Destiny 2 Diary: A Game and Universe That Finally Lives up to Its Potential

To say Destiny 2 is a Taken-King-level improvement over its predecessor is an understatement.

In my first few hours with the game, I’ve managed to do things I only dreamed of doing in the original Destiny. If the rest of the experience holds up, and the content can stay just plentiful enough for the first expansion to arrive, we may finally have the Destiny game we’ve wanted since the original’s launch in 2014.

Here’s what I’m loving so far.

The Campaign

This is the space shooter campaign we’ve been itching for since Bungie departed Microsoft and left the Halo series behind. Destiny’s universe has been loaded with interesting lore and great characters for years; unfortunately, no campaigns/story missions ever capitalized.

Destiny 2 is delivering story in a big, big way. The campaign doesn’t feel tacked on to a first-person shooter as it did in the previous game. The two feel intertwined. If you like cutscenes, dialogue, and environments that feel alive, my first few hours of Destiny 2 indicate we’re getting them in truckloads.

In fact, one early part of the game — where you’re in complete control of the character — has you shooting nothing at all. Instead, you’re enticed by the story to move forward as the fallout of the Cabal’s attack on the Tower takes place around you.

It’s a stunning departure from the original game, which seemed so focused on the shooting aspect of gameplay that it gave nearly every mission a “shoot waves of enemies while Ghost opens a door” section.

I can’t wait to jump back in.

The Weapons & Supers

I played a fair amount of July’s beta and feel our first taste of the Destiny 2 experience might have actually done the game a disservice. I’m growing fond of the energy slot and find myself leaning on it quite often whenever a shielded enemy presents itself. I was a hater when it came to the beta’s submachine gun, but I’m now starting to see where the gun fits into play, replacing the slow-firing, harder-hitting Suros-Regime-style auto rifles of year 1 (while auto rifles in D2 spray bullets at a fast clip but don’t have a lot of stability).

I still have yet to experience many of the weapons. At last glance, I hadn’t managed to acquire a single scout rifle or pulse rifle, and my only power weapons have been a sniper rifle, shotgun, and grenade launcher. But since I’m still moving through the campaign, I’m starting to believe this is part of the game’s design — an effort by Bungie to make players experiment with more weapon types. I have no problem with that.

And supers — I think every Guardian can agree that supers are markedly better than they were in this summer’s beta. They build up more quickly and seem to deal more damage. They’re game changers that can instantly turn the tide of a fight when you’re outnumbered, and truly feel “super”, as they should.

The User Interface

The first time you pull up your Ghost and warp from one planet to another — no orbit required — you’re going to wonder how you ever did without it. You’ll also wonder: how much time did I waste in orbit during Destiny 1?

On top of that, Destiny 2 adds an in-game map that allows you to “track” destinations to missions and other world activities, and much cleaner and easier-to-understand character and inventory screens. Bungie paid attention to the little things this time around and it shows.

The Show Goes On

I’ll be jumping back into the game tonight and will continue to add more thoughts as I progress through the campaign, try my luck in PvP, and learn more about how the in-game economy works. Stay tuned.

 

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Shawn Farner

Shawn Farner writes about technology and gaming all around the Web. He also creates online content for businesses.