Return of the (Taken) King?
I think Destiny 2 just might win me back.
See, I’m a lapsed Destiny player. I enjoyed a lot about the first game — the gunplay, the universe, and the loot — but I bailed out after the campaign storyline concluded because I had no interest in grinding for another dozen-plus hours in order to even be eligible to participate in what is widely regarded as Destiny’s best content: the Raids.
Thus, I didn’t come into today’s toasty Destiny 2 gameplay reveal event pre-hyped (catch up on the many Destiny 2 trailers, videos, headlines and more right here). I was eager to see what Luke Smith and the team at Bungie have come up with, and indeed it was a strong showing. Bungie went to great lengths to emphasize and, as much as they were willing at this early stage, to demonstrate a commitment to both solo players and a more narratively engaging, better-told campaign. They also introduced a number of new events in the game world to keep players engaged and entertained.
Watch seven minutes of (someone else) playing Destiny 2 above.
Destiny 2 begins with the Traveler, still hovering above Earth’s Last City, under siege from Primus Ghaul and the Red Legion — a band of Cabal who believe they should be blessed with the Traveler’s powerful gifts, not the humans. The loud and fiery opening mission had a very Call of Duty vibe — that is to say, very chaotic and warlike. Our adventures will take us across four new moons this time before, I’d guess, bringing us back to Earth to finish the fight (on that note: call me crazy, but a lot of Destiny 2’s Earth-under-attack general storyline reminds me of Bungie’s own Halo 2).
After playing this slice for myself, I tried out a Strike. Set on Io, it was a vast, colorful, tense adventure with my two teammates that felt, I imagine, like a mini-Raid. More so than the solid Strikes in Destiny 1. To be quite clear: I was incredibly impressed by this Strike. It deftly mixed platforming, pedal-to-the-metal enemy encounters, teleporting across massive distances, and a phenomenal three-stage boss fight to finish it up. If the rest of Destiny 2’s strikes can match the intensity and artistic splendor of this one, then I’ll be one happy Guardian.
Check out a huge batch of campaign and gear screenshots above.
I was so happy with the Strike that not even my meek performance in Crucible PvP could ruin my mood. My team got wiped, and I was of little help to the cause, but I did get to play on PC, so I can report that it ran at a buttery smooth 60fps at 4K resolution, with mouse and keyboard controls that felt as if Destiny had been a PC game this whole time.
My big concern at this stage, however, circles back to the Raid. Bungie referred to it in singular form every time it was mentioned, so it would seem that Destiny 2 will only ship with one. But I’m more worried about playing it at all than how many there are. Smith and Bungie referred to the fact that only 50% of players ever participated in a Raid in the first Destiny, introducing a matchmaking solution as a means to help bump that figure up. But in this age of being spoiled by an unending flood of great games, I remain uninterested in spending hours and hours grinding my way to Raid eligibility after the campaign concludes. I wonder if Bungie will narrow (or even eliminate) the gap between the story’s end and the Raid’s beginning. I hope so, as everything else about Destiny 2 has me eager to resume my life as a Guardian.
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