Giant Bomb Review

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Destiny 2 Review

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  • PS4
  • XONE

If you want a shooter that gives you more activities--and guns--than you know what to do with, Destiny 2 is your game.

The list of large and small ways Destiny 2 is a streamlined, better designed, and more rewarding game than its predecessor is probably a hundred lines long. To cut to the chase, this is a game that finally makes good--sometimes a little too good--on Bungie's big idea of blending its genre-leading console first-person shooting with a Diablo-style loot dispenser, and it's been a long time coming. Remember 2014, when the first Destiny's notoriously fractured storyline and aimless, unfulfilling endgame grind left a large portion of its player base feeling shortchanged? Bungie does. On both counts, it's clear in playing Destiny 2 that Bungie learned most of the right lessons from the turmoil of Destiny's debut, even as it feels like the studio also forgot some of what made Destiny unique along the way.

This guy is a little more mustache-twirling than Bungie usually traffics with.
This guy is a little more mustache-twirling than Bungie usually traffics with.

Destiny 2 certainly has a more coherent story than last time. The sequel turns the forgettable faction vendors from the first Destiny into living, breathing video game characters and casts them in a desperate fight for survival as a legion of particularly mean Cabal, the franchise's monstrous spacefaring version of the Roman Empire, shows up and kicks what's left of humanity out of its last refuge on Earth. These principal characters are scattered across the solar system as the Cabal busies itself stealing the god-like powers of the enigmatic giant space orb that makes Destiny possible, and you then spend a dozen-odd missions flying from moon to planetoid to capital spaceship and back, trying to recruit those faction vendors back into the fold so they can lead an assault on the Cabal occupation. In contrast to the nebulous mess of the original, Destiny 2's story is clearly presented and you never have to stop and scratch your head, wondering what you're doing and why. There are unique mission mechanics, fast-paced vehicle sequences, and a whole lot of enormity and spectacle that recall Bungie's best campaigns. It's epic and exciting and focused in a way the original Destiny wasn't.

At the same time, there's a distinct shift in tone from the first game. Where Destiny was austere to a fault, the sequel overcorrects with a cast that sometimes feels like it's made up entirely of comic relief (and not all of the jokes are very comical), and the plot turns on more trite video game clichés than I've come to expect from Bungie. The story revolves around a world-destroying super machine and a sneering one-note villain in a way that's a little too predictable, coming from a studio that's never really relied on things like mustache-twirling bad guys. Recall that the entire Halo series' long-running antagonist wasn't a single villain but a multi-species alien religious cult with a complex hierarchy and system of beliefs. The first Destiny struggled to even effectively explain who you were fighting against or what the stakes were, but I hoped for a little more than a vaguely generic bad guy who wants to blow everything up in the sequel.

There's only a handful of new enemies, but the old ones are still fun to shoot.
There's only a handful of new enemies, but the old ones are still fun to shoot.

For all the incoherence of its plot, Destiny managed to imply the outlines of a vastly grander world than what was taking place right in front of you. It was a world with numerous alien factions each with their own agendas, rituals, and social structures--even if you had to dig through digital trading cards on your phone to fully understand everything--all taking place against the crumbling interplanetary remains of humanity's most triumphant era. A couple of those alien factions feel like they're reduced to set dressing in Destiny 2, and with a few exceptions there's less interest in building intrigue around the mysteries of a fallen civilization. The first game struck a unique blend of tangible and mystical. Its combination of post-utopian science fiction and classical mythology created a specific atmosphere that fired the imagination, and its setting among our solar system's most familiar and yet unknowable locations served a function of wish fulfillment, as you rooted around the remains of a research collective on Venus or explored alien cathedrals hollowed out of the goddamn Moon. Destiny 2 makes a similar attempt, but comes up short. Of the game's four locations, one is essentially a glorified oil rig, and while another, Nessus, is technically a real planetoid way out in the far reaches, who had ever heard of it before this game? To some extent this is all a matter of taste; Destiny 2 trades breadth for focus, and that'll work better for some people, but it resulted in a less memorable experience for me. Bungie's storytelling has always been a little weird, but not much of Destiny 2 is as weird as the first game.

