Destiny 2 Review: A Superior Smorgasbord of a Sequel
The first Destiny was one of the biggest games in 2014, but with its massive following also came plenty of complaints among critics, consumers, and even from the most diehard fans. Destiny 2 aims to address each problem, and succeeds more often than it fails.
Destiny 2 is an online-only sci-fi first person shooter. Its release comes with a ton of baggage. Despite winning awards and garnering a large, dedicated fanbase, the first Destiny took a lot of criticism for its non-existent story, lacking content, convoluted level progression, and tedious grinding. The expansions alleviated some of those of problems, but expectations were understandably high for a full-blown sequel to improve on those aspects and then some.
There’s a lot from the first game directly carried over, with a couple of tweaks. You still have the three classes to choose from: the tanky Titan, the agile Hunter, and the spell-casting Warlock. Each one has the same three subclasses based on the familiar elements of Arc, Solar, and Void. You’re fighting the same alien races: the scavenging Fallen, the mystical Hive, the AI Vex, the militaristic Cabal, and the intradimensional Taken. It’s a bit disappointing to see nothing majorly new in these departments, but at least the essence of playing as those classes and battling those enemies still feels good.
More story to see
Destiny 2 makes it loud and clear from the start that Bungie, the series’ developers, heard the gripes about the storytelling in the first game. You’re thrown right into action the moment you start playing. As one of the virtually immortal, superpowered Guardians of the Last City on Earth, you have to stave off a surprise invasion of your home from an alien army seeking to control the source of your celestial strength; Light, as the game calls it.
It’s a whole spectacle filled with characters firing off rounds and dramatic dialogue alongside you, spaceships doing battle across a laser-lit skyline, and a big bad boss alien that’s half-Bane and half-Darth Vader, speechifying as it robs you of your power. That opening sequence alone feels like more than anything the first game showed story-wise in its entirety.
The premise of depowering the Guardians, the gifted group tasked with defending the solar system from hostile forces, would have been an interesting setup for a game that’s not a blockbuster tentpole title. Like a lot of AAA action games, Destiny 2 at its core is a power fantasy. So it’s no surprise that this initial conflict for the player is resolved immediately. It wouldn’t be much of a high-octane adventure if you couldn’t access your supernatural abilities and wield an arsenal of guns and explosives and blades ASAP!
As for the rest of the non-player characters robbed of their Light, their doubts and vulnerabilities are relegated to small moments and aren’t explored past your early interactions with them. It’s a shame, really, as the plot would have felt more meaningful if it didn’t wrap up so cleanly and conveniently.
The campaign’s saving grace is that it has awesome set pieces sprinkled throughout the levels. You’ll be gawking at the expansive landscapes and elaborate interiors of the outer space worlds you go to, that is, when you’re not running and jumping around machine-gunning legions of baddies and flinging lightning storms or burning hammers at gigantic bosses.
Satisfying side activities
If you’re still hankering for bits of narrative to chew on, the whole new Adventures are meaty little side stories. These mini missions flesh out the NPCs of the level you’re in, and you also learn more about the Destiny universe. They take you to sections of the sprawling levels the campaign doesn’t lead you through.
Whether it’s crashing a demonic chanting Hive concert or preventing the Taken from assimilating the time-traveling Vex, you discover separate plot threads that weave into the bigger narrative tapestry of the series. Along with the many Lost Sectors hidden in every area that contain loot guarded by powerful enemies, the Adventures give you more reasons to explore.
Making your way to tackle these content, you’re likely to come across Public Events. These are live timed combat encounters with unique objectives that happen in public spaces. Since Destiny 2 is an always-online game, you’ll see other players roaming the areas doing their own thing. While story content is limited to three players partying up, anyone within proximity of an ongoing Public Event can seamlessly join the action. And boy are these events bursting with action.
Apart from just being a joy to play with their challenge tuned for multiple people, Public Events also dole out substantial rewards, especially when optional goals are accomplished, incentivizing participation. This leads to chaotic firefights that can then lead to impromptu coordinated firing squads against alien hordes. Blasting rockets at spider tanks and destroying mining drills in tandem with strangers is exciting with the unspoken camaraderie.
If you’re looking for something more mechanically and tactically demanding, Strikes and their Nightfall versions await you after you beat the campaign. These are equal to the length and scale of the biggest story missions, but surpass them in terms of complexity and difficulty. Such operations will have you running through cordoned off dungeons and arenas, completing tasks like hacking terminals or smashing magic crystals while fighting off waves of enemies, and culminating in multi-stage boss fights. Nightfalls are modified Strikes, adding layers like damage multipliers and time extensions for a more challenging experience.
While you can finish the campaign by yourself, Strikes and Nightfalls require teamwork. The former automatically groups you with two other players if you’re not already in a party of three. For the latter, you need to either find two people to join your group or start up Guided Games.
Guided Games lets you matchmake with players from a Clan. Clans are basically communities players can set up and join, making it easier for like-minded Guardians to help each other and gain rewards.
For the hardcore
Rounding out Destiny 2’s cooperative content is the Raid. It’s the biggest, most intricate, and most difficult mission in the game, needing six players actively communicating and playing specific roles to complete. It can take hours spread across numerous gaming sessions. Only the most dedicated gamers will finish it, as the coordination, time commitment, and skill it demands are leagues above everything else in the game. For those who can answer that call, it’s worth the effort to see its visual splendor, conquer its challenges, and forge bonds with friends and even total strangers.
