Destiny 2: First Impressions for a week thus far

It has been nearly a week since Destiny 2 launched and the experience has been exhilarating. I personally have a love and hate relationship with Destiny 1. It was only natural to be skeptical when Destiny 2 was announced. Despite all of that Destiny 1 remains to be one of the most memorable games that i have played. Bringing in my skepticism with me, i ran through Destiny 2 as i had done in the first game. So from here I will be breaking down my thoughts and impressions of the game into a few categories.

Story

Destiny 2 starts of pretty much where the first game left off. You are under the attack of the Cabal forces which destroyed the tower. Thus begins your journey to rebuild back the glory that it was as a guardian. The plot isn’t new. Anyone that has watched any super hero cartoons or Anime would definitely can see where the plot is heading. Despite all of that, it works for the game because there is a flow to follow. In comparison to Destiny 1 where the story was very convoluted and nothing seems to make any sense. As a hardcore Destiny player and one that also follows the lore tightly, I would say the story is lights ahead of improvement compared to the first game. I definitely give props to Bungie for making the effort.

In addition to that, the lore is also rather easy to pick up and ready. Gone are the days where everything needs to be read through Grimoire cards. The lores around Destiny 2 are scattered everywhere around the game. Exotic gears have their own piece of lore when you view it with the L2 button. Even some objects or places around each place can be scanned where your ghost will reveal a background story. It is not much but it gives much character and color when you truly dig deep into the story. There are even some text flavors on a certain weapon that pays tribute to Steve Job’s Iphone keynote.

I am also very happy that this time they put characters such as Zavala, Cayde-6, Ikora and even new faces like Hawthorne have heavy role in the storyline and how it shaped them as the story progresses. Each exists to segment the story into three sections, sending you from the EDZ to the moons Titan and Io and an all-new location, the Nessus, in your quest to rejoin them.

In short, Destiny 2’s story is worth paying attention for.

Graphics/UI

Ever since Bungie decided to drop the support on older gen consoles, the graphic focus has been amazing. The visuals in the game is so much crisp and vibrant. At first glance it may not seem all too different from the first game but upon closer inspection, the difference is astounding. The texture on the guns are more sharp and complex. The scratched metal on some guns are so detailed that it gives out a strong character to the weapons. This same goes to some of the armors where the little details adds up to those small visual cues that compliments the story of the weapon even further.

The user interface here is much more polished and sleek. I really like how the menu itself looks to beautiful to look at. I even took at least 10 mins to admire at my created guardian before i continued my mission. Other than that, the whole UI is also largely unchanged. The minimalist UI when on the ground shooting bad guys is back and that is what i personally loved about Destiny. It gives enough info for guardians to understand and at the same not giving too much to over clutter the screen. One of the few things that was good from the first game and Bungie kept them as they are. Kudos to them.

Game Mechanics

The game mechanics in Destiny 2 is pretty much the same. It is still in the core a point and shoot game. Going through the main campaign, undertaking quest, farming in Strikes and Crucible etc is largely the same roadmap all guardians has experience in the first game. One of the notable changes are the weapon slots. No longer there are the usual Primary, Secondary and Heavy but instead is has been replaced with Kinetic, Energy and Power. In an essence, there not much too different however it is the selection of weapons this time around that makes it even more interesting to play around. Kinetic is your usual normal selection, Energy is your elemental weapon while Power are weapons that are elemental but deals a lot more damage.

I find this a great change because i can finally do a personal set up for all kinds of situation. Double handcannon setup is now doable for me and I couldn’t be any happier than that. This is possible because Kinetic and Energy have almost the same type of weapons.

Nonetheless, it is hard not to talk about about Destiny without talking about its many complex progression systems. Bungie’s true success with the first game was artfully mixing elements of a shooter with the structure of a massively multiplayer role-playing game. And while the shooter side of the equation has always reigned supreme, it’s been balanced by a deep series of systems for upgrading weapons and armor, progressing in level, and collecting loot.

It is the RPG-esque progression element that got me hooked to Destiny. As mentioned earlier, Destiny 2 has change much of what made the first game a slog fest that many dreaded to even play it. It is now more simplified, easier to understand, and spread across all of the activities in the game, instead of leading players down paths of extreme repetition.

The core of the game remains intact. I still need to push to level 20 through experience points by killing enemies and completing missions as like any other RPGs, while trying to increase what Bungie is now calling a Power Level instead of Light Level. Still essentially work during The Taken King update. I was rather afraid it is going to be a boring grind fest but I was proven wrong. Gearing my guardian from head to toe while undertaking quest lines is now a fun factor to me.

