Grant Stoner | Staff Writer
My brief time spent with the original Destiny culminated in such an unpleasant experience that I questioned my sanity for spending $60 on an unpolished, empty game. Naturally, I held some warranted reservations for the sequel. Thankfully, Destiny 2 is nothing short of incredible, consistently amazing me with its engaging gameplay.
Developed by Bungie, best known for creating the Halo series, Destiny 2 vastly improves where its predecessor faltered. A compelling story, lovable characters and more than enough content to satisfy gamers comprises this entertaining title. I’ve only had this game for roughly one week, and I’ve already played for over 25 hours.
Beginning with the campaign, Destiny 2 tasks Guardians with defending the Traveler, a floating moon-like entity all-too-familiar to Destiny veterans. However, unlike the first game, the sequel consistently pits players against the Cabal faction, led by Dominus Ghaul. Aside from amusing me through a liberal use of ancient Roman-styled names, I loved that my character’s fight with the Cabal served a purpose. Within every mission, across four beautifully designed worlds, I found myself becoming invested with reclaiming the Traveler. My only complaint during the relatively short campaign would be that players are unable to adequately see Ghaul develop as the main villain. As soon as he becomes interesting, his screen time ceases.
Thankfully, the supporting cast successfully bolsters the story, saving the plot from Ghaul’s shortcomings. As players progress, they are introduced to three Vanguard Guardians who spearhead the main assault on the Cabal. The Titan Commander Zavala (voiced by Lance Reddick), the Warlock Ikora Rey (Gina Torres) and, arguably my favorite of the trio, Cayde-6, the Hunter (Nathan Fillion). Each character lends their own distinct personalities to the campaign, further adding a sense of immersion to the story. Zavala commands the battlefield like a true warrior, while Cayde-6 consistently delivers hilarious sarcastic quips.
From a gameplay perspective, Destiny 2 is the epitome of a first-person-shooter experience. The gunplay is fantastic, with each pull of the trigger being tight, regardless of your weapon of choice. Destiny 2 offers a plethora of firearms, from auto rifles to grenade launchers, allowing Guardians to carry unique arsenals into the varying adventures, patrols, strikes and raids. However, the ultimate goal is to consistently increase your power level, meaning that players should never become too attached to specific pieces of equipment. It’s perfectly reasonable for me to prefer auto rifles, yet I’m always on the lookout for a stronger gun. I rarely found myself hesitating to equip a different gun, especially if it meant that my power level would rise.
While I absolutely adore this game, I found myself unable to overlook a glaring oversight. Destiny 2 features a wide range of accessibility options for disabled gamers. Subtitles, colorblind modes and, of course, the ability to (almost) fully customize controls are welcomed additions. I have no problems with activating my abilities, accessing my inventory or successfully eliminating my enemies. Yet, I am unable to effectively perform a crucial feature within the game: I cannot customize the “Dismantle” key.
Acquiring loot is the ultimate goal for this title. As a result, my Guardian’s inventory fills up at a relatively quick rate. Players are encouraged to dismantle unnecessary gear, clearing up space, while also allowing them to gather weapon parts for unlocking even more gear. Bungie mapped this feature to the “F” key without providing an alternative. Therefore, I need assistance to completely clear out my inventory every few hours. This is not only a burden for my teammates, who are required to wait as I find help, but also for whatever poor soul I sucker into jamming the “F” key on my keyboard. It’s frustrating to say the least.
Despite my inability to fully play this game, Destiny 2 has certainly become one of my favorite first-person-shooters within my vast library. While the story needs polishing, the core mechanics, coupled with the incredible voice acting make for an unforgettable experience. Consistently outfitting my Guardian to be the best Warlock in the galaxy has become an addictive process, making me eager to launch into space whenever I find the time.