Lastly, there are player-versus-player modes for those looking to test their mettle against fellow Guardians. In the Crucible, two teams of four face off in dedicated PVP maps, with different objectives to achieve victory. There’s a more relaxed Quick Play mode if you just want to fight other people. Competitive mode sets goals that ask for more teamwork, while the Trials of the Nine invites the best of the best with fixed match setups for less randomness and more skillful play.
Overall, it’s a much slower version of Destiny’s Crucible, with the smaller maps and teams encouraging methodical collaboration over individual ability.
Tying all of this content together is the drive to get loot. Stronger weapons, tougher armor, and just cooler looking gear; Destiny 2 showers you in loot no matter what you’re doing. The rate at which you get high-tier equipment is vastly increased from the first game. How you get better loot is way more streamlined too, cutting down the dizzying number of currencies and upgrade materials from Destiny to a more manageable number.
You’ll be reaching the upper limits of your power level so much faster, and doing so gives you access to endgame content earlier. Being locked out of Nightfalls and Raids in the first game because of the boring grind and poor loot drop rates has been completely remedied in this sequel.
The only glaring problem is how shaders, the color modifiers for your gear, are used up when you apply them. You can earn them through a slow drip-feed from just playing the game. However, it’s easy to get tempted to pay real money for the blind boxes containing these cosmetics. Options are welcome, but you’ll feel the effect of these microtransactions soon enough. When you start hesitating to customize your character, fearing that you’ll have to grind to find those shaders again, it just sucks.
Destiny 2 is a behemoth of a game. It’s chockful of content with more to come in the free updates and the two major expansions. Casual players will have more than enough to consume over 25 hours, while hardcore gamers can easily spend upwards of 50+ hours taking on recurring weekly challenges and optimizing their gear. Either way, it’s a great time that can be made all the more memorable with friends to play with.
Destiny 2 is out now on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, with a PC version coming out on October 24. PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold are necessary for 90 percent of the game.
SEE ALSO: 8 PS4 multimedia features you must try out
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Honkai: Star Rail to launch on April 26
All aboard the Astral Express
HoYoverse has announced April 26 as the official release date of upcoming space fantasy RPG Honkai: Star Rail.
The brand-new title will be available on the Epic Games Store, PC, Android, and iOS. The PlayStation version is currently under development.
Honkai: Star Rail takes gamers to a journey of the unknown. It has fantasy elements, myths, and legends integrated into a space sci-fi story. It will adapt an intuitive turn-based combat system as players explore a vast universe filled with cultures, landscape, and scenery.
The main storyline revolves around protagonist Stellaron, who travels the galaxy from the Herta Space Station to know the truth behind the Cancer of All Worlds.
Players will eventually encounter Jarilo-VI, where numerous dangers and conflicts are frozen beneath the snow, and silkpunk flagship Xianzhou Luofu where immortality gets introduced.
To get everyone ready, the Boarding Preparation Special Program is available to watch below.
The informative video aids players on how to make the most out of Star Rail Passes and Stellar Jade, as well as behind the scenes stories of the game.
Mobile Legends welcomes ITZY as ambassadors
Join the Harmonia stage now
Collaborations are nothing new for Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, having partnered with some of the biggest franchises and brands worldwide like Star Wars, Transformers, and more.
This time, the 5-on-5 MOBA is getting K-POP sensation ITZY to join its ALLSTAR MLBB Harmonia stage as global ambassadors. It will be the first time Mobile Legends is working alongside Korean artists as it has released an ALLSTAR-themed map called Harmonia.
To celebrate the collaboration, players may acquire exclusive ALLSTAR rewards and four brand-new hero skins upon logging in.
Be the superstar
Launching on March 31, the Purify Harmonia event will allow users to get exclusive ALLSTAR rewards amounting up to 1,999 diamonds, such as:
- ALLSTAR avatar border Shine!
- Atomic Pop
- Atomic Pop Spawn Effect
The four hero skins to be released periodically are the following:
- Miya “Atomic Pop”
- Eudora “Atomic Pop”
- Rafaela “Seraphic Selfie”
- Hanabi “Moonlit Ninja”
There will also be exclusive in-game ALLSTAR music tracks for players to listen to. The event will last until April 23, so there’s a lot of time to get going.
ITZY is a five-member group composed of Yeji, Lia, Ryujin, Chaeryeong, and Yuna. They debuted in 2019 with the single “Dalla Dalla”. The group has 42 music show trophies, along with 23 awards and counting.
Ubisoft pulls out of E3 2023
Will hold its own event
This is an important year for the annual E3 conference. After missing the past few years due to the pandemic, the gaming extravaganza is finally returning to an in-person event in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, it’s not exactly looking like a triumphant return to the big stage. In the months leading up to the event, several brands have reportedly pulled out from the event in favor of their own exclusive events. Today, it’s time to add Ubisoft to that list.
In a statement issued to VGC, Ubisoft has confirmed that it will not participate in the upcoming E3 2023. Instead, the company will hold its own Ubisoft Forward Live event on June 12, also in Los Angeles.
It’s an important year for Ubisoft. The publisher is slated to release Assassin’s Creed Mirage later this year. The upcoming title will reportedly pivot the series back to its stealth-focused roots. Meanwhile, the franchise also announced Assassin’s Creed Codename Red, an upcoming title set in feudal Japan, which has been a hotly anticipated setting since the franchise’s inception.
While Ubisoft has historically supported E3 in the past, this year marks the first departure from the main floor. However, the publisher is following in the footsteps of its contemporaries in the industry. Nintendo, Sony, and Xbox are also pulling out from the conference to hold their own events in the area.
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