Destiny 2 Review For The Newbie

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Complete review of Destiny 2 from a casual gamer.

• Technology: App / Software • Games & Software: Playstation 4 • Games & Software: PS 4 Pro • Technology: Review • Games & Software: Windows PC
• Games & Software: Xbox One • Games & Software: Xbox One S

Destiny 2 is a big deal, at least to hardcore gamers. But I'm not a hardcore gamer and I never got into the original Destiny. I enjoyed the original but just couldn't get into it. I rarely like multiplayers games which was part of the problem. But beyond that, the story was odd and poorly told and didn't really engage me so I gave up early on it.

Now we have Destiny 2 so I thought I would give it a try. Turns out I love it, though it's far from perfect. Very, very far from perfect in fact. So follow along and I'll detail out what I like and do not like about Destiny 2. I'm playing on an Xbox One but, other than some graphical differences, the game is the same on PS4 and PC too.

The Good

There is a lot to like about Destiny 2 because the game controls and plays so well. The game mechanics work so well that it's obvious a lot of time was spent in really polishing the controls. Game combat is excellent and fighting enemies (human or AI) is a lot of fun.

The missions are generally fun but are really just go here, kill these bad guys. Push an occasional button. Rinse. Repeat. They throw in an occasional tank mission but it's very repetitive. Then again, most games are.

The game also looks the part and is one of the better looking games on the Xbox One. The special effects are incredible and the game never seems to drop below its 30 FPS lock (PC allows higher frame rates). I'm sure it will look even better above 1080P so PC gamers at 4K will have some serious eye candy. But, most of that is pointless because it looks amazing at 1080P (or even lower as is sometimes the case).

The Bad

The single player story is much better than it was in Destiny 1, but it's still very much on the awful side in terms of storytelling. I rarely enjoy game stories but this one is particularly bad. The voice acting feels like this is a kids game. It's truly awful. The attempts at comedy are oddly out of place and just not funny.

I told myself I would pay attention to the story but after 3-4 overly long and boring cutscenes I just skipped them. I mean, it's a typical sci-fi shooter so, you know, bad aliens came to take over your world and you have to kill them. Halo managed to tell a good story so you'd think Destiny, being from the same developer, would as well. You'd be wrong.

Now on to leveling up. I love games where I can grow my character and level up. Games like Fallout 4 and Borderlands 2 do this so well. More power, better weapons, better armor. I love that. Destiny 2 does this as well but the level cap stops at Level 20. What? Level 20? Why not 50 or higher?

To be fair, in addition to your level you also have a Power Rating which is a number between 1 and 300. It's like a combined power rating for all of your equipped gear. Better guns and armor raise this number. Almost makes you wonder what the point of the 1-20 level number is.

Working your way from Level 1 to Level 20 is fun and you constantly get tons of new weapons and armor so you always feel like you're getting better. Once you hit Level 20 that feeling slows to a crawl as you work on increasing your Power Rating from around 200 to the 300 max. It's an odd system.

The final complaint is how vested you need to be to truly understand the game. It's very complex. I'm not talking about all of the nonsense Destiny lore for those who (oddly) enjoy immersing themselves in the world that is Destiny. I'm talking about how it's an overwhelming game for a newbie to jump into and try to figure out everything going on. What's this dust stuff I keep collecting? What the hell is an Engram? Is it the same as a Bright Engram? Is it just a loot drop then? Why do I have to decode it or decrypt it? Why the odd names for everything? For a casual gamer, it's confusing stuff.

And what's with all of the odd add-ons that do nothing. For example, I can get "shaders" for my weapons and armor. These do nothing but change the color / skin of your item. Who cares? I can get different skins for my main spaceship, but I can't actually fly the spaceship? It's just a thing I see during loading screens. What's the point of that? Who gets excited about nonsense like that? Probably the same person who gets excited about a new iPhone color only to put a different colored phone case on it. Stupid.

The Ugly

Multiplayer is a big focus with Destiny games. The idea is that you're always online and playing with other real humans around you. When you do campaign missions it's just you on your own. Otherwise, there are others running around your world. At least, that's the theory.

In my case, I would see only a handful of others and more often than not they wouldn't be helping me in the massive public battles that randomly take place. Often I was on my own and outnumbered with enemy AI killing me quickly. When things did work, and I would have 3-4 humans battling, it was fun but this was the exception, not the rule, for me.

True "player vs player" style multiplayer is also available and works as expected. This will be a big part of the game for most, but I'm not a huge fan of it. I dabble in the Crucible (as the multiplayer is called) but always feel a bit outgunned there which leads to frustration.

Because this is an "always online" type of game, that means you're at the mercy of your Internet connection and the Destiny servers. If they go down for maintenance (as has already happened) it's no Destiny for you until the servers come back up. To me, this is a major flaw. Why can't I play the single player missions without the servers being up?

Along that same complaint, every time you load any level in the game you're stuck waiting for servers to be found and connected to. In fact, even just starting the game is often (at least for me) a 5-10 minute event. There is no way to jump in and get a quick few minutes of gameplay here. You really have a lot of loading time to get going. It's incredibly annoying and one of the game's biggest flaws, just like it was in Destiny 1.

The Conclusion

I have a lot of complaints with Destiny 2, the major one comes from how the always online multiplayer system works. When it's working as intended, it's pretty spectacular. When it's not, and it's often now, it leaves me a world with few others and long load times.

Look beyond the flaws and this is an amazing and incredibly fun game to play. Over time, I'm sure I will better understand all of the oddities in the game than I don't get right now (even though I've been playing for 20+ hours). If not, I don't really care because it's just fun to play.