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Destiny 2 Review (Xbox One)

September 11, 2017 | Posted by Stewart Lange
Destiny 2
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Destiny 2 Review (Xbox One)  

Disclaimer: given the MMO nature of Destiny 2, don’t consider this to be my final word on Destiny 2, but I did feel inclined to share my thoughts by way of a fairly short review after around 15 hours of gameplay. Keep that in mind with regards to my final score, as well as anything I say during the review. It may be I haven’t unlocked or fully realised something just yet.

So, the sequel to the divisive Destiny is finally here and it seems to be a little bit of a mixed bag. Now, I have to stress that I loved the first game. I’m probably considered “casual” in the scheme of things, but at around 120 hours played, I feel like I’m still qualified to talk about certain facets of the games. What Bungie has done with Destiny 2 is by releasing a beautifully polished base game, they’ve potentially alienated the players who have stuck with the first game over the last 3 years. Now, it’s hard to fully appreciate if you didn’t continue with Destiny throughout the life of the first game, but the changes between initial release and the “finished product” were huge. By starting things all over again, it’s almost like we’re looking at potential, rather than actual achievement, given that we’re yet to see our first raid or strike.

The game starts with beautifully drawn images, showing pivotal moments from the first game and reminding you of who they were shared with. You’re then taken through the events leading to the destruction of “The Traveller.” I’m not going to go into explaining the lore behind anything here, guys. If you don’t know what that is, there’s plenty of Wiki pages dedicated to it. You play the first hour or so solo, before in game events open up the co-op aspect and the PvP section of the game in the Crucible. The most obvious change is the graphical overhaul. Destiny 2 is awe-inspiringly good looking. The gun play is every bit as satisfying as the original, if not more so. Playing with an Elite pad on a 4K television makes this a treat, with a beautiful thud in your hands of every landed shot, with the consequences of your actions played out in fantastic detail. Granted, the character models are not much different than the first game, but the level of polish is a lot higher. A couple of the set pieces and areas in the campaign are absolutely amazing.

Now, as I mentioned already, there aren’t strikes or raids yet, so we have no idea on the length, quality or nature of any of these. There are also 2 DLC packs announced, the first in December, but I’d predict a similar model to the first game, with a “2.5” release in around a year or so adding new end game content. The issue is that there are so many people who have battered their way to the end game of Destiny 2 already, to find there isn’t much for them yet. Now, for a launch level MMO, it’s pretty stupid to have battered the existing content so quickly and then complain that there’s nothing left, but the truth is that we’re not going to know how Destiny 2 matches up to the first game until all is said and done. Whatever changes have been made do make a difference. The main campaign is more accessible to the solo player, the story is padded more, but until we know if this is going to keep us invested for 100/150/200+ hours, then all these aesthetic changes will be in vain.

So far, I’m having a great time with Destiny 2. I’ve played with some cool people, I’ve had fun doing public events and levelling on my own. There’s been enough to do that not once have I put my controller down and felt “bored,” but there’s only so many times I can replay the same public events to grind gear before I find myself distracted. There’s so much promise here that I find it really hard to rate it low, but at this point, it’s hard to rate anything other than the aesthetic changes. I don’t think Bungie or Activision are going to drop the ball here, giving players what they want, but the real conversation on whether Destiny 2 has succeeded or not will unfortunately be towards the end of it’s life.

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
On first impression, there's a lot to love about Destiny 2, with stunning graphics and a much more accessible single player experience, but until we're running raids at 2am with a clan full of fellow Guardians, we'll have no idea if this has succeeded or not. In terms of what I've played so far, there's not much to worry about.

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Destiny 2, Stewart Lange