Humanity needs my help. What are the odds? Civilisation can’t seem to go to the letterbox without interstellar aliens showing up and trying to destroy everything. As luck would have it though, Earth is crawling with sci-fi magic pseudo knights ready to shoot or hit mankind’s problems away. I have been chosen, just like everyone else. It’s my destiny.
Last week Bungie introduced a free trial of Destiny 2. In it players have access to two zones, the European Dead Zone and Titan, to run about and explore. They can also level their character until they reach level eight, where experience will cease to be collected. However, should the player purchase the game they can continue using their free trial character.
Up until this point I had had no experience with Destiny. The first game had come and gone without me ever touching the trial, or even reading any of the lore. So, coming into Destiny 2 was a complete fresh start. Time to wow me, Bungie!
Having played the first three entries in the Halo franchise, the Destiny 2 controls instantly felt familiar. If Bungie only learnt one thing from creating the Halo series, it’s how to implement some really fluid and natural feeling controls.
Gun control is really responsive, each weapon acts slightly differently, and there is reason to experiment with how each one handles to find those that suit your play style. I quickly fell into a favourite set of weapon types, the auto rifle and shotgun combination.
Assessing and equipping items is quite straight forward. Each has an overall power rating as well as details on applicable characteristics. I found it quite quick to evaluate my items and choose new ones when the time called for it.
The areas look great. From dense forests, to rolling oceans and rusted subterranean tunnels, everything is impeccably rendered. There are lots of little details to look at, if you are into that sort of thing. I also like that parts of the environment can be scanned to reveal game lore.
Having played the first three entries in the Halo franchise, the story and characters of Destiny 2 feel really familiar. Alien empire, after a pseudo-religious technological artefact, held at bay by super human individuals within mankind’s employ. I don’t know if I am talking about the Halo franchise or Destiny 2. It feels so much like retreading old ground, and not in a good way.
The player controlled Guardian character goes up levels, which unlocks points to spend on new abilities. While I admit that I only got a taste for the very early abilities on offer, I didn’t find the levelling system really added anything. I had a number of options in swapping out abilities for other abilities, but once I found a grenade ability that matched how I played, change seemed unattractive.
I don’t think that in a game where grinding levels is a large part of it, being disinterested in levelling up a character to unlock its abilities is a good thing.
There is a handy map and waypoint system, but sometimes it is quite vague. After clearing the Rig in the introductory section of Titan it took me way too long to discover I had to backtrack and go through a door which was previously closed. A more intuitive waypoint or objective display wouldn’t go astray.
Destiny 2 pulls from the standard MMO bag of tricks. There are individual quests to fulfil, community events to participate in, and the general pandemonium associated with having disconnected individuals all in one place trying to accomplish slightly different goals. All with the usual feedback loop; defeat enemies, go up a level, repeat.
Enemies are fantastically designed, but largely cut from the same cloth as all enemies in games are. They follow certain archetypes, heavily influenced by Halo it seems, and so aren’t actually that surprising or alien. The large enemies are tough, the thin enemies are snipers. All the enemies are easily interchangeable with those of hundreds of other games.
By the same token, the music is amazingly composed and produced. Being quite orchestral and full, it is comparative to anything in Halo. I was a little disappointed that Bungie didn’t try giving Destiny its own sound.
The Wrap Up
I really enjoyed my seven levels spent in Destiny 2. It was entertaining exploring the world, and the controls made interacting within the game seem like second nature. The story, or much of the game lore, didn’t grab me though. And given how tightly the whole thing clings to generic tropes I think I can guess how it all pans out.
If first person shooters or MMOs are your thing, and you haven’t played Destiny 2 yet, then this free trial is just for you. It is a great way to see if the game is worth investing your time and money in. I certainly am glad I gave it a try. What I had seen of Destiny 2 previously intrigued me, but I am glad I didn’t have to spend $60-$80 to give it a go.
As it is, while I enjoy the gameplay, I can’t see it being a worthwhile investment for me. There is nothing in the game that compels me to play it, to find out more of the story or develop my character. However, there is every possibility that this game will be right up your alley. And all you have to do is try it out for free.
Destiny 2 is available now as a free trial. Learn more about it on the Destiny 2 website.