Destiny 2 takes everything you know about the original game and molds it into a refined, sleek, and shiny new model. Having played it on PC, it’s hard not to be impressed with the additional attention to detail – be it the rain showering down on the tower or the fiery explosions erupting as you ignite a Cabal’s fuel tank. The sequel’s paramount goal, however, is to address the one major concern heard loudly and clearly through the halls of Bungie: crafting a better story. They’ve reinforced this goal at every turn, and our brief time playing through the “Homecoming” mission at the reveal event in May and again at E3 on PC has done more than enough to quell any concerns we had about the narrative.
All we know about the main storyline is what they told us at E3. They’ve given us just enough in terms of narrative to pique our interest and keep our desire for revenge against Ghaul at an all-time high. He took your light, leaving you vulnerable, definitely killed at least one or two defenseless people when he blew up all of our stuff, and worst of all… there are no signs of life from that purple ball in the tower. I will have my revenge.
But we’ve talked about that story in our E3 coverage and it’s been mentioned in the already-released Destiny 2 trailers. What wasn’t mentioned was how you’ll discover pieces of lore peppered throughout the worlds. For example, while exploring Nessus we were given a side quest from Failsafe to locate recordings left behind by early explorers. These describe their struggles after a crash landing and give us a peek at the early struggles humanity endured in Destiny as they ventured out into the unknown. It was a fantastic example of how Bungie is blending the narrative into the world instead of through grimoire cards to be deciphered from your mobile app or the website.
There are also flashpoints now. Promising Nightfall tier rewards, these are the new reason to get players running to a planet, excited to shoot monsters in the face. Each week a new destination will be selected as your main point of interest, and you’ll be rewarded for completing tasks like Public Events in our case. If you prefer PVP over the PVE experience there will also be a new Call to Arms event, though we were not told specifically about the rewards for its completion. These are all part of the new Milestone system pushing you in the right direction. Milestones are how you track your main goals in Destiny. From your map you can hit LT/R2 to see all of the available missions up for grabs and a clear outline of what you can expect for their completion. It’s all about making the path to progression clearer because after all, the gear game is what Destiny is really about!
On that note we don’t know many specifics, but there will be a light game in some form for Destiny 2. It should be noted that when we played, Bungie made it clear that they were still finalizing the exact details about how the climb works this time around. We do know that engrams drop, allowing you to collect new gear and grow your guardian, but beyond that they were vague. With engrams returning you’ll still need someone to decrypt them and that will be done in the new social space “The Farm.” Tyra Karn survived the Cabal assault as well as a few other staples from the tower like the Postmaster, a new Vault and the soccer ball and fully scored soccer field. One big difference is how the social space feels more alive. It will not remain stagnant. As you advance the story new characters will enter such as the elusive Hawthorne, among others, and there will be mini-events allowing you to get special effects to stand out from the rest. The space can also hold 26 players at once, 10 more than the original social spaces – meaning it’s going to be a very happening spot.
Finally there’s PVP, probably the largest revamp of all in Destiny 2. Now that your weapon loadout consists of a kinetic primary, elemental secondary of the same weapon type, and power weapons that can one hit kill but require heavy ammunition, the game is already vastly changed. Add to that making all PVP modes 4v4 and you’re going to have a unique experience from Destiny 1. That seems frightening at first, but Bungie’s made some smart alterations to keep the events feeling frantic and forcing teamwork while retaining that Destiny feel of excitement with each match. It’s hard for me to go into specifics without spoiling our reveals later this month, but I can say that the new Control feels much faster paced, but still familiar with the tweaks they’ve made retaining moments like those epic multi-kills you love from the original version. More on that July 10th. Then we’ll be back on July 25th with a new mode that had all of us smiling ear to ear.
To be frank, I had concerns about Destiny 2 before getting more time with it. Was it going to feel too “same-y”? Would I really be ready for another gear game of climbing the light ladder to the top? After getting more hands on time the answer for me is yes. It’s because of the new systems and clear progression paths Bungie has worked out with the Milestone system. The lore I always wanted to love, but hated fiddling through the Grimiore system to read have been brought in-game giving players more reasons to care about the world. The PVP revamp teaches me how to be a better player by leveling the weapon playing field and teaching us to work together. If you liked the original then you’re probably already on board for the sequel, and if you were a lapsed player from vanilla due to the grind, Bungie seems to be making the path to max level a brighter one so you can see the end of the tunnel.
If you like Destiny 2 don’t forget to check out our Fireteam Chat podcast dedicated entirely to chatting about the latest happenings in the game. The show posts every Friday at 5pm with new insight, details, and sometimes exclusive interviews with the developer all about Destiny. It can be found on YouTube, iTunes, and all major podcast platforms.