I have been umming and ahhing over writing this at all for number of reasons. I don't enjoy bashing away at the effort put in by so many people at Bungie, and of course there are plenty of people that absolutely enjoy what has been put in front of them, in the form of Destiny 2. However, it's fair to say that I am more than just slightly irked by it. I do still play it, so this may come across as a little hypocritical, but the flaws are real whether we ignore them or not.
It was with some reluctance I pre-ordered Destiny 2. Not the silly, micro-paymenty bundle version, just the game. I have looked forward to Bungie fixing all the things that they spectularly botched in Destiny 1 with each subsequent DLC, such as multiple changes to levelling mechanisms, irrelevance of raid gear sets and ridiculous phasing out of hard-earned Year 1 gear. Through Destiny 1, I have met a motley crew of clan mates, even before clans were part of the game. We played together, excelling at times, as well as being comically bad at other times.
So, bearing in mind I wanted Bungie, like a lover who's let you down, to make it all right and good again - like it was when we first knew each other - I approached Destiny 2 with hope in my heart. That hope has been crushed, kicked into the gutter and then stomped with a siva boot - and here's why:
1. Story (spoiler alert)
Wow. Talk about a let down. So, the traveller gets attacked, everyone is caught unawares, the enemy cuts through all the defences and all the guardians like a hot legendary sword through butter, and yes - you will then reclaim the lot. OK, not the most far fetched scenario as far as the game world goes, but come on, surely you could have done better than that. There was no need to literally raze everything to the ground, nor does it explain in even the slightest way why previous planets are no longer accessible. Except Earth is, but the previous sector is unavailable. Small matter of continuity if you will.
2. Story playthrough
Actually, this bit, if you ignore the over-long period where you have to crawl around without your ghost, is not that bad. Story-wise, as you can guess, I have found myself skipping through it and not being immersed at all, however, there is certainly some innovation with fights, as much as fighting exactly the same foes as in Destiny 1 allows for. Which is a nice segway to the next point.
We have managed to get a sequel that has missed an opportunity to introduce a much needed new foe to the game, even though new planets have finally arrived. If you consider that the Taken are basically the laziest excuse for a new enemy possible (a negative of existing, original, at-Destiny-1-launch mobs basically), there has been no innovation on this front. Nada. Zilch. Well, except for few new weapons for existing mobs.
4. End game levelling
We are all used to a grind-fest at some point, however, levelling plateaus are tedious at best, and annoying at worst. As it has been documented already, being 285 or 305 means very little unless you just want to max out because you do. Incentives are just generally not there. With introduction of Powerful Gear, I now have to wait for new Milestones in order to level up, artificially stretching the time elapsed for the max light level to be hit. This is presumably designed this way in order to provide an illusion of game longevity, but sadly doesn't address the end game issues that Destiny 1 had.
5. Character and weapon configuration
What the hell happened here? Dumbed down in line with everything else? I can basically choose one of two builds for my character as opposed to having an actual choice? And no, having those silly weapon and armour modifiers are not a suitable substitute for being able to craft your own character build, and to make the character suit your playing style. A side note to this issue, as a Warlock main, a Void build is pretty much unplayable and largely pointless now. This used to be my main build in Destiny 1. Weapon levelling is gone, and with it the choice and power that it gave you. An unnecessary change for the worse.
While on the subject of weapons, where have machine-guns gone? Have they uninvented themselves in the Destiny 2 universe? Moving (nerfed) shotguns into a power slot also doesn't do anything for the game, quite the contrary. Linear fusion rifles get as much use as a bacon factory in Saudi Arabia, however grenade launchers are a decent addition.
Oh boy. No offence to anyone, but this is barely playable. No, not the game mechanics. They are largely fine. Not even the game modes, they are largely enjoyable, however, we have now been forced into 4v4 where there was 6v6 before. This is presumably due to some ridiculous aspirations with regards to e-gaming or inability to matchmake six people. There is no other explanation for this move. The experience has suffered for this. So, if you have gone with your clan mates to do a raid (still needs six people), when you come out and fancy a bit of Iron Banner, you end up needing to kick two out, so you can go and do some PvP. Ridiculous.
On top of that, you can no longer choose what you want to play either. I personally enjoy the Capture the Flag game mode as it generally involves some need for strategy and coordination. It usually takes more than simply running around shooting everything in sight. No can do in Destiny 2. You will play whatever randomness we choose to throw at you! If someone drops out of your team - fear not, they will NOT be replaced, and yes, if you are in one of the game modes where it will take another 15 minutes for you to get defeated (now that 25 per cent of your team is missing), well, consider that a character building exercise.
Finally, games are now much more standoffish, and rely on scout rifles largely, with a bit of auto rifle action. Given distribution of weapons, and change to kinetic, energy and power slots and types of weapons available, I can't remember last time anyone sniped, or used a shotty to kill anyone. It is predictably boring fight between people with scouts, autorifles and rocket launchers, apart from few crazy cats sporting a sword. Duller, and more predictable all around.
Why is anyone waiting to get connected to Destiny servers two years on from original release? What, my dear Bungie folks, did you not think that is of some importance at least? Getting disconnected? Badger, baboon, whatever cutesy error names you give us, I expect a solid connection to the supposed AAA game servers. You should have had enough practice with Destiny 1, where it was excusable, in a way it isn't with a sequel.
And whilst we are at it, why do I have to press a button to connect to the game, after I have started the game? Can you not just auto-log in players to the character selection screen, meaning I can go and make a cup of tea, whilst waiting for the slothful connectivity to sort itself out?
This whole talk of MMO/not-an-MMO is the long and short of irrelevant. Still no LFG, still no easy way to talk to someone next to you in the tower. Whilst you have been able to make your excuses with 'console peasants', did you seriously expect the 'PC Master Race' to just accept lack of chat functions? I mean, yes, great, we have clans, woohoo. It's an equivalent of Apple introducing copy and paste to their phones and hailing it revolutionary. Except, that gamers tend to be a more discerning audience, and will be more vocal. Overall interaction in the game is poor.
There is also a lot of people pointing to the wealth of content in the game. Like adventures? Meditations? What is the point? Replaying it to get some blue drops? No thanks. I have done it once, or it is simply not attractive enough. I may as well go and replay Horizon Zero Dawn.
I think it's probably best I draw the line here. There are plenty of good bits to the game, but Destiny 2 feels, at the very best, like a large, if completely disconnected Destiny 1 DLC, and I am not sure that it warrants number 2 at all. If you have not played Desinty 1, I think this will be great for you, unless you expect an MMO experience. If you have played Destiny 1, and expect some improvement, I'd say save your money, or at the very least, don't have an expectation that the game has longevity. It could have been made by Ubisoft.
If you are a total fan boy, then you will get largely more of the same, and you may or may not like it, but will likely get used to it. If like me, you like playing with the same bunch of people, and this is one game that we all play, well, you won't have much choice but to log in, and try and keep your bitching to the minimum, or at least be self aware enough not to take offence if people tell you to shut up.
AltChar score: disappointing 7/10