Review: Destiny 2

"The grand waster of time from the people who used to make better games."

I was talked into buying Destiny 2, despite the talk of microtransaction overload, shady business practices and more, by a friend. While I've put in a good number of hours for my 60 € purchase, and will likely continue to put in at least a few more, I feel like I've been sort of duped.

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Destiny 2 is the latest creation by Bungie, the company that made the original Halo games, and that origin shows. The gameplay feels like Halo all over again, including the overpowered melee attacks, floaty jumps, overshields and sometimes ridiculously bullet-spongy enemies. However, where Halo had a narrower cast of enemy types, all with distinct purpose and personality, the enemies of Destiny 2 are for all intents and purposes just MMO mobs. They stand in place or roam in small areas, or sometimes spawn for missions, and then jump and dash around randomly shooting at the player. The game tries to lift from Halo the concept of enemies fighting one another, with the enemies in Destiny 2 distributed between 4 factions, but this is entirely for show and I've yet to actually see an AI kill another despite long-winded confrontations.

This sets us off on the right path, for just like the AI on AI combat is just eyecandy with little content, so too, is most of Destiny 2. The story campaign starts off with a grand premise, with all the hallmarks of a great shooter, but the inane enemies and stat-based numerical evolution of characters reduce the otherwise functionl combat mechanics to nothing more than "apply damage per second until enemy is dead".

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The game also wastes almost all of its online potential by entirey blocking players from communicating with one another in the overworld, thus reducing other players to essentially mute NPC's that jump around a lot and always seem to have better gear somehow.

The game enjoys all the pretty and flashy new graphical evolutions of a modern AAA game, but its art is left severely hampered by lackluster world design. The maps are relatively small and cramped, and due to the planet-hopping nature of the game, feel entirely disjointed, unrelated, and often like they are from entirely different games. The fact that the story that has the player leaping and bounding between planets is also disjointed, told in brief cutscenes and by some quite dreadful voice acting that had me repeatedly hoping I could just mute the dialogue entirely (especially the announcer in the PvP crucible. Good grief, he sounds like a drunk Santa Claus!), does nothing to help the game as a whole. In the end nothing is really resolved, the game is left in a status quo so that players can happily go about their endless grind of bits of armour and guns with slightly larger numbers than the previous ones.

Oh, and all of this advancement is entirely reliant on randomized loot boxes. My friend and I played roughly the same amount of time, but in the end he lagged about 10 power levels behind me due to poor luck. The gear you get and thus the speed at which you advance in the game are in no way related to your skill or ability as a player, but on the roll of a dice. Each hour of grind just earns you a few more rolls of those dice.

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It is this grind, then, that forms to focus of the game. The very core around which all of Destiny 2 is built upon.

It is this grind that will make or break Destiny 2 for you.

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Disregarding most of the gear, there is of course the PvP mode: the Crucible. However, the gameplay here feels inherently broken as well, with the four player teams too small to afford any real team tactics and the power weaponry and superpowers the players can trigger often picking off half of the enemy team in a single strike. In effect, many rounds just boil down to "who can push the win-round button faster", an experience that seems hardly rewarding for either team.

If you have endless hours to sink into a game where skill counts for almost nothing and social interaction with other players is non-existent, then perhaps you will find Destiny to be the sort of timewaster you enjoy. As for me, I regret the purchase and cannot recommend the game to anyone.

Playtime: 25+ hours (Campaing completion, Questing, Multiplayer)










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Normal retail price at time of writing: 90 € (including DLC) + microtransaction.

Recommended for purchase at normal retail price: No

Recommended for purchase at reduced price: No