off at times, Bungie certainly delivers a AAA experience at a price that’s hard to complain about.