Having said all this, the conclusion of Destiny 2's campaign defied my expectations in some startling ways, and there's such an urgency to the last handful of missions and the world of Destiny is left so fundamentally revitalized after the last couple of hours that the ending did a little to relieve my relative disappointment with some of what had preceded it. Without getting too specific, the campaign leaves the world of Destiny in an exciting place, and sets up the franchise to deliver new stories in the future that are more in line with what I've come to expect from this series.

There's a good chance you'll actually want to stick around this time for those new stories to drop over the coming months and years. The single best thing I can say about Destiny 2 is that Bungie has finally found a way to fit all of the game's nuts and bolts together to create a loot shooter satisfying enough that the only reason to stop playing it is because you've run out of things to do. And there's a lot to do. In addition to the campaign, all the activities you expect from the first game return, from patrols and public events in the open world to three-player strikes, the competitive Crucible, and weekly rotations of ultra-hard Nightfall strikes and Trials of the Nine competitive matches. And then, of course, there's a post-game raid for six players, a grueling cooperative challenge that can take you a dozen hours to analyze, figure out, and actually defeat.

New public events and other activities can dump more loot on you than you can handle.
New public events and other activities can dump more loot on you than you can handle.

Sure, most of this stuff was featured in the first Destiny, but it's all been refreshed or improved here in significant ways. There are more types of public events now, and they all have optional heroic versions that are harder and yield more rewards (and are a challenge to unlock in their own right). Nightfalls now come with more inventive modifiers that dramatically change the way you play. The first game's Nightfalls merely increased various weapons' damage and forced you to restart the entire mission if your team wiped, leading you to play incredibly cautiously (or in my case, frequently not play at all). The new Nightfalls feature tight timers and rotating damage mechanics that require precise, coordinated, speedy play that's an exhilarating improvement on the plodding old version. The Crucible comes with a smattering of standard modes across multiple playlists, and while this sort of multiplayer with its player shields, high-flying jump jets, and all-powerful super abilities isn't for everyone, I've come to enjoy the smaller scale and more tactical nature of Destiny 2's multiplayer now that it's been reduced to four players. If nothing else, this makes it a lot easier to get a fireteam of three other people together to play with you, and a good fireteam with strong communication can really clean up in there.

The key to making Destiny 2's activities and character progression so much more seamless and rewarding than in the first game is in simplification. Bungie has thrown out all the esoteric nonsense from the first game, with its half-dozen different types of upgrade currencies and weird quest items and other concepts that some players understandably balked at. In place of all that, there's now a simple reputation system where each planet and each type of activity has a vendor associated with it, and anything you do on that planet or in that activity contributes to your reputation with that vendor. When the meter with a given vendor ticks over, you pick up another item package. Rinse and repeat as necessary. Whether you're running a ton of strikes, or playing Crucible endlessly, or hanging out with friends and casually popping off public events and looking for treasure chests in the European Dead Zone, you're earning rep that will translate into new gear sooner than later. And all of these activities are tied together with a challenge system that gives you even more goals to work for and results in even more gear on a daily basis, with a weekly set of "milestone" quests that guarantee you gear well above your level if you complete the requisite activities. The game has a way of making you feel like you're working toward three or four different goals at once. Where Destiny sometimes felt too stingy with its gear drops, especially in the endgame, you'll quickly have more loot in this game than you know what to do with.

Destiny 2 has some really stunning sights to see.
Destiny 2 has some really stunning sights to see.

Actually, that's the other thing that makes Destiny 2 work better: they upped the drop rates. A lot. You will not stop getting a steady stream of better gear right up till you're ready to tackle the endgame raid, and there are relatively easy ways to level beyond that. The elusive exotics--hand-crafted weapons and armor that were so rare in the first game Bungie added another item to increase your chances of seeing them--are now built-in quest rewards throughout the story and also drop at a startlingly fast pace. For the most part all this loot keeps the game humming along, and keeps the endorphines pumping steadily in your brain as you get new guns and armor at a steady clip. I can't believe I'm saying this, but at times it can instead feel like too much of a good thing, and I almost wished the game would pump the brakes a little. Some of the lower-level guns are quite fun to use, but during the early game you rarely use the same gun for more than an hour before you get something better and feel compelled to switch to the thing with the higher number. It doesn't always feel like a given loadout has time to breathe before you're shaking it up again.

