Thoughts From A Destiny 2 Latecomer 

On my PlayStation 4, it’s still the late summer of 2017, because I’m in the early stages of Destiny 2. So far it’s both better and worse than I expected.

Some context:

I also waited a year to play the first Destiny, which meant I missed out on the Loot Cave, the first disappointing early expansions and something else about engrams of one colour decoding as items of an inferior colour. I must be remembering that last part wrong, because surely no one would have implemented such a silly system.

When I got to the first Destiny, I loved it. I was playing right after a big patch and right before the Taken King expansion that rehabilitated the game’s rep. I don’t play competitive multiplayer, but I spent dozens of hours running through that game’s PvE missions and quests and co-op strikes. I even did a couple of raids. Great game!

Waiting a year had gone well for me the first time, I figured I’d do the same thing in Destiny 2. It’s too early to say if I made the right choice again, because I’m still very early on. My character’s power level is a little over 100. I’ve cleared a few missions on Titan. I only have one exotic piece of gear and am mostly stocking green and blue class weapons.

Here’s a running tab of my observations as they arose for me in the past week, pro and con:

Liked - The Instant Nostalgia: One of my favourite things about Destiny 2 so far is how it began with some reminders for me about all the good times I had with Destiny 1. Here’s a sampling of the things it flashed before me when I finally booted the game up on August 30.

There was my colleague Kirk helping me through the end of one of the original game’s expansions...

There was the time some current and former Kotaku colleagues (and some other guy) ventured through the Vault of Glass. I have a vague memory of Kirk getting persnickety.

Then, there was the last major thing I did in the first game before largely putting it aside, though I did take it for one final spin in September 2017, by which time players had largely abandoned it.

Mixed feelings - The characters: I’ve liked most of the old and new characters in Destiny 2. I’m shocked I even remember most of the old ones, but they stuck and it helps that they are reintroduced well. There’s Cayde! There’s the guy Lance Reddick plays! That robot who sweeps! There’s the lady who I could buy ships from! The new sniper guy with the accent!

I’m just not into the Speaker. He’s boring, and he’s the main reminder for me about how bland a lot of Destiny’s main lore is: travellers this, darkness that, and a masked guy I can hardly care about strung up by a new villain who looks like an obese version of the 1980s Transformer Jetfire.

I quickly took a photo of this guy so I could upload it to our staff’s Destiny chatroom and voice my disdain.

Liked - The map and the new stuff in it: I’m a big fan of Destiny 2’s improved map and its abundance of clearly-marked treasure chests and Lost Sectors. Those Lost Sectors are little pockets of conflict that you won’t come upon without first finding their hidden entrances.

Your map shows the general area where a hidden entrance may be. Search and you may notice, say,a basement stairway in a building you’d otherwise run past. Try going down it. Once you find a Lost Sector, you’ll get about five or 10 minute’s worth of linear level design that leads to some loot. I’ve enjoyed these, so far.

Liked - Adventure missions: They’re smaller than story missions but bigger than Patrols. Adventure missions have sent me all over the first couple of planet maps I’ve unlocked in Destiny 2, giving me fun side quests that don’t feel integral to the main storyline but have helped the game world feel alive. I did one on Earth that had me trekking back through an area I’d cleared in a story mission, only this time the area was full of explosives and laser trip wires.

I first had to figure out how to get around them, then activate a teleporter, then teleport the explosives to a mountainside where enemies would be dropping in from their flightcraft, then watch as the traps mostly killed the bad guys, leaving me just a little mop-up to do at the end. I hope the game has a lot more of this.

My character, at the moment. She’s got some levelling to do.

Mixed feelings - A sense of constriction: This isn’t really the game’s fault, as best I can tell. If you start Destiny 2 and do the main and side missions the game assigns to you, you don’t get to see much of the early Earth and Titan maps. You’re not yet getting the vibe I enjoyed in Destiny 1 of vast, open battlefields with tons of things to do in them. I expect the game will open up more as I get through the main campaign. Kirk has assured me that that’s when Destiny 2 actually begins.

I do get a kick out of running into really high-level enemies, which I assume got added to the game as DLC and are far too tough for me now. They also limit where I can roam. On Saturday night as I veered a little off the beaten path on Titan, I ran into someone unkind called Hirak’s Familiar who was supposed be fought by players at power level 360.

I’m at 107. Needless to say, he killed me in one shot. After that, I steered around him. I had a similar encounter with a wandering high-level enemy when I started the first Destiny and enjoyed the eventual revenge I got on him when I leveled up. I’ll be back for you, Hirak’s Familiar.

Disliked - The new Shader system: In the first game, I enjoyed obtaining colour shaders that would allow me to match the gear with which I adorned my character. I experimented with lots of shaders in the first game, so I was excited to get some in Destiny 2.

Then I found out on Saturday that shaders in Destiny 2 are items with limited use and have to be applied manually to each piece of gear your character wears. Hoping I got that wrong, I texted Kirk.

I was, unfortunately, correct. My reply: “Wow. This is horrible ... what a downgrade from the last game.”

Liked - The Solarium: This area I just blasted my way through in Titan is one of the coolest areas I’ve seen in a Destiny game. It’s a huge arcology, sci-fi-mega-mall-looking thing. You get to it by shooting a hole in stained glass or something.

