It would be easy to begin and end this review with the simple statement that Destiny 2 is just more Destiny. It wouldn’t be entirely inaccurate given how similar the sequel feels and plays when compared to its troubled predecessor. Despite flaws and glaring oversights at launch, the original Destiny eventually came to be a compelling RPG-shooter, propped up by the stellar gunplay that Bungie has built a reputation on. That Destiny 2 feels like the game vanilla Destiny wanted to be at launch isn’t a terribly bad result, it may just leave returning players looking for something more than another great shooter a little underwhelmed.
It begins with a hit of the reset button. The Tower, the social hub for Guardians in the first game, has been attacked and destroyed by the Red Legion – an aggressive faction of the Cabal who want to take the light of the Traveller for themselves. Players mount an almighty defense but are defeated and wiped of their powers, while the Vanguard are scattered across the universe. Destiny 2 is a story of reclaiming your powers and reuniting the Vanguard to defeat the Red Legion.
It’s far, far better than any story content in the original game, with a handful of fun and personable characters guiding you through half a dozen hours of campaign missions. It’s also not as blandly po-faced as the original, though takes you on a similar journey across moons and planets of the solar system blasting away the same handful of foes.
Still, the scripted missions are just the start. Destiny 2’s longevity comes from the Strikes, Public Events, Raids and PvP Crucible content that’ll challenge you the most and have you improving your guns and equipment over time. Some of these are brilliantly put together and show off the gorgeous environments Bungie has designed for you to stomp around in. The green and red fauna mixed with the shiny mechanical Vex constructs on Nessus is particularly arresting.
And then there’s the gunplay. It’s oh so tight. Effects, sound design, animations and feedback all converge to create something that never ceases to be satisfying. There’s the delightful bink every time you wear down an enemy’s elemental shield as it shatters around them, the glorious pop and fizz of smoke when you land precision shots on the chunky Cabal and thunderous eruptions from any of the game’s devastating power weapons. The examples are endless.
It makes the infamous Destiny grind that more compelling to stick with for the long haul. Tweaks to clans and improved loot rewards for completing missions and activities also makes it feel like you’re always working towards something new and exciting. For players coming to the series for the first time, it’ll grip from the off. And for those who have already sunk thousands of hours into the original? This isn’t going to feel fundamentally different, but you’ll be drawn into the hunt for exotic engrams all over again.
Release: Out Now
Formats: PS4, Xbox One