The bigger problem with getting so much loot is that you can level right past some of the better content in Destiny 2 without realizing it. Bungie has included a new "adventure" category of missions scattered around each location, and these are well worth seeing. While the main campaign typically makes you feel like you just arrived at a new location before you're being whisked off to the next one, the adventure missions help to flesh out and develop the characters and goings-on in a specific place. Each one has unique voiceovers and little self-contained storylines, and many of them feature unique mechanics or take you to some really impressive-looking parts of each zone that you wouldn't necessarily run across otherwise. The problem is, the rewards for these missions are fixed and aren't especially valuable in light of all the other activities that yield gear much faster, so if you're doing a mix of Crucible, public events, and so forth along with the campaign, you can reach a point before you realize it where the adventures are no longer valuable from an upgrade perspective. It would have been nice to see these missions utilized in a way that feels more meaningful to your character progression, and I ended up solving this problem by, uh, starting a second character and making sure to step off the loot treadmill to stop and smell the roses once in a while. Though, if the arc of the first Destiny is any indication, there's a good chance Bungie will go in and find a way to draw more players into this sort of meaningful side content over time.

Destiny 2 adds a tremendous number of quality-of-life improvements that should be a huge relief for long-suffering fans of the first game. You can now travel directly from planet to planet, rather than having to sit through one loading screen to return to orbit, then another one to fly to a new location. Unidentified loot engrams now go into their own inventory bucket rather than cluttering up your gear slots, and in a why-didn't-they-think-of-this-before move, the game now takes all the gear you possess in your inventory and vault into account when it generates new loot for you, rather than forcing you to tediously equip your highest-value stuff every time you go to decode an engram. Public events now show up on zone maps complete with a little timer telling you exactly when they'll start. And clans, which were worse than useless in the first game, are now a brilliant way not just to organize activities with friendly players, but to collectively contribute to group goals. Clans level up based on everything their members do in the game, unlocking little buffs and bonuses along the way. And in perhaps the most player-friendly change in all of Destiny 2, every week that a single clan fireteam completes a tough challenge like a Nightfall, raid, or Trials run, every clan member gets a piece of high-value, rare loot. The new clan system is a brilliant way to get people together for pickup activities and so forth. It's entirely possible I've had more social interaction in two weeks of playing Destiny 2 than I've had in calendar 2017 to date, which I hope says more about what a good time this game is with friends than it does about me.

As always, the real point of Destiny is cool-looking guns.
As always, the real point of Destiny is cool-looking guns.

Perhaps the one mark on Destiny 2's record is its increased focus on microtransactions. The first game introduced paid cosmetic items and player emotes over time in a relatively inoffensive way, and that system returns here in an expanded capacity. There are way more and higher quality cosmetics than before, and you can actually earn a fair number of them for free just by playing the game (paying will only give you quite a few more of them faster). The one outrageous exception is the change to the shader system that previously let you dye all your gear the same color. On the upside, shaders can now be applied individually to each piece of armor, and also to every gun, sparrow, and ship in the game. On the downside, shaders are now single-use items that you'll need to grind to obtain more of... unless you pay real money to get them faster, and even then you may not get the ones you want. And this is in a game where you change gear constantly and will lose those shaders sooner than you'd like. It's a real shame to see Bungie regress a previously player-friendly customization system, seemingly in an effort to drive microtransactions.

It goes without saying that Destiny's core shooting remains among the absolute best available on a console, but it's worth noting that the game's three classes and their three subclasses have been redesigned from the ground up to give you more interesting and consistent gameplay options. In contrast to Destiny's confusing grid of ability bubbles, the subclass skill trees here are easily legible and are all split into two branches, each of which has a unifying theme. So if you want a gameplay style that revolves around getting aerial kills, or one that lets you recover health in multiple ways, or one that just lets you punch the hell out of everything, you can have that. The perks on a lot of exotic gear seem tailored to further enhance specific subclasses, and there's also a fairly clever (if slightly confusing) new gear mod system that lets you add even more buffs to weapon handling, ability recharge rates, and so forth on each piece of gear. You can even use gear mods to change out the damage type on elemental weapons. Speaking of weapons, the first game's primary/secondary/heavy system has given way to kinetic, energy, and power types. Now hand cannons and auto, scout, and pulse rifles can have elemental damage types and sit in both your first and second slots, letting you customize more thoroughly with weapon combinations you couldn't use before. Shotguns and sniper rifles now hang out in the power category along with rocket launchers and swords, which certainly makes them a less frequent annoyance in the Crucible, and the game seems to be more generous with power ammo in PVE activities, so you still get to use those weapons plenty there. Just about everything related to the combat in Destiny 2 feels more varied and thoughtful than it did in the first game.