I am extremely happy with these major challenges. I can’t wait to bounce back in to get more sweet loot from Public Events.

PvE

The PvE (Player vs Environment) is largely unchanged but with few good improvements. Firstly, the maps for each planet feels large and expansive. The routes from each area on a map less straight-forward hence it gives a more open world feel. The EDZ or European Dead Zone is the first map that the guardians get to venture in and that map alone feels huge.There are a few times i still need to heavily rely on marking an activity on the map to get me to where i need to be. It is a first for me and knowing how Destiny 1 was structured, this is indeed a very great change for me. Speaking of maps, Destiny 2 added a new feature where we can pull up the map of the whole area. I find this feature to be a very welcoming addition because of the substantial information that it gives.

As i mentioned before, i really love the fact that it allowed me to place a marker on an activity such as quests and Public Events so i can make my way there with ease. The Public Events themselves were big change for me. I was delighted to see that they even added a timer so that I know when it will start. No longer i need to check the timer through a external site to rely on – that itself is not even accurate as well. It is definitely a godsend that Bungie added this.

In addition to the Public Events, there are even requirements to meet in order to trigger a Heroic version of that particular Public Event. All this while i have been playing with a Destiny 1 mentality and when myself and few other guardians managed to trigger the Heroic, it was mind-blowing. After awhile, i find myself to be very addicted to play every Public Event that comes around. I am exceptionally pleased with the changes they did.

The Strikes in Destiny 2 mostly consist of missions that plays out the same as the campaign ones except with a few additional subtle differences. They still function pretty much the same as they did from Destiny 1. However, i feel it is less of a grind compared to the first game due to the fact that the enemies especially the boss is not as bullet-spongey as it was before. Nonetheless, the grind and staleness crept in on me after the 15th strike. I just couldn’t wait to get the whole strike done as quickly as possible. Yup, this is just like Destiny 1. What about the loot? best count on your RNG blessings.

Crucible

These part of destiny 2 is one of the most changed compared to many aspects of the game. Firstly, gone are the playlist of game modes like Control and Clash. Instead this time you have a choice between Quick Play and Competitive. The former is essentially is a mix up between different game modes consist of Control, Clash and Supremacy. Competitive on the other hand was a new experience for me. It has two modes, Survival and Countdown. Out of those two, I personally feel more at home on the latter. The mode was a total reminiscent to my Counter-Strike days. It is all about planting a bomb and defending it until it diffuses, or stopping the opposition from doing so. There are multiple points where you can plant the bomb, so both defending and attacking requires some strong coordination from your team.

In my opinion, Destiny 2’s multiplayer experience differs from its predecessor. The core takeaway from the first week of the Crucible is that Destiny 2’s multiplayer is more fair and balanced team shooter, promoting the kind of strategy and skill the original painfully overlooked or ignored. As a result, however, the Crucible has shifted away from a chaotic, free-for-all arcade-style experience and toward a more streamlined teamwork-based approach.

It is fun new approach especially for those that plays alot more with a fireteam but the new changes may hurt more for those who love to solo in their matches. The other most immediate change I took note was the switch to four-versus-four combat for all team game modes, a drastic shift from the original’s six-versus-six paradigm. The TTK(Time To Kill) has changed as well. It takes slightly longer to take down a guardian and many veteran guardians may need to take some getting used to.

All in all, as much I go solo on my PvP matches, the shift to a more team oriented approach is something i truly appreciative to Bungie. This approach allows more team unity and less chaotic like in the first game. The only thing left for me is to find myself a fireteam to be on the crucible more often.

Overall…for now

I am not entirely sure if is the Destiny fanboy in me but I truly find Destiny 2 to be rather addictive. The changes Bungie did has made the progression road a whole new experience for me. There’s still a lot I don’t know about Destiny 2. I am unsure what does the future hold for Destiny 2 but the overall experience thus far had been great. To me right now, the main concern for the game is how will Bungie going to do to sustain the interest of many others like myself.

I will be covering more of Destiny 2 has more contents are unlocked as time goes. There is much to be expected out of the raid once it drops this September 13th. I am also unclear how will Bungie this time address the end-game progression that has been a luck-based and randomized on the first game. The other feature that is yet to be released is Guided Games which from the sounds of Bungie, it seems to be a very ambitious plan.

The game is just out for almost a week, what positive  feedback I may have seen and even said in this post may still be the result of because the game is still new. However, the changes that Bungie has serious made gave me a glimmer of hope that things will indeed turn out for the better. So heres to the hope  to come that Destiny 2 will definitely keep on striving to fill the joy and excitement for guardians even further.

Our review for Destiny 2 will be out once the other content especially the raid is out. Stay tuned.

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