Despite having some Destiny disillusionment, I couldn’t help but check out the Destiny 2 beta a couple weeks ago. I honestly wasn’t expecting much so I found myself pleasantly surprised by what it had to offer. The opening mission was engaging, the revamped Crucible was fun, and the “Inverted Spire” strike was at least new if nothing else. Mild surprises aside, I don’t think every change was for the best. What’s more, I found that many of my chief questions still remained unanswered once all was said and done. So did the beta do its job? Well, yes and no.
As a former fan of Destiny, my expectations of the Destiny 2 beta weren’t all that high. After reading announcement after disappointing announcement, I was convinced that I wasn’t going to find all that much to like in the beta. I was wrong. That became clear as soon as the opening mission started up. Instead of immediately dropping in an being told to go scan things with my Ghost, I got an actual opening cut-scene; with set-up and everything! I actually knew what was going on by the time I actually got to start playing, and you know what? The scenario was actually fun. I was trying to keep the Tower from being overrun. My hunter was constantly on the move, roaming through unfamiliar parts of the Tower and bumping into major NPCs along the way. The mission took me through several short cut-scenes, gave me several chances to try out the new abilities, and even showed that we’ll actually have real a villain to fight against this time, not just another generic raid boss. This is what the first game should have been like, so good on Bungie for finally realizing that.
The other major improvement I noticed was in the Crucible. Now, I’m not exactly a fan of everything being reduced to 4v4. I’m of the opinion that with the kind of backing this game has, they should have just bit the bullet and gone with dedicated servers like every other modern multiplayer shooter game. That said, I did like the changes they made to the core of how the Crucible works. Destiny 2’s Crucible is faster-paced overall, while individual encounters are slower. This is due to the game’s new system of limiting the use of powerful weapons and supers, making one-shot kills the exception rather than the norm. Players are going to have to become skilled at dodging and keeping a bead on their opponents if they want to emerge victorious. It’s a very welcome change that Destiny has sorely needed for a long time now. I am a bit concerned about the longer cool-down rates for abilities, but the gameplay did feel better overall. However, better gameplay does not necessarily mean a superior game.
While the beta did convince me that the game would play better than Destiny, it failed to convince me of its ability to rise above its predecessor. Class, Crucible, and story change-ups are all well and good, but I’m still seeing a game that’s very structurally similar to vanilla Destiny. In 2014, Destiny launched with four worlds to “explore”, the same will be true of Destiny 2. Destiny launched with just one raid that only became available two weeks later. The same will be true of Destiny 2. Destiny launched with two “expansions” already planned (which were later revealed to have been cut from the base game). Destiny 2 will also be launching with two pre-planned expansions. We also still have no idea if the sequel will address any of the major problems which plagued the original; problems such as: content quickly going stale, an overall pointless grind, and a pvp mode which could only support two viable weapon archetypes at any given time. It’s probably asking too much to expect a beta to address these issues, but it would have been nice to at least get a hint or two.
The Destiny 2 beta was more or less what I expected it to be. It was fun and provided a chance to get some hands-on experience with the game’s tweaked class abilities and competitive multiplayer. Its opening mission impressed with its flow, character moments and set-up of a proper villain, and the strike was enjoyable for what it was. Beyond that though, it failed to convince me that Destiny 2 is actually going to be better than the first game. It felt different, but not in a way that made it clear that this was a new game with a better way of doing things. However, that very well may change once the full game is released and all those nagging questions are answered. For now though, I’m still not quite ready to jump back into the Destiny universe.
What did you think of the Destiny 2 beta? Will you be jumping in on day 1? If you played the first game, what are the major issues you hope to see addressed in Destiny 2?
Lede image captured by Hatmonster