The new zones aren't quite as memorable as those of the first game, but some of them still look awfully neat.
The new zones aren't quite as memorable as those of the first game, but some of them still look awfully neat.

It shouldn't be surprising to say the look and feel of Destiny 2 more than lives up to Bungie's considerable pedigree, but that doesn't diminish the sheer artistic accomplishment of the game. Even as I found some of the new planetary locations conceptually less interesting than those of the first Destiny, I also lost count of the times my jaw dropped open at some perfectly framed scene or elaborately lit tableau, especially in the raid and some of the strikes. There's an increase in both the size and detail of the game's environments over the first Destiny, probably owing to the focus on current console hardware this time around, and the second-to-last mission of the campaign in particular features some of the most breathtaking and larger-than-life imagery I can ever remember in a game. And while I sorely miss Marty O'Donnell's signature percussion and the game could use a few more french horns, the Destiny 2 score has grown on me considerably over a few dozen hours. There are some really memorable themes in here, and the inclusion of the Kronos Quartet gives a couple of dramatic scenes some real emotional oomph.

Like with any loot game, you'll eventually exhaust Destiny 2's content, but unlike the first Destiny, you'll likely feel a lot more satisfied when you do. The new raid, Leviathan, is much easier for new players to access in terms of gear requirements, and has an unexpected setting and some utterly wild visuals and moments, even though a couple of the encounters are infuriatingly inconsistent at the moment. Trials of the Nine has less stringent requirements than its incarnation in the first game as well, and if you play enough of it you might earn enough rep for an item or two even if you never manage to eke out seven consecutive wins. Bungie has also gotten better about communicating its roadmap for future content and is already teasing something called "Faction Rally" in the near future, and you can bet Iron Banner will worm its way back into the game some weekend soon. And this is all in advance of the first DLC pack coming in three months, which is rumored to contain an entire new planet to explore, provided you like this game enough to pay for more of it. That's the biggest success of this sequel: it's now good enough that you no longer need to make excuses about why you play so much Destiny. Destiny 2 may misstep in a couple of ways its predecessor didn't, but it also shores up its fundamentals so thoroughly that the future for Destiny fans looks bright indeed.

Brad Shoemaker on Google+

71 Comments

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chaser324

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chaser324  Moderator • 

This is a WIP draft of Brad's 2017 GOTY podcast filibuster.

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entwined82

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entwined82 • 

Great review, Brad. glad to see you're enjoying this game so much. I agree with most of the points you made, specifically leveling past some good loot was a little annoying. For anyone reading this, even at a higher power level (270+) don't automatically delete blue gear! There is good stuff still, even at end-game levels.

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NTM

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NTM • 

How long does the campaign take to complete?

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BetaMax

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Edited By BetaMax • 

D2: The Mighty Ducks

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SilverSaint

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Edited By SilverSaint • 

@ntm: Between I would say between 5-10 hours depending if you rush it or not. I mean doing every single sidequest on the first 3 planets along with multiple public events and getting access to the final area teleport points took me 7 hours. I then proceeded to beat the game within 2 hours going a bit slowly.

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nycnewyork

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nycnewyork • 

Its good, but, I think Brad has it right. Its a 4/5, good not amazing. I like mmos, but this isnt goty stuff, not this year. There are way to many insane good games this year.

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j913b

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Edited By j913b • 

This is a WIP draft of Brad's 2017 GOTY podcast filibuster.

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Ryan3370

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Ryan3370 • 

I think it's worth noting that even if you're a high power level and go back and do some of the really low level side missions, it will scale up the enemies and loot drops. It's not a waste of time and can be fun to see the things you missed

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Brad

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Brad  Staff • 

Great review, Brad. glad to see you're enjoying this game so much. I agree with most of the points you made, specifically leveling past some good loot was a little annoying. For anyone reading this, even at a higher power level (270+) don't automatically delete blue gear! There is good stuff still, even at end-game levels.

Haha yeah I'm still hanging on to a ~150 auto rifle called Lionheart that I like for Crucible.

