I wasn’t sure what to expect when I loaded up the game. I enjoyed Destiny 1 for what it was, a stunningly beautiful and sounding experience, with fun gameplay that was stripped of a decent narrative, fun encounters and exciting side activities. The core gameplay loop was fun, but the game devolved into finding enjoyment from grinding items and shooting bullet sponges, and for some – thats enough. But I think for a lot of people expecting a more engaging experience, it wasn’t enough.
Right out of the gate, the first story mission is engaging with scripted sequences and set pieces. It’s awe inspiring, with plenty of dialogue and interesting moments that have you stop and really take in whats going on. It’s almost completely on the rails, with no exploration, but it is the first mission and you have to expect the player is still learning the games movement and mechanics. It’s an impressive outing, with a lot to see and it’s a really chunky single player mission but Destiny 1’s standards, but it’s hard to tell if this is how the rest of the expeeriance will be – or if this mission is one of a few out of many activities that has custom built scripted plot.
The Strike, Destiny’s version of a Dungeon from MMO’s, was interesting but didn’t leave much of an impression. These didn’t have much narrative in them at all, so you are left with two set pieces to pull your attention – the assault on the giant drill, and the end-boss. The drill, while amazing in the trailers – was actually very easy to navigate. I assume this is because the encounter is on normal, and I’m hoping the drill will be modified to be a bit more deadly, and the enemy encounters a bit more challenging. My fireteam just torn though them without much thought, and the sequence was over in less than a minute.
The final boss was awe inspiring and it had multiple phases which required different environmental issues to resolve. This was a great step, and I hope other bosses have interesting mechanics. Like the drill, I hope harder difficulty modes will modify the behaviour of the boss, not just give it more HP like the previous game did.
Multiplayer is where I felt either my age, my class or my lack of experience in the Crucible show – but I got destroyed so badly that I stopped playing after a few rounds. I play a decent game of Overwatch, but this just ruins me. Maybe with more experience I can get better, but yeah – that wasn’t fun. I think in huge part its because my Titan lacked a lot of mobility and in-your-face power, based on how I tried to play the character before. I’ve read recently that mobility stats on armour will be more noticeable, so this could be a big reason why. Also without the levelling experience to really get a feel for your different stats, it’s hard to get a good handle on what works and what doesn’t work for your character.
I’m going to go into this more in the future, but I do want to give another shout out to Bungie’s Art and Sound team. Art direction in each room, each skybox, every weapon – fantastic. Music score is also amazing, as is sound effects and overall look at feel. UI is also fantastic – and the PC version felt amazingly smooth for the most part on my Alienware 13 r3 with a 1060 in at 1080p [OLED panels with this game really do blow my mind].
Overall, it’s hard to read if the vertical slice we are seeing of Destiny 2 here is indicative of the experience in the whole game, but if it is – if Bungie can show off the same epic battles of the Halo franchise, if missions are fun to replay because it’s just plain fun and if the game constantly evolves better over time due to constant surprising updates, this could be a real treat.