Destiny 2 Beta Impressions: The Better Not Better Breakdown

Destiny 2 has a lot of ground to cover when it launches later this year, mainly due to the launch of the original game. Destiny, at launch, was pretty barebones to say the least, the variety was seriously lacking, and the story/cutscenes/voice acting was fucking boring. This also all came from the company that brought us Halo, which has got some of gaming’s most memorable characters, music, and stories of all time. Sure, Destiny got better with the expansions, but a lot of people had already paid full price for a game that just didn’t feel complete.

I spent some time with the Destiny 2 beta this past week and my bar is now set much higher for the game than it previously was. I truly think that Bungie learned from their mistakes in the first game and are crafting a game that’s better (for the most part). Let’s talk about what’s gotten better, and what hasn’t since the first game.

Better: Story, Characters, The Whole Intro

The opening to Destiny was lukewarm at best, you got a quick little intro to what happened before you start controlling your guardian. It’s all done in a rather lame presentation-style cutscene, rather than a full-blown cutscene showing battles, life forming on Venus, you know, the cool stuff that we wanted to see. All of that stuff can be read about on your grimoire cards, of course (yawn), but we should have been able to see that in the intro!

In Destiny 2, we get an incredible opening cutscene showing Zavala, Ikora Rey, and Cayde-6 meeting to discuss satellite signals going out all over the place. Comms start to get cut off a a storm swells around the Tower, and then Zavala finally sees it, a Cabal fleet bearing down on the city. Rockets and missiles swarm the Guardians and Zavala protects everyone with his Super move in a pretty badass stunt. We then cut to our Guardian and his/her ghost flying back to the tower after presumably some routine mission. Nobody has any idea what’s going on because comms are cut off, and no one can see what’s happening from the outside because of the storm. They break through the clouds and see what’s going on and spring into action, which is where you take control. You barge through the burning ruins of the Last City, mowing down the Cabal soldiers that get in your way. The whole first mission kicks ass from start to finish, and establishes one hell of a villain right at the end. This blows the first game out of the water.

Better: Player Interaction Within Missions

In the first Destiny, you could see the occasional player milling about, killing stuff (unless you invited friends to explore with you). When you played missions, though, and you got into the nitty gritty parts of each mission, you didn’t really see anyone anymore. It was just you and droves of enemies for 10-15 minutes.

In Destiny 2, you are by yourself still, for the most part, but for certain objectives, random players help each other out, and it kicks ass! One such objective is helping Zavala defend the center of the Tower from three waves of Cabal forces, and when you start this objective, you enter an area that other players will also appear in! You help your fellow guardians complete the objective and then move on to the next part of the mission. It’s only a small segment in the beta, but I’m assuming that this will be a regular thing in each mission in the full game. It feels nice to be reminded even while playing the campaign alone, that your fellow guardians are around to help, and it’s a great way to meet other players in a way you might not normally!

Not Better: Re-packaging Super Moves

Let’s be real, guys, Dawnblade is the same as the Dawnhammer, but you float around instead of run around. That shit is just lazy, and uninventive, we could do so much better! We could have incorporated a new element into the game like ice or something, I don’t know. The Arcstrider is nearly the same as the Arcblade, I know that the Hunter is supposed to be acrobatic, but they didn’t even switch the element of the super, nothing. Nova Bomb is literally the same exact thing as it was before which isn’t bad because they didn’t try to re-lable it, so it isn’t insulting. The one truly new super move that I really liked was the new Sentinel Shield. I will dub this the “Captain America” super move because that’s essentially what it is, and I quite like it. You can smack people in the face with it, throw it, and blow projectiles with it, I love it.

Better: Giving Us New Class Abilities To Use

Every subclass has got two new class abilities for us to use, on top of our grenades and melee attacks. It’s awesome to see a brand new mechanic brought into the game, and every class has fairly unique ones to use. Whether it be a quick dodge for a Hunter or a Healing Well for a warlock, these really bring a new angle to PvE and PvP gameplay. My only hope is that in the full game, each subclass has its own set of abilities, rather than just every class. Either that, or add some more with expansions to the game, whatever it may be, I want more of this.

Better: Strike Bosses Aren’t Just Bullet Sponges

The one Strike that was available in the beta was actually quite fun and varied, The Inverted Spire was fun as hell. Most of the enemies involved were the Vex, with some Cabal thrown in for good measure. There’s a very cinematic part where you’re fighting inside a giant mining site with huge mining drills spinning around, which kill you if you touch them. You’re constantly trying to take out enemies and dance around the drills so that you don’t get smeared all over the walls. The final boss was my favorite part, though, because it sort of defied my expectations.

The first quarter or so of the fight is very bullet-spongey and similar to a lot of the bosses from the first game. The boss looks as though it runs away for a moment, but then the floor disappears and you plummet into a circular, multi-tier arena. The boss warps into the middle, and switches back and forth between two styles of attacks. One that causes the floor to burst into flame, and the other is a machine gun, meanwhile, enemies warp into the arena around you constantly. The two different types of attacks and constant reinforcements spice up the battle a lot and present direct and environmental danger at all times. The last phase has you drop into  another dilapidated arena while the boss trudges around the outside of it, firing in at you and your allies. Finally, his head explodes before his last bit of health runs out and he starts running around the arena like a madman trying to shoot and stomp you out one last time. When you bring him down, you get to loot a chest, get your rewards, and that’s the end of the mission. It was a great start to the strikes in Destiny 2, and I look forward to seeing more missions like this one.

Not Better: Different Races Still Don’t Seem to Change Anything

I’m not asking for Skyrim-level stuff here, with tons of different races with all kinds of different passives. There’s still only three races, Human, Awoken, and Exo, it would be cool to see something unique about each of them. Slight resistances to certain elements, maybe, or the ability to use less materials when upgrading equipment, something like that. It’s not like it’s a deal-breaker or anything, and most people probably don’t even think about it, but it seems like something that could be done. There’s plenty of lore available to justify each race having special advantages and disadvantages over each other.

Better: No More Grimoire Cards

Okay, so this isn’t a new announcement, but it’s worth mentioning here. No more Grimoire Cards, no more trying to explain major lore and plot points through a phone app. Fuck Grimoire Cards.

Better: It Just Feels Better

Destiny 2 feels snappier than the first game. The SMG weapon-type, being able to have two rifles, two hand cannons, etc. Some abilities and supers from the first game, like the Striker super have been updated to reflect a quickened pace in gameplay. Rather than just one big smash attack, it’s a brief power-up that allows you to devastate groups with repeated ground pounds. Bosses and sub-bosses don’t take forever to kill like they used to, and there isn’t as much… fluff or padding as there used to be. Of course, we only got to play one mission and one strike, plus the Crucible, but I remember the Destiny beta, it wasn’t nearly as fast-paced or exciting as this. I think that Destiny 2 is the result of all of our complaints from the first game being mostly fixed. I’m extremely excited to see where this goes and see what the full game is like, it almost makes me want to pre-order it finally.

Let us know what you thought about the beta down below and tell us if you’re as excited for the full game as we are at Entertainment Buddha!


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Tags : Destiny 2
Nathaniel Smyth

The author Nathaniel Smyth

Born and raised in Plymouth, NH, Nat has been gaming since he was 3 starting on his brother’s Sega Genesis, all the way up to the Xbox One. Well rounded in a range of game genres from beat-em-ups to shooters, to role-playing-games, and more, he’s had a passion for all things gaming as long as he’s been able to hold a controller. While busy with school, sports, working, he still finds time to sit down, play, read up on the latest news, and hunt for deals on new and classic games.