@ryan3370 said:

I think it's worth noting that even if you're a high power level and go back and do some of the really low level side missions, it will scale up the enemies and loot drops. It's not a waste of time and can be fun to see the things you missed

Yeah, the main problem is once you're up around 265 and blue gear is no longer useful, which is where I was at when I finally stopped to catch my breath and realized how many of those missions I hadn't done (some of them don't even spawn till you finish the campaign). A few more late-game rewards tacked onto those missions would probably lead a lot more people to do them.

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hassun

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hassun • 

I only played a bit of vanilla Destiny 1 and thought it was insidious garbage. I'm also (thankfully) not afflicted with the terrible, better-judgement-clouding sickness that is Loot Lust.
I'm much more interested in characters, world(building), lore and story and it's disappointing to read that Destiny 2 seems to take almost as many steps back as it does forwards on these fronts.

...And yet I am still relatively curious about the second game. Especially since it's getting a PC release as well.

Mr Shoemaker, you might have convinced me to give this series a second chance.

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Klager

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Klager • 

@j913b said:
@chaser324 said:

This is a WIP draft of Brad's 2017 GOTY podcast filibuster.

2017 GOTY podcasts will be hours upon hours of headbutting filibusters between PUBG and Destiny 2, with Death of the Outsider, Prey, Divinity: Original Sin II, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and Cuphead falling by the wayside.

And I can't wait to skip this years Hottest Mess, if it's anything like 2016.

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Edited By two_socks • 

@brad: If you run into the Legendary Auto Rifle Scathelocke you can get rid of that Lionheart! Same perks and everything. Scathelocke can drop from the EDZ vendor when you get enough rep to rank up.

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MadBootsy

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MadBootsy • 

So, Brad's GOTY? It probably won't "win" during the Giant Bomb conversations, but I can already see it filling up a lot of time on those podcasts...

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Sweep  Moderator • 

@brad: One thing you didn't really write about was what percentage of the game you played alone or with a team. I played through the entire campaign solo and I think as a result I got a lot more out of the cutscenes and worldbuilding than had I'd been talking over them with a party of friends. I think the strikes are similarly much more engaging if you play through without being constantly distracted by someone in your party making dumb jokes or forgetting to turn off their dishwasher. At least for the first time, anyway. I know a lot of people talk about Destiny as a mindless shooter that you play in the background while doing/listening to something else, but the result is that you're less engaged with the game, in many cases before it's even been given a chance.

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damonkey64

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damonkey64 • 

I still think PUBG, if officially released, is THE contender for GOTY; however, if it does not, then I can see Destiny 2 possibly taking this year's crown. Also, due to the nature of OWMS (Online World Multiplayer Shooters) there are still 3 months of content/events to be rolled out in Destiny 2 yet to come, and that's pretty exciting. Fair review Brad. I always appreciate it when someone can love a game so much and still not just gush over it and see the areas where it could still be polished up.

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Dixavd

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Dixavd • 

Thanks for the review, Brad. This might be the first FPS I actually play to completion. I loved Destiny's style but never got around to playing the first. Now I'm willing to give the genre a go again, and after trying the PS4 version for a few hours, I'm looking forward to getting into the PC version.

I was surprised that the Shader desposability problem didn't come up into this review, though. You all seemed pretty annoyed about that on the Bombcast, why omit it here?

Also, I feel like this game is getting relatively little criticism for its tutorial and explanations to players. Originally I thought that it was my lack of genre knowledge which led me to lots of trouble when I played a few hours, but after hearing from others who've played it and didn't play Destiny 1, I feel Destiny 2 does an incredibly poor job explaining its mechanics. My sister played some Destiny 1, has finished the Destiny 2 campaign, and is levelling for the raid, yet today she was surprised when I brought up the weapon-element Vs Shield-element rule (since the game never explained that). Destiny 2 seems to require you get info from outside the game to know how it works or what parts of the game to focus on (your point on out-levelling some of the Adventure content being a prime example). Many people criticised Destiny 1 for being overly obtuse and putting the Grimoires outside of the game, yet I've seen very little push-back on Destiny 2 for effectively expecting you to spend a lot of time researching outside the game still to truly understand it (it's just mechanics this time and not story).

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chocolatebear

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Edited By chocolatebear • 

Sounds a lot like WoW currently and I'm totally fine with that. Waiting on pc release though.

