Destiny 2 should be better than the final product turned out. While the shooting is still very solid, the RPG aspects are fundamental flawed in so many ways its astonishing that Bungie didn’t make a better loot shooter. Especially considering it was the same issue from the original Destiny.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect with Destiny 2 when I hit the X button on the PS4 dashboard. My time with Destiny 1 left me feeling utterly confused and disappointed. I never went back after playing the original for a few days. I had zero desire to ever play Destiny again. Especially when I was told to get the version of the game that should of been there day 1 required the price of a expansion past.
Destiny 2 was a chance to start fresh. So i was curious how Bungie would improve the formula. Let’s start out about what’s great in Destiny 2. The core shooting of Destiny 2 is still by far the best part of the package. This isn’t surprising considering that was easily the best aspect in original Destiny. Shooting things feels satisfying and the different type of weapons all feel different. Whenever you pickup a weapon, somehow it feels exactly like you would expect it should. Considering I have no idea how a Pulse Rifle would actually feel to shoot, the fact that it feels right every time is an accomplishment.
Playing Destiny 2 on a PS4 Pro offers a great looking game as well. Everything is very sharp and the vast skylines and sweeping landscapes are a big step up over the original Destiny. While the first game felt like it had a lot of bland and uninteresting sections that felt like off shoot hallways, Destiny 2 feels a lot more open and vast.
Destiny 2 looks nice but it feels so much like Destiny 1 it’s shocking.
So far so good right? The graphics are better and the game play is still great. What’s not to love? You might of noticed I have called out the original Destiny a few times already, and considering I am less than 500 words into this review that might seem a little strange. The problem is Destiny 2 feels so much like Destiny 1 it’s impossible to not make the comparison.
I need to be clear that I didn’t follow the marketing lead up to Destiny 2. I basically went in blind and knew nothing other than it was a product. The original promise of Destiny was. “Become Legend” as they said. While that whole entire pillar of design ended up being smoke and mirrors, I expected them to get more of that original idea into the core of Destiny 2. Maybe that’s where I screwed up?
Destiny 2 is in almost no way a new game. It’s by far the loosest terms of a sequel I’ve ever seen. There are not any rules or guidelines when making a sequel. A studio can do whatever they want and slap a 2 on the box as they see fit. But when you tell me there’s a sequel I expect new things. Bigger odds and new reasons to come back to your world, or in this case, worlds. So when I found out there were only 3 classes yet again, and that they were the exact same classes before I was taken back a bit. Then discovering that the character creator was identical as well, I was starting to get nervous before I had even played the first mission.
Even with a “proper” campaign, the story of Destiny 2 is still not good.
The comparisons don’t stop there but I’m not going to go down a list of what everything from the original is carried over to Destiny 2. The point is that Destiny 2 feels insanely like the original in so many ways. Even with a campaign and the feedback from the original and subsequent expansions, Destiny 2 somehow managed to basically have almost the same exact issues as the original.
While Bungie has made a lot of great quality of life changes to the UI and how some of the systems work to give the player more guidance, the grind once again ends up being a really boring grind that is elongated for no real reason other than to make it longer for the sake of making it longer.. The list of things to do feels a bit longer in Destiny 2, but it doesn’t stop the repetitiveness from creeping up way too quickly.
The variety of missions is still obscenely small for a game with this much grind. When you mix in the fact that the classes and sub classes don’t make a huge change at all, you find yourself hitting the wall really quickly.
What about the new story in Destiny 2? That has to be a step up for the simple fact it exists. The box says a “rich cinematic campaign,” but that is hardly the truth. Flash over substance is more accurate, but I’m assuming that isn’t a good box quote. Instead of intricately weaving a story into the game, you basically get a series of missions with forgettable characters that try too hard to get a emotional response. Seriously, Destiny 2’s story is an utter mess that can’t decide if it wants to be serious or a comedy. The fact that there isn’t any real objective in Destiny 2 other than kill the big bad guy, players are left with a series of missions you want to skip to get to the end game.
The endgame of Destiny 2 offers no satisfying progression. The numbers keep going up but the player never feels more powerful.
Ok so let’s get to the end game of Destiny 2. The portion of Destiny 2 that you will be playing for the long haul. Clearly this is where the time and development should of went into this sequel. After knowledge gained from Blizzard who literally went to Bungie Studios and told them exactly how to make a loot game in the current era of games, Destiny 2 has to be a home run in this aspect to matter. Well, as you might of guessed by now, that isn’t the case once again.
It’s crazy how little variety there is in the endgame of Destiny 2. To the point I just don’t understand how Bungie didn’t perfect this aspect. The endgame of Destiny 2 has one major flaw, progression. The point of a grind is to feel more powerful. To obtain new abilities and become a badass, or dare I say “Become Legend.” That just never happens during the grind. My light level kept increasing. I was obtaining new gear and new weapons but my skills hadn’t evolved to a point where I became more powerful. Even when I obtained that super rare exotic weapon. Nothing changed and I didn’t feel more powerful or change how I played Destiny 2. But hey, at least it looks cool?
The classes of Destiny 2 are utterly boring and offer no real differences that change how you play. A core fundamental of having classes to begin with.
I basically played the entirety of the game the same way. Even when I started over because I thought the Hunter class was just flat out boring, I found out that Destiny just has flat out boring classes. Even with the sub classes being able to be changed on the fly I never once felt like a different character. Every class plays the same. The best part of an RPG is playing it in different ways with different classes. Well that is not a feature in Destiny 2. Every class is basically the same. That is a huge fatal flaw in a RPG.
Back to the endgame which ties into the RPG aspects. The end game of Destiny 2 is purely a light number generator. The goal is to get your arbitrary light number higher so enemies hit less hard. As you face the more difficult aspects of the end game you simply find that you get hit harder by the enemy. The amount of enemies doesn’t change. The types of enemies don’t change. Their abilities and intelligence stay the same. So you literally just fight the same enemies over and over with no real variation as you are supposed to become more powerful. So yes, while eventually my gun hits harder, it doesn’t “feel” more powerful. Everything feels the same most of the way through the entirety of Destiny 2
Even locking content behind a light level still makes the progression feel boring in Destiny 2
There is a caveat to this rule though. Bungie locks the raid and the Nightfall Strike behind a light level. So you could make the argument that that’s the reason to increase your light level right? That would make sense if there was purpose to keep running the Nightfall and raid more than once. Nothing changes the second time through either the Raid or Nightfall. So again, the player just falls into this cycle again of increasing your light level not to change the game play or add variety to a class and it’s abilities, but to increase their light level for no real reason. When you max out the light cap, thats it. You’ve done it. Keep shooting things I guess?
Destiny 2 should be better. I am still stunned and in shock how bad the RPG and loot aspects of Destiny 2 turned out. While that 2 on the box might make it seem like a sequel, the end product doesn’t feel like a sequel. It looks better and performance is top notch. You could even argue that the very core of Destiny 2 is superb because shooting things feels great, but Destiny 2 is trying to be so much more than a shooter. It wants to be a loot grind RPG, but that is where the wheels come off entirely.
Destiny 2 is a good shooter but an absolutely terrible RPG loot shooter. Considering that is and was one of the key pillars and promises of the entire Destiny franchise, its shocking to see how much Bungie hasn’t learnt. Even without that fundamental promise of “Become Legend,” that has been entirely erased from the core promise, Destiny 2 still falls short and it should be better.