Destiny 2 (PS4) Review

Follow your Destiny…again.

Anyone who knows me knows that I was a massive fan of year one Destiny. I put well over 200 hours into the base game as well as The Dark Below and House of Wolves expansions before I hung up my ghost for other games. I fully admit I stopped playing before The Taken King and never went back to it, even when I heard that were some vast improvements to the game with its release. Now, that’s one of the main reasons why I ended up quitting. The issues with loot distribution, crafting materials, and overall quality of life choices really started to get to me. That, along with the fact that the main story and many activities ran out of steam around the six hour mark made the rest of my time with it a grind. A fun grind, but a grind nonetheless. Now, three years later, the big sequel is here continuing the story and the grind, and you know what? It’s pretty great.

Many know that the story in Destiny 1 was pretty much nonexistent. Sure, there were cutscenes and in game dialog, but most of it was confusing and made no sense when taking it at face value. In order to get the lore and the story of many things players would have to go to the Bungie website and look at grimoire cards they had unlocked. Destiny 2 remedies this with a story that can be followed mixed with in game lore that can be read on item descriptions.

Platforms: XB1, PS4, PC
MSRP: $59.99
Price I’d pay: $59.99

The story itself revolves around the guardians having their light taken away when the leader of the Cabal Red Legion, Ghaul, invades Earth and The Last City. He captures the Traveler along with the Speaker in hopes to gain the guardians’ light so he can be all powerful. Now, it’s up to the single guardian to reclaim their light, gather all the vanguards, and take back The Last City before Ghaul can take the Traveler’s light for himself.

So, for those that are unfamiliar with Destiny, and I’m sure there’s at least one person out there, Destiny is a first person shooter mixed with RPG and MMO elements. While the core mechanic is a first person shooter, loot and stats play a large part in the game. Every piece of armor and every gun that players find has a power or armor rating on it. This contributes to the overall power level of the character. Obviously, the higher, the better. Loot comes in a variety of styles categories, and rarity. While Destiny 1 had the issue of not actually dropping loot for players which then resulted in players finding cheap ways to grind and find equipment via loot caves and other exploits, Destiny 2 has increased drops right off the bat, making the first ten hours of the game feel like Diablo, where I would constantly find better equipment every time I played.

Now, there has been a massive change to the main mechanic of combat. In Destiny 1, there were three categories of weapons- pulse rifles, auto rifles, scout rifles, and hand cannons were primary weapons; sniper rifles, shotguns, and fusion rifles were secondary weapons; and heavy machine guns and rocket launchers were power weapons. In Destiny 2, they have moved all secondary weapons to the power category and changed the secondary slot to an energy weapon category. That means any weapon that is a primary weapon with an elemental burn (arc, solar, void) will go into this slot. So now I have basically two primary slots and a power weapon slot. Now, I know many people have complained about this and I know many have embraced it. Personally, I think this is a bad idea. Sure, Bungie has made all power weapons really strong and feel powerful, but in the end, I tend to get rushed by enemies and only had a mid range weapon to fight them off. On top of that, why in the world would I use a shotgun or sniper rifle when I could use a rocket launcher in my power slot? It limits the viable arsenal in a way I really don’t like, but this is, of course, Bungie’s new system and we’re going to have to get used to it.

Crafting has been simplified this time around, with really only two currencies to really deal with. Glimmer is the standard money type used for certain things, and then tokens that are turned in to allies that increase reputation with the person. Level up the reputation, and players are rewarded with a legendary weapon or armor at random. This is where the grind begins. Players will find themselves doing things that gain them more tokens. Most of these come in the form of open world activities while wandering around a given area. There are adventures that act as simple story missions, public events that are constantly popping up that anyone in the open world can help defeat, patrol missions that have players doing certain things like collecting things, killing a certain number of enemies, or scanning an area. There’s a lot to do here in a much improved version of patrols from Destiny 1. Finally, we get a map that shows us where we are as well as where other things may be and when and where public events are happening. No need to constantly go back to orbit to get somewhere. Players can fast travel to certain points on the planets’ map.

