Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Destiny 2 review

    I picked up DESTINY 2 as soon as I finished DESTINY. This was despite the fact DESTINY barely had a plot and narrative has always been my favorite part of video games. This was resolved toward the end of its lifespan with THE TAKEN KING expansion but even that was a bare bones "Dark Lord invades, we kick its butt" plot.

    So, what's the plot of DESTINY 2? Well, "Dark Lord invades, we kick its butt." However, it's not the plot which matters but the execution. In this case, the invasion of the Last City by the Cabal's leader, Ghaul, is well done. Ghaul manages to come in strong, defeat the entirety of the Guardians, and then proceed to kick you off the side of a building.

Space Marine Bane! Best villain ever! Okay, not really.
    The Cabal were sort of the runts of the litter in the original Destiny campaign, losing to the Vex and being a very unmemorable sort of enemy. Seeing them get fleshed out into becoming something akin to a nonhuman version of Warhammer 40K's Space Marines and being the primary antagonist of the main story is a big boon.

    Ghaul is also a character with a certain amount of depth, especially if you're religious. He's a guy who is interested in the Traveler not just because he's a living example of God (or a a small g god). That intrigues Ghaul and gets him to want to bond with the spirit, to achieve a sort of spiritual union that transcends his militant life. You know, despite the fact he can't do this because all Ghaul knows is murder and death.

    I also like how we got all of the Guardians from Destiny fleshed out. The original story only had Cayde-6 as having any sort of personality and I can't help but wonder if Nathan Fillion wrote his own lines since he's the archetypal Nathan Fillion character. However, this story expands on Zavala, Ikora, and the Speaker. We also completely drop the boring plot of the Exo Stranger that amounted to absolutely nothing.

Beautiful graphics as always.
    There's also a decent amount of newer characters added to the story. They're not exactly overrunning with originality but I liked Osiris in the Curse of Osiris Expansion, Sagira in the same, as well as Ana Bray in Warmind. We even get some world-building in-universe with the fact the regular people of the Last City have issues with the godlike Guardians who rule over them.

    So what are the downsides? Well, to be frank, this game feels like it only managed to repair what was wrong with Destiny and is completely free of innovations. This isn't a sequel to Destiny, it is Destiny only without a decent skill tree. It feels like a reboot of the franchise in the same way Assassins Creed II was from Assassins Creed. Which isn't a criticism, per se, but it is still murdering the exact same enemies you were before.

Osiris is a somewhat underwhelming character.
    The game and level design is fine, the gameplay is still Borderlands, and there's a bit more tweaking to the loot system so you can divide your weapons properly. The flame vs. cold vs. void set of fighting techniques are important as some work better against shields that explode if you use the right combination. Even so, there's nothing particularly original here and that wasn't what they were going for either.

    Of the two seasons of material so far, both have been reasonably well done. The Curse of Osiris isn't great but it isn't terrible either. Osiris, the most controversial Guardian in the setting, is trapped in a constantly shifting maze run by the Vex and needs you to destroy one of their leaders before he calculates a way to destroy humanity. The problem with it is it's a very underwhelming series of levels that don't have much in the way of interaction with Osiris himself. The Warmind expansion revives the Rasputin plot of the original game while also having you fight some Hive gods. This felt like overkill and a rehash of the previous game. Still, I had a lot more fun with it than with The Curse of Osiris

    So, what do I think of Destiny 2? It's okay. It's an entirely fun product that I got my money's worth but I can't say that I was immensely pumped for it either. It's an improvement on the last game but it also should have been much more.


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