The original Destiny was the first game that Bungie published after parting ways with the Halo series and Microsoft. I wasn’t initially interested due to it being a multiplayer online type deal but I was convinced to give the alpha a go by my mates and actually really enjoyed it so I picked the game up when it was initially released. Though not all of them did, the utter bastards.
Anyway, the game was really fun to play, Bungie knows how to make a decent looking shooter with weapons that feel like they’ve got some proper oomph to them. They also had something of a coup by recruiting Peter Dinklage, who had become a pretty big star thanks to Game of Thrones, to voice a character in the game. Actually, the voice cast was pretty good generally as you had people like Bill Nighy and Lance Reddick in there as well as Bungie favourite Nathan Fillion, who’d been in a couple of Halo games.
Where it went a bit wrong was that the story was a bit of a mess, it essentially forced you to play with people and the initial game felt a bit empty once you were done with it, and Dinklage’s performance wasn’t exactly well received. As it happens points 1 and 3 were largely sorted with the release of the Taken King DLC which had a fairly decent story and re-cast Dinklage with veteran voice actor Nolan North. The re-casting was down to availability as Bungie obviously wanted the host character to appear on an ongoing basis so it made sense to get someone in that wasn’t tied down to a huge TV show.
The flaws with the story and the seeming necessity to team up, plus the fact that it sometimes felt like a bit of a grind to level up meant that I avoided Destiny 2 when it was initially released as I couldn’t be doing with the hassle of it again. I wouldn’t be tempted until the tail end of 2018 when the base game was put on the PlayStation Plus offering, so I downloaded to have a little go and it turned out I loved it so I waited for a deal to come up on a version that included all the DLC as this was out at this point.
The Xbox got a pretty decent deal in November so I picked up the complete collection and got started, the rationale for the Xbox version was one mate already had the game. This coupled with a weird quirk where my mate owning my old Xbox somehow results in him getting any game I buy digitally meant that it was the option to go for, as in theory that was two people I could potentially adventure with if needed.
Firing the game up and linking it to my Bungie account it turned out that I couldn’t port my character from my PS4 game profile so the character that was created in Destiny 1 was no more which was a little disappointing. Seemed a bit odd to me but I guess it’s the same rationale as there not being crossplay to allow gamers on different formats to play together. Still, it was a clean slate of sorts so there was that, even if I did create an identical looking character.
The plus side of starting again was that I got to play through the campaign missions I’d already done again which wasn’t a hardship. The second mission where you travel out of the city is possibly one of my favourite levels in a game ever and it’s accompanied by an amazing piece of music (the tack is called Journey should you wish to have a listen). The early missions obviously recognise that your character was a bit of an arsekicker by the end of the first game so it essentially has to nerf you, which it does in a pretty cool way in my opinion.
Speaking of the soundtrack longtime Bungie composer Marty O’Donnell is out (somewhat acrimoniously to read about) and Michael Salvatori takes over, though he’d worked on previous Halo games and Destiny so he’s not a newcomer. The soundtrack, including for the various DLCs is excellent and some of the tracks are suitably epic in scope to add to the atmosphere of what’s happening in the game, and it works too. I like the soundtrack so much I’ve bought myself the ones for the base game and the Forsaken DLC.
The story itself is a significant upgrade on the base game of the prequel, it feels a lot more focussed and there’s a definitive goal in place for you to work towards. It definitely made me want to keep playing it that’s for sure. The DLCs also have solid narratives, the Osiris and Warmind ones aren’t spectacular but do open up some interesting possibilities for the future whereas Forsaken is a surprisingly effective revenge tale.
What’s especially nice is that the game doesn’t force you to play the campaign with other people if you don’t want to, every one of the main missions is doable alone. And there is loads to do outside of the story too. I checked progress a week or so ago and I was up to 84 hours and I’d been nowhere near the dedicated multiplayer game types. I’ve done the main game, 2 of the DLC and I’m nearly done with Forsaken but I’ve spent a lot of time exploring and doing public events.
I’ve also had the opportunity to play a little with my mates and I have to say ordinarily I think I’d be a little frustrated at having to go back over old levels but actually, it’s quite nice to be able to go back over the levels as they’re well designed. It’s also quite satisfying to be helping your mates level up and get better gear because you’re levelled up enough to act as something of a bullet sponge for the bad guys and also help them do the public events and the exploring. I’m definitely looking forward to more sessions playing with my mates.
At the time of writing, I’m up to 94 hours played which seems ridiculous to me, that’s the sort of time I’d spend on an RPG like Skyrim rather than a first-person shooter. I’d suggest that’s a testament to the quality of the game as it’s a game that I’m happy to keep coming back to, I’ve even ventured into the multiplayer game modes to varying levels of success which is impressive considering I’d intended to avoid like the plague, it helps that it doesn’t force me to actually talk to people to be fair.
The Crucible is pretty much player versus player, there are different game modes but essentially you’re on a team and trying to score more points than the opposing team and the scoring of points usually involves the killing said opposition. It’s fun and frustrating in equal measure. The game tries to keep things relatively even but there are people who are just excellent and have a cracking weapon on top of that. I’m essentially horseshit thus far but I’m improving a little each time I play.
The Gambit mode is essentially a firefight mode where you’re in a team trying to kill waves of enemies to generate motes which you then deposit. Once you have enough deposited you spawn a boss which you need to kill and the opposition team do the same and first to kill their boss winds the round and first to 2 rounds wins the game. The spanner in the works is that each team can put blockers in place to stop depositing until they’re removed and also teleport onto the opposition map and cause havoc by trying to kill the other team. It’s hectic and difficult but also fun and incredibly satisfying when you win.
What’s nice is that there still seems to be a decent user base so there are usually people around to join in on the public events and the multiplayer game. I think that Bungie has done a decent job adding content and making sure there’s a good variety of things to see and do. It also helps that you don’t have scenarios like in other multiplayer games where other people can just spend their time griefing you and ruining the experience of that particular play session.
I definitely feel like I made the right call being a late adopter here, Bungie has had the time to ensure that there’s a decent amount of content and also that they’ve gradually fine-tuned the game. It’s also nice that it doesn’t feel like I’ve jumped on at the point where people are leaving the servers to go and play something else. Yeah ok, it gives me a disadvantage for the multiplayer stuff as there are people who are miles better than me but that feels like a small price to pay.
It’s definitely something I’ll likely do again for this type of game, this is the reason I’ve not been near Anthem or Fallout 76 as yet, and to be fair I still may not. It’s also going to be interesting to see what the future is for Destiny 2 seeing as Bungie have now split from Activision, will they continue to add to it or will we be seeing Destiny 3 in the not too distant future. If it’s the latter then barring some kind of epic base game I’ll likely be adopting late again, though I’m definitely going to be tempted to get it day 1.