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Edited By dgtlty • 

Alright, fine, I'll sink several hundreds of hours into Destiny 2. Just waiting for that hot PC release.

and the second-to-last mission of the campaign in particular features some of the most breathtaking and larger-than-life imagery I can ever remember in a game.

Brad "Hyperbole" Shoemaker strikes again.

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I like your review Brad. I am waiting for the PC release and would like to mention that Destiny 2 really brings the best of all worlds. When you discuss visuals and graphics, it brings an amazing set of contents that require ideally, up-to-date hardware and it's good to know that this game is requiring it. What would PC Gaming users do with really good graphic cards if there aren't games that need them?

Beyond that, it's competitive multiplayer is purely original because it brings aspects of great/good FPS and TPS video games together. Many of the video games are classic favorites such as our CoD: MW series, or Gears of War series--the guns even have cool sounds that are similar to upgraded weapons in CoD: Zombies.

Sure it doesn't bring the same competitive feel that PUBG brings but, it holds its pedestal as it brings a game to Console and PC users that "packs-a-punch".

It's truly exclusive/original in all aspects of a FPS for bringing legendary content--in a large frame and many large frames to come.

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sammo21 • 

Things I don't like:

1. Minor UI gripes to moderate UI gripes
2. Variety of Public Events feels minimal
3. Crucible weirdness
4. Nerfing of melee for some classes (Titan) but overpowered for others (Warlock)
5. There needs to be another level of Strikes besides the standard. Right now you either have strikes which quickly become pointless since all the loot from "factions" right now is random from filling up a bar. They act like actual factions did previously where you could still using vanguard marks to purchase specific guns to fill out your gear to become better raid/nightfall ready.
6. The app functionality is worse than with Destiny 1, which is odd.
7. Matchmaking has no real sense to it. Just people in a pot opposed to matching those of equal skill.

Things I love:
1. Practically everything else? I feel satisfied that I already have my moneys worth. I cannot say that about Destiny even 4-6 months in.

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csl316

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Edited By csl316 • 

The unfortunate thing about Destiny is that Halo 5 feels so much better to me. That game has better, faster shooting than anything Bungie's done, and Warzone Firefight made the co-op shoot outs in Destiny 2 feel kind of dull in comparison. Powerful weapons with varied vehicles made those battles feel like a huge set piece when playing with a full squad. They're obviously different games with different goals, but the moment to moment gameplay just doesn't stack up to what 343 crafted with 5.

Destiny 2 is a cool game though (when it's not crashing my Pro), so this score seems right.

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Wagrid

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Edited By Wagrid • 

Maaaaan, I'm really sad they completely shed the tone of Destiny 1. The problem with the austerity and seriousness of the first game was that it felt completely unearned by the thin storytelling; it didn't earn the gravitas by doing anything to make me care.

Seems like, instead of doing that work they, as Brad said, massively over-corrected instead. And that's a huge shame because Destiny 1's tone and world building done right as better than the 10,000th game this year to try aping Joss Whedon's writing style (because I feel like that's become the new cop out for games that want to present as having good writing without actually committing to storytelling).

Also, kind of bitter that they scrapped the grimoire instead of doing the sensible thing of integrating it in the game like literally every lore heavy game subsequent to Mass Effect has done.

That said, God, I can't wait to play this game and hang out on Titan as a pretty space sorcerer.

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Deathpooky

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Deathpooky • 

I find it surprising to hear that Brad didn't run more adventures before he was 265+. You can advance more quickly than Destiny 1 up to the point where adventures have nothing to offer in terms of rewards, but it's still at least a few days of grinding to get to that point. I've hit all the adventures (and the world quests) before I resorted to just running around doing public events. It might be less efficient than running in circles getting good drops every few minutes, but there's lots of good story and setpieces there.

But overall I agree it's almost loot overload for the most part. Any half-hour activity will give you more than a half-dozen items to sort through and at least a couple upgrades. Once you realize what all is there you can have four different sources of loot at any one time, with a couple sure to give you legendary items. They've really smartly layered on patrols, events, challenges, and all the little things in a zone and made it much more efficient to access and run all of those at once.

If I had one complaint, it's that they went with basically the Halo, chosen-one storyline for the campaign. It was good on its own, but it falls apart every time you walk out of a cutscene with characters talking about you as the sole guardian who can do everything into a zone filled with level 20 guardians blasting around. It's a common MMO problem, sure, but I feel like most MMO-type games handle stories better to account for the fact that you'll be one of many. But on its own merits the campaign is a lot of fun - basically a B-tier Halo campaign sandwiched in the rest of the Destiny content.

