Bungie‘s Destiny has had its fair share of praise and criticism since its original launch back in 2014. While proved to be a prominent outing for the company that headlined the Halo franchise for many years, it had plenty of faults from the beginning and worked very hard to fix every issue. Now that the sequel is fast approaching, it’s no secret that many players are wondering as to whether or not it’s worth jumping back into the post-apocalyptic space shooter. Based on our current experience with the ongoing beta so far, it’s hard to say whether this will be the case in the long run, but there is definitely something to be excited about.
The Destiny 2 Open Beta gives fans a chance to play through the game’s prologue, a strike, and a series of competitive multi-players. While the gameplay itself has hardly changed since the original game, the title’s biggest and most important selling point is its improvement in narrative presentation. While its predecessor was often criticised for its nearly non-existent or brief and confusing portrayal of its over-arching story, Destiny 2 builds on from this mistake and produces a cinematic feel that really draws you in.
The prologue expresses this sentiment quite clearly, evoking the sense of desperation and hopelessness brought forth by the invasion of the Red Legion. Suddenly everything changes, as the place you once called home is under-seige and everything you ever knew is lost in an instant. Characterization is a key element during this part, as we not only get to see the heroic efforts of the legendary Vanguard leaders, but also the ruthless yet reasonable motive of the game’s new villain Gol. Perhaps the most striking moment during this particular chapter is when you eventually join the fight within the tower. Surrounded by innocent civilians cowering in fear and holding each other closely, it portrayed something that was quite reminiscent of classic Call of Duty-level of story-telling. While this goes to show that the developers has gone quite a long way from their mishaps from the first game, this short glimpse isn’t really enough to fully define what to expect for the final game.
Multiplayer is the other major part of Destiny 2 and is the most prominent segment in which fans can see the changes in gameplay. First off, there are new sub-classes that can be seen as improvements to what we originally saw. So far, we’ve only managed to play the Hunter’s Arcstrider and the Titan’s Sentinel, as they have been covered less since the game’s initial preview. Arcstrider feels quite a lot like the Bladedancer, with a larger emphasis on delivering various combos and AoE attacks. Sentinels on the other-hand is more of like a ‘Captain America’ cosplay, where you get to throw your shield but also expand it to unleash a similar ‘bubble’ originally used by the Defender subclass. Weapons slots have also been revamped, something that will surely shake the meta-game fans know and have mixed feelings about. Players will now have access to two primary weapons, divided between kinetic and elemental respectively. The final slot will accommodate the power weapons, which include fusion rifles, snipers, shotguns, and the new and awesome grenade launcher.
In terms of the competitive scene, Bungie has cut-down the player count between teams to just four members. This emulates more of a squad focused approach to objectives and streamlines the frantic nature of the close quarters combat, while this does allow for more strategy to PvP, it also comes as bad news for fans who often played with six members of their clans. While it is widely believed that Trials of Osiris and the Iron Banner will make a return for the sequel, it’s currently hard to tell how this new dynamic will change how both game modes will function.
Sadly, unlike the original game’s beta, there isn’t really much to do right now. While the new strike in itself was considerably fresh, it doesn’t really add anything unique or new to what we’ve already experienced. The only true ‘explorable’ location was the farm, which only appeared as a stress test for a brief period of time on Sunday. Another key issue we encountered had more to do with the technical side of things, referring to how the game runs at a locked 30 fps. Titles such as Battlefield and CoD have proven that current gen consoles can run at 60fps (albeit with dips from time to time), the difference makes it feel as though Destiny 2 will be a little outdated for a competitive multiplayer.
The open beta flaunts the improvements the developer has made to the franchise, and is doing so quite successfully. It’s almost enough to say that this is the Destiny we were originally promised at launch, but took a hell of a long time to get here. However much like many other big games these days, it’s still not enough to define what we will get this coming September. Our experience was severely limited by the game modes we got to play, but from what we did get our hands on, everything is looking up for Bungie.