*This hands on impression attempts to be as story spoiler free as possible*
“It is not in the stats to hold our Destiny, but in ourselves.” – William Shakespeare
I know, I know… it isn’t quite “That wizard is from the Moon”, but I still think William has a real shot at success so I wanted to drop him some indie love. Support his site.
Full disclosure, I am not the FPS guy of our group. I enjoy the few that I get into but I don’t CoD, I don’t Halo, nor do I PlayerUnknown. But I did find a certain pull from the new “Shared World Shooter” games making their way like Destiny and Division. In fact, I invested many hours into both. I invested in Destiny day 1. I invested 100’s of hours and I invested actual money (had to have the latest dance step). I got pulled into Iron Banner every time it made its way to the Tower and fully ranked it each time.
So to return to Destiny was very natural for me. And I loved it! I immediately threw on my old Hunter garb and went right back into things, so let’s start with that. As I am sure you already know, you get to play the Homecoming mission they showed earlier at E3 where the Tower, and the Traveler, are under attack. You are fully equipped and leveled so are at your peak. I do love that in addition to your standard skill set, you can also play around with and equip some of the newer ones: Sentinel, Dawnblade, and Arcstriker. Making your way from hanger to Tower Watch to Tower North, it brought back so much familiarity but my favorite part of all this was seeing previously and criminally underused assets getting actual screen time in a meaningful way. Zavala, Cayde, Ikora, Shaxx, even Amanda Holliday all had actual screen presence rather than simply sitting at a table and giving quests. This gives me a lot of hope just for the story alone.
You are forced to play this solo scene before being able to access the Strike or Crucible levels, so after this I went to an old friend… the Strike. Just like before, it throws you into the loading screen as you find two more willing Guardians. I was completely impressed with this Strike as it actually involved some thought. Granted, two play through’s and you now know the ways to avoid the majority of the confrontation but I was completely impressed with it. It might have added to it that our third backed out after failing on the boss the first time so it was up to a silent random and myself to figure it out on our own and to keep attempting it; getting closer and closer to victory each time. The boss arena would go through many different stages making it feel more like a raid boss than the strike bosses of the first game. By the time I played again later that evening (with our fellow West Coast representative, Jordan), the strategy was down and sound. The only downfall here is the boss itself seemed like a re-skinned Atheon and even down to it’s name, Protheon.
Next up, my main MP of choice: Control in the Crucible. While this isn’t a new mode for Destiny 2, it was nice to get right back into my favorite and loving every minute of it, even the losses. It puts you on a Vex world playing classic Control matches. A is already yours, C is theirs, B is up for grabs. Nothing much to add to this since Bungie nailed it the first go around. It definitely has some refinement, but mostly is everything you loved from the first game. I will say that after playing a full clan and getting absolutely owned, communication is much more important now due to the more intimate 4v4 fireteam size.
The other Crucible style was called Countdown. The objective is there are two locations to attack or to defend. One team being that attacker and one tasked with defense. There is no re-spawning and the only way is to be revived by a team mate. The attackers need to arm and detonate a bomb at one of the locations while the defenders need to prepare for either being the target. I like it, but with it being 4v4, it mostly just came down to death match anyway.
Game play was fantastic across all four sections of play. Not a single drop, no noticeable tearing, jumping or glitching. Matchmaking went smoothly and quickly. This was as smooth a beta as I have played and I jumped in right at their 1pm EST launch as well at peak hours where PST and EST gaming hours line up.
Is this Destiny 1.5? Is this Destiny 2.0? It doesn’t matter. It is more Destiny and it is improved Destiny in every facet that it could be. Yes, we are going to have the game piecemeal’d to us and there is no escaping that, but I am now excited for each taste.