In Review

Destiny 2 review: Bungie ‘aces’ sci-fi sequel

Critics praise the game’s revamped story and refined multiplayer modes

The sequel to the online sci-fi role-playing game (RPG) Destiny has finally launched and it promises to put the game’s story at the forefront of the player’s adventure.

Developed by Bungie, the studio behind the iconic Halo franchise, Destiny 2 will see players fighting to protect the Citadel – the once-peaceful hub world of the first game – from enemy attack.

The original massively multiplayer online (MMO) game had mixed reviews when it launched in 2014. Gamespot praised the original's quest system but criticised its "recycled areas" and "uninspired story line".

Destiny 2 aims to rectify this by putting the story mode at the forefront of the experience, but is it the sequel fans have been hoping for?

Here’s what the critics have to say:

Campaign

Destiny 2 features a far more in depth campaign mode than its predecessor, says Dual Shockers. Players are tasked with taking the fight to Ghaul, a villain from the original game. 

While the previous game’s villains were somewhat one-dimensional, the website says the abundance of cutscenes between story missions allows players to see the development of Ghaul’s character. They also draw the player into the story and will make players want to jump into the next story mission immediately. 

It’s a welcome departure from the original game, says Polygon, as it provides a “suitable framework to explain what you’re doing in the campaign.” 

“There are strong characters among old friends and new faces alike”, the site adds, but new players are given enough cutscenes and story missions to catch up with the events from the first game.

Multiplayer

Aside from the revamped story mode, Trusted Reviews says Destiny 2’s multiplayer modes have a “different feel” compared to its predecessor. 

Multiplayer matches are now fought between two teams of four players, which the website says makes the combat “a little less chaotic” and more like older online games such as Halo 2. 

While the previous game gave less experienced players more power damage to compete with those who had better weapons (in order to make multiplayer missions balanced), Time says the system has been completely reworked for Destiny 2. 

The new online system has a simple difficulty setting, where players can match energy types to their skills. But the magazine says that playing on a harder difficulty setting will give players a better chance of securing rarer and more powerful weapons. 

Combat 

Bungie “aced” the feeling of combat and gunplay in the original game, says Trusted Reviews, and the sequel “still feels like one of the most engaging shooters around.”

But the game revamps the weapons class systems of the old version to allow for more tactical gunplay, the website says. It gives players more “scope” when entering battles, as each weapons class has its own advantages and disadvantages. 

Players will get a lot of satisfaction from the updated Public Events feature, which Polygon says will often present you with unique and challenging objectives.

These events now come with a tougher Heroic setting that can be “unlocked by completing a hidden objective”, the site says. While this was present in the old game, they are now open to the majority of players in the sequel.

Verdict

Experienced Destiny players won’t see much of a difference in the core mechanics of the sequel, says Engadget, but the game feels “more like a massively multiplayer sandbox than the original”.

While players are still given story missions to guide them through the new and improved campaign mode, the website says, there are more surprises and the whole adventure feels less formulaic than before. 

Ars Technica praises Destiny 2’s improved combat system, which forces players to strategically enter battles. High-level weaponry is important in the heat of combat, but using your wits to outmanoeuvre an enemy is key to gaining an advantage over your opponent. 

Destiny 2 is “not a fundamentally different experience” to the old game, Polygon says, but it “seems like the sequel Bungie needed to make”.

It’s familiar enough to “reel veterans back in”, while its improved story mode should entice those who missed out on the first game.

Release and where to find it

Destiny 2 is now available on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, although Polygon says PC players won’t be able to access the game until 24 October. 

Amazon is currently offering Destiny 2 on both Xbox One and PS4 for £47.99. 

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