Destiny 2 Beta Review: It’s… Serviceable

Destiny was a groundbreaking RPG/FPS, and had massive hype as Bungie’s first major project since departing with Halo and Microsoft. While it was a success in sales and users, for me, it left a lot to be desired. The Destiny 2 Beta came out last weekend to the public, and I got my hands on the beta to see if I would be interested in buying the second installment in the series. Honestly, it feels like a rinse and repeat to me.

Right when you boot up the beta, you’re planted right in the middle of conflict. The gameplay is identical to the first game, with hordes of enemies at a time as you venture through exquisite and beautiful landscapes, ships and space in general. The story seems to serve as a prologue for the upcoming storyline. I had a good giggle when the main antagonist in the prologue looks like a Halo grunt on steroids.

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Seriously, he does. It could be foreshadowing that Bungie could be tapping into their old success that was Halo. Whether it’s ideas, worlds or storylines, it could be interesting to see Bungie intertwine the Halo universe with the Destiny universe. I’m not saying that Master Chief and Arbiter should just show up on our doorstep in the next game, and I definitely don’t think Earth or the UNSC should be introduced, but some of the remains of the Halo Universe that may not have been tapped into during the Halo Trilogy (can we just forget Halo 4 even happened,) and implement them into the sequel of Destiny.

Something that will make Destiny 2 a hard sell, for me at least, is the amount of DLC that was released in the first game. Keeping a game recent is okay, but the originally released game had a campaign mode that lasted about 7 hours of game time, if you weren’t rushing. Then, DLC came out like there was no tomorrow, and unless you’re a die-hard Destiny fan, it’s hard to justify buying an $80 game, just to buy another $100 of DLC over the next year. Plus, it’s harder for casual fans like me to get into Destiny 2 if they reference The Taken King or Rise of Iron etc., simply because I couldn’t justify paying more money after the first storyline didn’t feel very epic and at times felt repetitive.

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With the Destiny 2 Beta, it doesn’t give me too much hope that the new installment will improve on that front. The story was somewhat intriguing, but it was only around an hour of gameplay. Plus, it’s hard to tell a good story when the missions include other players and the story is meant to be involve the entire group of players playing the game. When the scale is so big, it’s hard to make the single player feel important, and it’s hard to do storytelling from that standpoint. With Destiny 2, it’s not going to change the wheel, it’s going to stick to its bread and butter on the foundation of what they built in Destiny. While it feels fresh and new for the first month, I just found myself going full circle after that. And once I didn’t buy the DLC, I was basically turned off the game, because the story went nowhere and everyone online had better weapons than I did because they spent $40.

I also played some crucible while in the beta, and again, it’s almost exactly the same as the first game. While there are some minor changes, like new abilities and new weapons, there’s nothing game-changing. The maps I played on were pretty symmetrical, there doesn’t feel like there’s enough action with 4v4, so hopefully when they release the full game they either make the maps tighter or expand the games to 6v6. The movement with jetpacks seems very non-responsive, I try and make a quick jump over an opponent and end up suspended mid-air for five seconds or so, essentially a sitting duck. Unless it’s something I haven’t figured out yet (I must admit, I only ventured with the Titan class,) the jumping physics seems pretty underwhelming.

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Overall, I’d say that the Destiny 2 Beta previews a game that will be very similar to the original. For die-hard fans, this might not be a bad thing, but for those who didn’t keep up with the DLC from the first game, it might’ve been looking for something a little different. Storytelling is what is going to be the make or break for me. If they can find a way to make the story compelling while still integrating the “everyone’s involved” concept, Destiny 2 will definitely be in my game library when it’s released on September 6th.

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