Cameron knows what he loves. Witches, animated ducks and a strong burly female protagonist. When he isn't effortlessly defending Dragon Age II he is bothering either his husband or one of his many fur children.
Xbox One, PS4, PC
September 6, 2017
So we’ve discussed gameplay and story, but for any fan of Destiny the story is merely the beginning — almost like a very cinematic trailer. Following the events of your final showdown with Ghaul you’ll open up the end game content. Some of this will be very familiar now. While there are new things to do it is mainly about getting yourself “Raid ready” by increasing your power level with new and interesting gear.
Your new social space that you will unlock, while being a visual delight, will offer vendors and quest givers that you will be able to raise your reputation with to unlock gear. This includes the ability to replay story missions and take on new weekly “Milestones”. Meanwhile your vendor in each of the sandbox worlds will give you a new quest line that culminate in the juiciest of loot – an exotic weapon.
Crucible, the player versus player component, is a great way to gear up and also just challenge yourself. This has probably seen one of the more significant overhauls from the original instalment. Teams have been shrunk down to four players per side and is now split into two playlists — quick play and competitive.
The 4v4 shakeup was something that at first I wasn’t to thrilled about. Destiny 1 was the game that convinced me that I actually wasn’t that bad at PVP content, up until that point I hadn’t been convinced. I had enjoyed the hectic gameplay that came with the 6v6 and didn’t think I could enjoy this smaller pool of players. I was wrong. The entire feel of the game is different, matches are far more personal and each interaction with an enemy is extremely tactical.
Having everyone’s super clearly displayed along the top also helps in raise your anxiety as you try to figure out if it’s worth pushing on that warlock or if they’ll get you with the pointy end of a flaming sword if your not careful. This also means you need to be more tactical when deploying your super. Heavy will also drop more often but picking it up is only for one character who will be called out for friends and foes for not picking it up, but where you picked it up as well. As we learn the maps the name of your zone is always clearly labelled on the top of the screen making call outs for help or enemy locations much easier, once you know where “The Pipe” actually is on the map.
“Control, Supremacy and Clash are unfortunately the only returns modes. This means that the Free-For-All Rumble or the faux sport Rift modes wont be joining us for now.”
In terms of modes you have two playlists and currently each playlist has a handful of modes. The first you’ll encounter will be quick play which is a much more casual encounter and while team work helps it doesn’t make or break the game. Control, Supremacy and Clash are unfortunately the only returns modes. This means that the Free-For-All Rumble or the faux sport Rift modes wont be joining us for now. Control is the same, control the point, but you now no longer get a faster capture for having multiple guardians on one point so be sure to not all stand in a clump ready for a hurtling Titan to wipe you all out. Clash meanwhile is your basic team death match with a score to hit. Lastly Supremacy sees you killing enemies and collecting both their dropped crests and the crests of felled enemies to deny your enemies their points, killing means little here and it’s all about getting that sparkly bounty — please remember that guardians!
Competitive however will be where you will find the newest additions to the crucible. While we still have Trials of the Nine, which seems like it will play like Trials of Osiris on its way this is very much a team focused playlist in a lighter take on trials. Survival gives your team a shared pool of eight revives and the name of the game means everything, survive longer than your enemies, once your health pool is gone and you die then that is it you are out for the round. Countdown however is where I’ve found the most fun. First round place your charge and defend it, the second round you will be trying to figure out which point the charge will be set and you’ll be trying to stop it from being set or disarming it. These games require teamwork, teams that don’t communicate, die.
While the new modes are heaps of fun it is a double edge sword that they only exist in a playlist now. On one hand you aren’t able to pick your favourite crucible mode and stick with that, on the other it means no mode is being favoured over others. The Crucible has never felt more balanced and each round got my heart pumping more than Destiny 1 ever did, it’s very exciting and I can’t wait for Trials of the Nine and Iron Banner to begin to see how things play out there.
