I’ve rarely made public appearances lately and the few I have made involved throwing bags of poop at someone’s door because they said Horizon Zero Dawn was only a 7-7.9 game. So defending this year’s most likely Game of the Year for me, I haven’t moved an inch outside of my game room. The reason? Destiny 2. I haven’t so much as thought of playing anything else either. Not even the Death of the Outsider DLC for Dishonored 2. “But Kyle, I’ve followed the great site you work for and know you absolutely hated the first Destiny. Don’t you think this is all a little hypocritical?” Well, put aside the fact that journalists shouldn’t necessarily hate everything associated with a brand, yes I loathed the first title. That alone should tell you how much Destiny 2 improved over its predecessor.
Quick recap for those not in the loop.
1. I visited Bungie Studios back in 2013 and got a behind the scenes look at the then upcoming game.
2. Footage and promises were shown that made Destiny look like a bonafide smash.
3. It releases and is nothing even close to what I saw.
4. The title is just awful, repetitive garbage from beginning to end.
5. Sold it after two weeks.
So as a gamer extraordinaire, I find out that Destiny 2 is getting an open beta and I participate. The small glimpse of the full game was promising and I even wrote about that here on Pure PlayStation. However, come launch day I’m still on the fence. I mean Bungie is a mostly respected studio and surely would learn from its mistakes. On the other hand, we’ve seen what a small glimpse of something positive has done in the past. After being ever so slightly pushed of the edge by friends and followers, I purchased the sequel well into the evening of release. Trust me that’s like a week in my time. Shockingly I couldn’t believe what I had almost missed out on. Destiny 2 was everything the first title should have been and more.
Needless to say Bungie listened and listened well. There was an actual, connected story that told its tale and left more still to be discovered without tantalizing need to know information. A faction of the Cabal race brutally took over the Tower and Earth like they were a child’s play thing. It’s up to you and other guardians to reacquire what was taken and push back against their leader Ghaul, who is literally consuming and blowing up stars so there’s nothing left. The plot wasn’t the pinnacle of storytelling, but it certainly was a great adventure that I was eager to delve into. Remember the first game’s story? You probably can’t right? It was just a bunch of loosely connected missions that had no bearing on each other. Then the ending which wasn’t even an ending and still makes my blood boil to this day. By far and large, Destiny 2 delivered a worthwhile story that respected the in-game’s universe and lore.
Who else remembers the first title’s level design and environments? Drab colors hang over every world and all lead into a bland tunnel of some sort eventually for missions. Then you had to defend your ghost every other objective. Destiny 2 slaps away these problems with pride and introduces us to lavish and lush environments matched only by their level designs. Sure there are times where you have to enter tunnels or even on rarer occasions defend your ghost, but the game is much more open and diverse. Enclosed spaces don’t feel confined and boring, instead they feel like they’re living, breathing places. This experience was nowhere near the level of repetition we’d seen so far. Even grinding light levels above 265 didn’t feel like a chore or that I was wasting my time. Along with the fresh redesigns there were so much more activities to complete.
Here’s how I logged into the first Destiny: “Well what’s the plan today. More meaningless patrols and boring daily challenges? Let’s go and collect more useless stuff that can’t be used to further my enjoyment in any way.”
Here’s how I log into Destiny 2: “OMG there’s so many different things to do!”
See the difference? Not only is the sequel better, but there’s more to do and actually makes you feel like you’re apart of a living breathing universe. I can’t tell you how many times I had to contemplate doing a raid, the nightfall, or something else entirely any given day. I actually had to allocate my time in order to do everything I wanted.
Now that doesn’t make Destiny 2 perfect as there are legitimate criticisms. Such as the annoying Eververse microtransaction lady and the raid being a teensy bit broken at some parts. However, I haven’t truly enjoyed myself or immersed myself in an MMORPG like this before. Sure there was Neverwinter and Skyforge, but they were the baseline of basic when it came to the genre. This franchise is now one I’m proud to be a part of, and I only wish Bungie had told me that the second game would be when its promises were met.