I am a disgruntled Destiny player.
I gave up after spending way too much time on the original, and each expansion (both good and bad) could only hold my attention for a while. There was always this nagging feeling that something was missing, and I finally came to realise what it was.
The entirety of Destiny 2 is everything the original was, and was not, pushing the great elements of your space shooter to the forefront while burying the cumbersome nature of some of its old mechanics. This is how you do a proper sequel to one of the biggest games to grace this generation.
Right from the start, there is almost an overwhelming amount of tasks to accomplish that would even shock veteran Guardians. While the main story guides you through the four planets open for exploration, there is also a multitude of side activities to partake in.
Adventures are like bite-sized story missions, fleshing out the lore and legend of your foes and locations that was obscurely hidden in Destiny 2’s obtuse grimoire. Lost Sectors can bring you to hidden alcoves, with enemies plotting to stop you from obtaining priceless treasures. And of course, patrols and public events both return to make the cycle of shooting and looting more interesting.
You will have your favourites, as the differences in how the varying activities play out will matter. This extends to most of what you will do in Destiny 2, including Strikes and the Crucible. This is a potential sticking point for those looking for a well-rounded experience of all that the game has to offer.
As far as the story is concerned, Dominus Ghaul of the Cabal Empire and his Red Legion has brought the war to humanity, and you, a Hunter/Titan/Warlock, are the last remaining hope of all that is good. While the plot of this sequel is not that groundbreaking, it is serviceable as it fleshes out the surrounding details that could easily be missed.
You have made the Destiny universe much more intriguing. From a deranged AI of a crashed ship to the returning Vex, Fallen, and Taken enemies, plus countless other interesting tidbits, this is an engaging world that you will be remiss not to explore.
The Red War story missions do a great job in teaching you everything you need to know and see, and is a welcome tweak considering the lack of direction in the first game.
The progression is surprisingly steady, and players should have no issues reaching the level cap to prepare for the endgame content. Finishing the story opens up the Strikes and Crucible content, where your true grind for Light/Power level begins.
Thankfully, Destiny 2 has seemingly mastered the perfect feedback loop of shooting and looting, making the long journey to 300 Light much more bearable, and more importantly, fun. While Legendary and Exotic gear is still considered rare, they drop at a much quicker pace to keep your momentum going.
Looting, dismantling, infusing, all these terms will become your bedfellows soon enough. The variety helps as well, with old favourites like the MIDA Multi-Tool returning, alongside new additions like the Coldheart (a new class of weapon) and the auto rifle Sweet Business. Certain Exotics are hidden behind extended questlines, which makes obtaining them, even more, *ahem* sweet.
Shaders and customization are back, together with the Eververse store and microtransactions. By changing the shaders to consumable form, there was expected outrage from parts of the community. However, at the end of the day, my opinion is that you get enough just from drops and makes customization an even more personal endeavour, with more options to choose from.
Destiny 2 can be played solo, but the true enjoyment comes from engaging in group warfare. This is evident from conquering public events with strangers, blasting away opposing teams in the Crucible, to the time-consuming but ultimately rewarding Raid.
The unique blend of tension and having a good time was never more evident than in the Raid on Leviathan. Requiring coordination and teamwork, it is now my favourite activity for both playing with friends and testing out my skills as a Guardian. Even if you are the most well-equipped team with the highest Light level, you are only as strong as your weakest link, and Destiny 2 drives home that point amazingly without overly frustrating the player.
Communication is key, and the Clan system is great for that, even granting passive bonuses to all members when certain milestones are met. You have gone even further by including Guided Games, where clans can offer a helping hand to solo players searching for a group to tackle the dangerous Nightfall Strikes or the Raid.
Destiny 2 is everything the original Destiny was supposed to be, and then some. Stripping away the cumbersome elements that made vanilla Destiny a grind, it takes the best of all we had from the first game and kicked it up a notch. Superior shooting, an actual story that made sense, and an addicting feedback loop of things to do make Destiny 2 a habit that is hard to kick. A more thought out progression system will always dangle the next carrot in front of you, making it harder to put the game down.
The many improvements, the new environments, additional lore, and new subclasses for your Titan, Warlock, and Hunter further serve to bring both new and old players into the fold, and a strong foundation like this is enough to keep Guardians coming back for more.
If there is one shooter to gun for this 2017, Destiny 2 should be at the top of the list.
An Extremely Satisfied Destiny 2 player