Since Bungie’s big presentation on Destiny 2 where they showed off a good chunk of gameplay, story information, and changes coming to Destiny in its sequel there have been issues raised about how things don’t seem different enough. Our own Anson Chan wrote about his feelings on what he calls “The Curse of Destiny 2’s Familiarity,” and the problems that he thinks Destiny 2 will have when it launches on September 8. After seeing all that Bungie put out in their presentation, it seems I’ve come to the polar opposite conclusion about Destiny 2: I think Bungie is going to show everyone how a sequel should be done.
Now, let me start off by saying I in no way think the original Destiny was a perfect game. It had it’s flaws to be sure, and if you asked my friends, who I played Destiny non stop with for the better part of a year, they’d tell you I was always one of the first to point out flaws in the game or nonsensical decisions by Bungie. All that said, when Destiny was at its best and firing on all cylinders, it was one of the best experiences in gaming I’ve had. Even if you dislike, or even hate, the game, you can probably agree (if you’re not just trying to troll) that the core mechanics of Destiny were fantastic. The gunplay was responsive and felt like it had real weight to it, the classes and subclasses each had exciting and fun to use abilities, the sound design made things come alive, and the visual design of the world itself had you wanting to know more about every interesting character, enemy, or location you discovered.
Not too long after launch, however, the cracks and problems started to appear. There was virtually no story to speak of in the main campaign, which could be completed in a few short hours, ending abruptly after supposedly defeating some great threat. Memes aplenty were made from the seemingly fourth wall breaking Exo Stranger commenting on how there was “no time to explain,” the lackluster voice acting by Peter Dinklage, and the Cryptarch who physically embodied the heavily RNG nature of the game. Not to mention, the Crucible was an unbalanced mess that was all the more shocking coming from the creators of Halo. Destiny had all the tools it needed, but Bungie kept wanting to use the edge of a flat head screwdriver for a Phillips head screw.
Thus began the tinkering. Week after week, Bungie had some small or large change they were implementing to the game to fix some problem or deal with some complaint. Certain weapon archetypes would be OP in the Crucible one week and basically pea shooters the next. With PvE elements, Bungie always seemed quick to fix things that gave players a bit of an advantage fast, but when players were disadvantaged, things were usually “working as intended.”
Despite all of those problems, the game itself was incredibly fun to play, and playing with friends only multiplied the fun. Strikes were a fun challenge (especially after the modifiers were added), but the Raids were where your true mettle was tested. The Vault of Glass will always be my favorite Destiny 1 Raid; it had interesting mechanics that required teamwork and coordination, lots of secrets to discover, and gave you a real sense of accomplishment upon completion. Then Bungie added the Trials of Osiris as a Raid level PvP offering; only the best could make it to the Lighthouse (or get carried there), which let non-Raiders have a challenging and unforgiving option. You could see Bungie already improving and showing they were listening to feedback in the last DLC, The Taken King, which added arguably more story than the main campaign and finally started giving the NPCs some actual character.
This all brings us to all the new information revealed for Destiny 2. Everything shown at the presentation was basically a direct response to criticisms against the original. We’re finally getting an epic story with exciting and entertaining cutscenes, big set piece scripted events during story missions (Ikora thrashing that Cabal ship), and dialogue from NPCs that gives them personality and lets us see their relationships with each other and us. We’re getting new subclasses for each of the three classes (hopefully more than just one, but we’ll have to wait and see) that add new mechanics and new strategy when playing with friends.
There will be four completely new worlds to explore, and with the Xbox 360 and PS3 no longer holding Bungie, back the maps should be much larger than in the original. They are also adding the new Adventures side quests and the Lost Sector dungeons with boss guarded treasure. Clans are being officially added to the game and Guided Games have been created to make it easier than ever to find a fireteam and make some new friends. There looks to be a bunch of new enemy types for each of the alien races (Cabal war dogs!) and the bosses look like they have new segmented health bars that, if i’m not mistaken from watching gameplay, might change up the bosses mechanics as their health lowers into the different segments. Not to mention that the bosses didn’t seem nearly as bullet spongey as before. The changes that we are seeing in the weapon slot system and the structure of PvP modes seem to indicate that Bungie is making a concerted effort to make sure the Crucible is balanced this time around.
Of course we’ll only get actually confirmation that everything is improving for Destiny 2 when it launches, but from everything Bungie has shown, it looks like they really listened to feedback from players. Destiny 2 looks to be everything you want from sequel: the same core with tons of improvements and refinements and big chunks of new content. Destiny was Bungie’s first foray into the FPS/RPG world and the sequel looks like they’ve started to hit their stride.
What do you think of what has been shown of Destiny 2 so far? Let us know in the comments below!