Strikes have returned but much like The Crucible have been regulated to a playlist. While in Destiny 1 you almost always played through the playlist past initially trying each different strike having these only available in a playlist did mean I didn’t see one of the strikes for about three days — this is understandably frustrating. Once you’re in the Strike with your three person fire team though the strikes have now added a few more mechanics to mix up gameplay. My favourite strike, The Pyramidion, features some amazing moments involving moving laser grids that are just amazingly funny but also visually pleasing. Bosses usually throw in an extra mechanic to mix up gameplay, which adds a bit more challenge then just look down sights and fire. While the strikes aren’t reinventing gameplay gone are basic bullet sponge bosses, each one has stages to it’s final fight that are different for each Strike.
Destiny 2 has made a big focus on its community angle as well with the improvement on the existing Clan system. Previously clans did exist in the game but had very little effect on anything outside of showing allegiance to a group. You would need to log into the Destiny website and go through a convoluted process to join the clans group before joining the clan. Gone are those antiquated days and instead the system has been streamlined into an in game menu that helps bring the clans into a much more prevalent space. Now as your clan plays together you’ll earn Clan XP for certain events, which will unlock buffs as your clan levels up. At the same time if you complete certain activities with half or more of the team comprised of your clan you’ll unlock a special engram pickup for your entire clan.
Clans are a great addition to the series; it has really helped build a feeling of camaraderie and rewards people for playing together. As I’ve said before I have made some great friends through Destiny and the game is only strengthened by its focus on community. My partner and I even admin an Australian LGBTI Clan, The Roaring Commandos, and if you’re on PS4 and looking for a place to feel welcomed you are more than welcome to look us up — I can guarantee this game is much more fun when playing with friendly people.
And you will need friends when you take on things like the Nightfall strike. A weekly chosen Strike with modifiers specifically chosen for that encounter. The first week saw a real shake up to how the Nightfall plays. Dropping in with 11 minutes on the timer every kill would reward your team with an extra 2 second on the clock, mix this with Prism which would mean that after a short while a random element is given a boost against enemies while all others do lower damage. This means you really have to be tactical about when to fight and rack up some extra seconds, and when to jump on your sparrow, which you’ve finally unlocked at the end of the game, and speed past that high level enemy who just isn’t worth your precious time. It’s stressful to say the least and I’m excited to see what other modifiers will occur in future weeks.
Lastly there is the return of micro transactions, and there has been a little bit of scandal around this already. I am here to tell you that Tess Everis does not make the game Pay to Win. Tess has been a staple in Destiny since around year 2 and has always been a much loved and hated character. Previously offering cosmetic loot boxes for real world money she never had an impact on gameplay. However in Destiny 2 Tess now sells mods alongside her emotes, shaders and some of the most ostentatious armour sets I’ve ever seen on a Warlock. Mods work how you think they would, you can equip one to a weapon or armour for stats boosts, better handling, improved recharge rates — everything you’d expect.
The thing with this though is that, yes, you can pay to receive these loot box engrams you are still paying for only a chance to receive them. However once you hit the level 20 cap you will continue to receive XP. While normally filling your XP meter again previously would grant you a mote of light, now you are rewarded with a Bright Engram — one of Tess’ loot boxes. This means that just by playing the game you do have the chance to unlock everything she has on offer. While I still am not happy about the existence of micro transactions in this franchise I still think this is a better system then the first instalment of Destiny.
While there has also been a huge talk about how the shader system has changed, now being a consumable item that will only effect on item at a time, I haven’t had that much of a problem with it to date. Shaders drop on a regular basis and I’ve already got three pages of them, it does mean I can’t just switch shaders based on my mood for the day – but I don’t feel tied down to never use a shader. I think once people just let go and indulge in the shaders they have the sooner they just won’t mind anymore.
When it comes to the end game Destiny 2 hasn’t reinvented the wheel and it feels a little but more like classic Destiny. This is not a bad thing though, original Destiny was strongest in end game and Destiny 2 seems to have a few more things planned to keep things changing from week to week. With the Leviathan Raid now live my Raid team are preparing to launch ourselves into the mix. Once we’ve had chance to get our teeth into that I’ll be touching on it and where I think the game is going as a whole. So be warned, from here on out there will be SPOILERS!