The classes all return with Titan, Hunter, and Warlock. The game progresses in such a way that gives each class a starting subclass based on an element and over the course of levels, offers up the other two subclasses to unlock and put talent points into. These all comes with a variety of special melee attacks, grenades, jumps, and of course, super abilities. The progession and upgrades don’t just stop at character classes. Weapons can be upgraded as well. Instead of having to use a weapon to unlock ability nodes on it, now every weapon comes fully unlocked. The change is infusion with other weapons. For example, let’s say I have a legendary auto rifle that I love that has 201 attack power. I find a rare auto rifle from a loot drop that has 207 attack power. I can use some currency along with legendary shards (rafting materials from dismantling legendary equipment) to infuse the rare into the legendary giving it 207 power now. It must be the same kind of weapon now. I can’t infuse a pulse rifle into a scout rifle or anything thing like that. This adds a bit to the overall grind.

Of course, this is a fully cooperative game where any activity can be done with a fireteam of three people. The story all the way through, as well as patrol missions, can be done and completed with a fireteam, and the co-op in Destiny 2 has always been a fun ride. The ultimate co-op experience comes from attempting the raid, which released the week after the game launched. This requires team work and communication with the full group of six guardians and can take multiple hours to complete, but the rewards will be great for doing it before the weekly reset every Tuesday.

When players are done with cooperative, they can take on other players in the PvP crucible. Here, there are two styles of game types to play. Quick Play or Competitive. In Quick Play, most revolve around standard team deathmatch while the competitive is more objective based with few lives if not only one. The PvP works and works well for those that want it. While I wasn’t the biggest player of it, after working on a quest that required crucible matches to complete, I warmed up to it after a while.

That’s the great thing about Destiny 2 is that everything I did would lead up to completing something. I never felt like I was doing something for nothing. I was either working on a quest or a milestone, and I had tons of options on what to do when I wanted to work on something. I was never tied down to one activity or the next, which is a vast improvement over year one Destiny 1. Sure, after doing these things in repetition, it will get a bit monotonous, but that is all part of the grind that will really only come after beating the story and hitting level 20, which most players won’t even hit without putting a good 10-12 hours into it, even then, most players will not be main lining the story with so many side things to do that are so easy to get caught up in. Still, when hitting around power level 260, the grind gets real and can frustrate some players when better equipment refuses to drop.

One of the biggest improvements in Destiny 2 is the clan features. In Destiny 1, players got a clan tag and some interactions with some clanmates. That was about it. In Destiny 2, the clan itself levels up when members gain a weekly capped XP contribution. Leveling the clan up in a season will give all clan members some perks like extra glimmer gain or better loot gains for certain activities. To get people more involved in clans, Destiny 2 features “guided games” that has clan members teaming up with random players for the more difficult activities like the raid or nightfall strike. Doing all these things will gain XP for the clan.

I must also talk about the microtransactions featured in the game. This is all done via the Eververse. The Eververse is a cosmetic shop that players can use real money to buy emotes, ghost shells, shaders, and ships that really have no real affect on the game itself. On top of that, players will get a bright engram with each level up after level 20 that can be turned into the Eververse that contains random drops from things from Eververse so it’s not like I was missing out on certain things. I’m mainly just getting them at a slower pace. Even if armor dropped from a bright engram, it would have 10 defense which made them pretty much useless without infusing another piece of armor into it that I got from actually playing the game. I know some have been up in arms about this service since it was announced, but I see nothing wrong with someone wanting to buy some cosmetic things. Granted, it does mess with the shaders, which I loved about the first game. In Destiny 2, they are one time use things that can be applied to a piece of equipment that changes the color of it rather than a full body color that can be taken off and reused.

While this review is long winded, I still feel like I have just touched the surface of the game. Which is totally fine. This review is late, and I have no issues with that. I wanted to see that the game had to offer before and during the end game. It can safely say, there’s a lot to enjoy here both solo and as a co-op experience. Any fan of Destiny 1 should take a look at this game, and anyone that has had interest in it but hasn’t pulled the trigger on it just yet should rest easy knowing that while it has a few issues here and there, Destiny 2 is a great game that champions over the first game in so many ways. I highly suggest it to both FPS and RPG fans alike.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

Written by
Drew is the Community Manager here at ZTGD and his accent simply woos the ladies. His rage is only surpassed by the great one himself and no one should stand between him and his Twizzlers.