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forteexe21

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gwenners

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gwenners • 

Literally counting down the days for this to come out on PC. Hopefully the raid will be much more refined by then.

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CivilizedWorm

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CivilizedWorm  Online • 

Fell off of this game much faster than the first one. Slightly better Destiny is still just Destiny.

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TryenamyHero

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Edited By TryenamyHero • 

Just re-upped for my second year as a member last week, and I'm glad I can support content like this. A well written and thorough review.

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Sykdom

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Sykdom • 

Doing a separate PC review?

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Dryker

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Edited By Dryker • 

If this was Destiny 1 would Brad have given it 5 stars? Most of the criticisms seem to be comparisons to the first game.

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perfect34

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perfect34 • 

I could never get into Halo games even after forcing myself to finish Halo 2. I tried the Destiny 1 demo they had for PS4 back in the day and it just left me feeling bored out of my mind. Does anyone think I would enjoy Destiny 2 with all that being said?

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EricSmith

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EricSmith • 

The loot treadmill in this game kinda sucks. There are so few differences between guns that it barely feels like you are getting anything new. Especially when I hate hands cannons, sidearms, and fusion rifles. That really narrows down the guns I like using too scouts, autos, and SMGs.

Also, shotguns being a power weapon really sucks. They aren't powerful enough to justify the ammo rarity, so you're always better off taking something else. As a dude that constantly rocked a shotty in D1, that change sucks.

Overall I like be D2 a lot more, but this isn't an MMO, and it is a poor loot game. They are still struggling to find what this game is supposed to be, and it really shows.

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MichaelBach

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Nicely written, great review! I am playing solo and at the moment stuck at power level 269. All drops I get are 261, so I am not sure how to advance. If I get lucky and get a legendary armor mod that may do it. I can not get in to a guided raid because I need some sort of ticket I don't know what is. Besides that I am still having fun!

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Meanstreet

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Meanstreet • 

Destiny finally delivers, and all you had to do was buy it four times.

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soulcake

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soulcake • 

I really liked Destiny 2 to bad that after 30 hours off game play i hit the gear level cap ( no i am not gonna farm exotic engrams for a other 50 hours to get power level 300 ) i am 271 for people wondering.

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soulcake

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soulcake • 

@michaelbach: those tickets where gifted randomly so if you don't have one you have to wait for groupfinder to go out off beta witch really sucks IMO.

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Talon64

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Talon64 • 
@soulcake said:

I really liked Destiny 2 to bad that after 30 hours off game play i hit the gear level cap ( no i am not gonna farm exotic engrams for a other 50 hours to get power level 300 ) i am 271 for people wondering.

The way Destiny 2's loot progression works, the weekly milestones that get you "powerful gear" are what will raise the power level of the general engrams that'll drop or that you get from reputation vendors. It's one of the things they don't explain well at all, but it means you don't have to farm for exotic engrams to steadily improve your gear level.

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kid_gloves

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kid_gloves • 

Where Destiny was austere to a fault, the sequel overcorrects with a cast that sometimes feels like it's made up entirely of comic relief (and not all of the jokes are very comical), and the plot turns on more trite video game clichés than I've come to expect from Bungie.

I have heard this complaint a lot about Destiny 2's story, and I don't disagree that this is a little bit too often the case, but I don't get why people expect any different from Bungie storytelling. Too many snarky comic relief characters in a universe where they fail to adequately explain much is pretty much their entire modus operandi. If anything this game is a direct return to the sort of storytelling and characters they had during their Halo years which was always fine but very cliche.

I think maybe people haven't revisited the Bungie Halo games in a long while and don't quite remember that they are like this too.

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viking_funeral

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@klager: You forgot NieR: Automata getting the honorable 10th place mention as Alex passionately advocates for it, but no one else has put more than 5 hours into it and mostly proclaim, "Yeah, that sounds cool."

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Maluvin

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Maluvin • 

The loot treadmill in this game kinda sucks. There are so few differences between guns that it barely feels like you are getting anything new. Especially when I hate hands cannons, sidearms, and fusion rifles. That really narrows down the guns I like using too scouts, autos, and SMGs.