Disliked - Driving stuff: A truck-driving sequence briefly gave me final-level-of-Halo flashbacks. That’s a bad thing, by the way. Hoping there isn’t more of this.


Most Destiny 2 players are far, far past me. That’s fine. I had a great time playing as a latecomer to the first game and would joke to my colleagues that they beta-tested the game for me. I’m hoping for the same experience this time. So far, mostly so good, with just a few drawbacks.


Comments

    I installed the PS+ base copy, made it through four core missions, did probably three rounds of pvp and uninstalled it. I think my issue is that it doesn't feel like it adds anything to Destiny 1 and so everything feels like we have been there before; I get that some people are all about that kind of fameplay loop, but it frustrates me that it legit could have just been an expansion.

      You could pretty much say the same for sequels of almost any game.
      Plus if it was sold as an expansion it would have cost as much or more as it did being 'destiny 2', so its not like their is actually any difference. Except by going sequel they get to upgrade the game engine because they dont need to support xbox 360 and ps3 anymore.

        Except they didn't add a lot and the big take away when I look at reviews of not only the core game, but the expansions too is that the game has lost content variations.

        So yeah sure, maybe the idea of a sequep is to keep some semblence of the previous game, but destiny two doesn't add anything, it just replaced old content with new content that isn't particularly better.

          Base D2 had as much to do as D1 and its first few DLCs combined. The only thing that makes it seem less is you couldn't spend 1000 hours trying to get a 'god roll' on your gun because random rolls were gone. Many things about D2 were fucked but content amount was pretty damn good for $60

          So like every sequel ever?
          Thats what i dont get with this argument (which i seem to see often for destiny). Thats how sequels have always worked, you can release some DLC but eventually a sequel is best because its far easier to start again. Like how would the story of D2 work as a DLC for D1? it wouldnt, it changes the city, the tower and everything

            The argument is not that D2 should have been DLC but that it feels like glorified DLC. People wanted the best bits from Destiny 1 plus a bunch of new stuff, new classes, new races. It didn't really do that. Base D2 felt like base D1, ie a game that was going to milk you of all your money before it turned into what it should have been from the start.

              Sure they fucked up some things, but they improved others too
              It did have New classes (a couple), it had massive amounts of new stuff and new races honestly i can't say i wanted, they hadn't done nearly enough with the ones they already had.
              It was significantly better in most ways than base D1, it had many improvements and far more content. Yes it also fucked some things too. It lost a couple "features" (timesinks) that kept the D1 game being played for 100s of hours, but for the people that dont spend 500 hours in it that was great (i got a solid 120 or so and enjoyed it way more than D1, then another 100 or so after the 2 DLC).
              Again, it was basically no different to any other sequel in almost all these aspects you are talking about, its familiar but different.
              I guess it depends on your feelings towards excessive grind.

    All I know is that there’s no way in hell I’m buying a base edition of Destiny 3.

    They’ve been more or less giving away the base edition of Destiny 2 for months now and there’s no way to update to the expansion without pretty much paying for the whole game again. I enjoyed Destiny 2 but I’m not buying a full retail priced expansion that’s packaged with the full retail game I bought last year.

      all the quality of life changes are free. You arent paying for the whole base game again, you are paying for a huge DLC. PS Forsaken isnt full price, it is $60 not $100.

      .....dude. You can buy Forsaken on its own.

        And very likely the next five to ten expansions that cost just lightly less than a full game while only adding the bare minimum, but keep letting that massive corporate entity get away with murder.

          lol
          Where do you think a DLC costs $100? Or even $60?

            The dlc is $60, so I am failing to see your argument.

    Can't really disagree with that driving section - been playing this game since launch and the controls for the tank still annoy the hell out of me.

    I actually loved the driving part, was a great ti do something different and fun. I am a big fan of the series though and cant wait for the next dlc and in a year or so d3

      My disappointment with the driving parts wasn't the driving, but that those areas of the maps ended up being wasted. They ended up being used just for that main storyline, and very little else.

      It would have been nice if some of the other aspects of the games, whether they were patrols or adventures, let you revisit those areas more often. In the end they just weren't worth going to, so people didn't.

        That is true, there are some gorgeous areas unused. Another big problem is the world is so empty, the dreaming city is amazing with so much to explore but with no reason to explore but I guess that's always a problem with looter shooters and open world games

        If you're talking about the driving bit from the picture in the article that area is reused in Forsaken as part of a quest I wouldn't want to spoil.

          No, just in general. In the original game, there were a few driving parts, like the very last part of Titan where you're escaping. Was a great piece of the game, with a whole panorama opening up as you entered that last part of the mission.

          But the game never took you back unless you were replaying that specific mission (Utopia?), so in the end I thought it was wasted. And most of the other driving areas were similar - they took you through areas that were either not used again, or greatly underused.

          Tunnels in EDZ for example. They're there if you want to wander into them, and I think one or two things head in there, but it wasn't often. Plenty of things you do nearby in and around the crashed ship, but not in the tunnels.

          It was a fun part of the game I just think the areas could have been used more. Stick some achievements in them, a few lost sectors, some PQ's or even a boss or two. Just something to give them an ongoing purpose beyond the campaign.

        The revamped missions for the last event before Forsaken were pretty great in that they let you do some of the old missions but in gung-ho mode.

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