Also, shotguns being a power weapon really sucks. They aren't powerful enough to justify the ammo rarity, so you're always better off taking something else. As a dude that constantly rocked a shotty in D1, that change sucks.

Overall I like be D2 a lot more, but this isn't an MMO, and it is a poor loot game. They are still struggling to find what this game is supposed to be, and it really shows.

I'm wondering if the move of shotguns to power weapon slot is crucible related. While I personally learned how to deal with them there was a certain lethality to them in PvP that was disproportionate to the skill necessary to wield them in Destiny 1 IMO (but, yes, they were fun as hell to use). By moving them to the power slot they're not as much of a factor until the purple ammo stash counter ticks down.

They probably need to balance them more. Wonder if they'll wait to see how things look in PC PVP before doing so.

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vhold

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vhold • 

The thing I really wanted to like about Destiny was the idea of adhoc multiplayer co-op without any matchmaking, people just kind of went in and out of each others' worlds, with big events randomly occurring, sort of the only really good part of PVE MMOs, but with FPS.

It was a great idea, but they massively underutilized it, and far worse, pretty much threw the system away entirely once you beat the campaign and required a bunch of matchmaking. It seems like this game falls into the same pattern?

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Badfinger

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Edited By Badfinger • 

I disagree pretty fundamentally with Brad's concern about choice of location. Learning what a centaur planet was turned out to be much more exciting and interesting to me than going to the moon. Venus and Mercury ended up just being Places, as well. Really Bungie just picks a place they think would have a good backdrop for a skybox, and then builds whatever they want anyhow.

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DoctorSmirnoff

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For a site that doesn't generally trade too much in written content, that's a truly top class review... I couldn't care less for Destiny, but was compelled to read the whole piece. Bravo, sir.

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steveurkel

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steveurkel • 

Destiny 2 continues to steal quality of life changes from world of war craft and people compliment bungie on innovation

Bungie is one of the least innovative developers around and anyone who hasn't seen the destiny shit show for what it really is was lucky to miss out on the first game but you can still put lipstick on a pig and it's still a pig.

That said I'm buying this for pc because it does seem that their head is at least partially out of their asses now in comparison to the fist game.

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Brad

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Brad  Staff • 

@dgtlty said:

Alright, fine, I'll sink several hundreds of hours into Destiny 2. Just waiting for that hot PC release.

and the second-to-last mission of the campaign in particular features some of the most breathtaking and larger-than-life imagery I can ever remember in a game.

Brad "Hyperbole" Shoemaker strikes again.

You're gonna feel kinda silly when you actually play the game and see specifically what I'm talking about.

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malrock

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Edited By malrock • 

I couldn't agree more with this review, it's spot on. Like Brad, I almost wish they would turn down the legendary & exotic drops lol. In less than two weeks of playing I got over 20 exotic weapons & armor, at one point getting the same damn exotic helmet (I'm looking at you Nezarec's Sin!) three times in a row... As your North Carolina boy, send me a friend invite @brad

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druv

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druv • 

"YOU GAVE THE GAME FOUR STARS, HOW IS THAT THE BEST GAME OF THE YEAR???"

Ah, I can't wait!

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xenphilos

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xenphilos • 

@Brad It's weird reading this review after Kirk Hamilton's really long Kotaku one. I generally agree with your points about the gameplay, story, microtransactions, and other mechanics of the game, but Kirk's "review" captures what made Destiny one of the best games I've ever played for me. I met my current clan in Destiny 1 and they're now some of my closest friends. I'm actually going to a wedding later this year for one of them.

We finished most of the raid last night and completed 7 Trials wins the past weekend, all of which was the most fun cooperative gameplay experience I've had. I think it's that cooperative gameplay and awesome moments with friends that weighs Destiny 2 more favorably in my head, and it's the crucial element that more traditional reviews miss for many hardcore fans like me.

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timepants

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timepants • 

@brad said:
@dgtlty said:

Alright, fine, I'll sink several hundreds of hours into Destiny 2. Just waiting for that hot PC release.

and the second-to-last mission of the campaign in particular features some of the most breathtaking and larger-than-life imagery I can ever remember in a game.

Brad "Hyperbole" Shoemaker strikes again.

You're gonna feel kinda silly when you actually play the game and see specifically what I'm talking about.

Could you mention it in spoiler tags? I beat the game not too long ago, but I'm honestly having a hard time figuring out what you're referring to.