Destiny 2 Review: All About Engrams

When you are met with the vast new world, it can be easy to get taken in as you begin to imagine the many possibilities of what you can do within it. When it follows up on its promise then we all can’t be happier for you and the adventures that await in the near future. When it doesn’t and generally ends up to give you a set of chores to rinse and repeat, then it’s more like a job, right? Are you going to have regular clock-in and out schedules as well? Destiny 2 seems to be trying to get you to apply for one, and if you’re interested, welcome to the first day of orientation.

If I were to write this title as a recipe, I’d describe Destiny 2 on the PlayStation 4 to have the combat mechanics of Halo, the power creep of Borderlands, and the salt made from loot crates. Also, you may want to excuse my lack of experience as I never touched Destiny until now, so unfortunately any historical insight with the game will likely not be found in this review.

Bungie some time ago had released Destiny, what would probably be the first MMO FPS game that had a format as it did. Featuring you, a guardian who thanks to the plot device powers of a mysterious ball called ‘The Traveller,’ grants you the powers of a standard MMO; a set of abilities determined by the class you take and the luxury of being able to respawn limitlessly.

Having no prior experience with playing this title, I jump in, expecting a respawn-a-thon as I have a pretty terrible record with the FPS title. And after the first hour, they suddenly tell me I can’t respawn.

Production (4.5 / 5)

Destiny 2 is an absolute beast when it comes to how it looks. Environments are vast and convincing and enemies show a clear response to getting hit. It’s a little disappointing to see that there’s not really much else to them than being backgrounds. Characters animate in a telling way for every different moment you may catch them in, including staggers and recovery of shields. Though if there’s anything that’s pretty top-notch in the game’s graphics it would have to be the UI being easy to understand, read and being completely non-pervasive while looking great.

Another stand-out part about Destiny 2’s production would be the music. Very epic tracks can play during the grander fight scenes (or when literally nothing is happening), and its ability to build up to a mysterious, majestic atmosphere is pretty much enough to suck you into the adventure it promises.

Mechanics (3.5 / 5)

I find it pretty tough to describe Destiny 2’s mechanics without invoking what you’d normally find in a Halo or CounterStrike game in terms of how weapons work. You shoot things and kill them before they do, you take cover if you’re running low on health and you recover over time. One thing I’m particularly annoyed about these combat mechanics is how pretty much any gun seems to get their damage instantly nerfed if you’re not staring down the gun’s sights. I have never found a time that I thought it was okay to do hip fire because it might be a better idea to do melee, instead.

Also you get to use 3 active abilities at a time, depending on the class and subclass you’ve selected. Where you can’t switch between classes but you can for the subclass. These abilities vary between offense, defense, or support types but to be honest since you’re already pretty self-sufficient with your regeneration these abilities only seem to come into play while playing PVP or raids. I personally chose to go with Arc Strider because I made a robot and it only seemed proper to make sure he was a mix between jedi and ninja. It also turns out that the Arc Strider’s ultimate is one of the sure-fire ways of putting your enemies, even bosses, into a hopeless stunlock. However, in general, I don’t really find how being in varied classes really changes the game since all of you can equip any weapons you want, and the gear in my opinion, command how you play much more than your class skills, especially in PVP.

The part I probably dislike the most about Destiny 2’s mechanics would be the looting system, especially with how it seems everything you do generally loops back to getting better loot. You want to reach max level so you can start getting engrams (aka loot boxes), you do quests to get better loot, or tokens which if you have enough will get an NPC to give you an engram, you dismantle your unwanted gear so that you can extract items to improve other gear you like, or just to have tokens for new engrams. Everything is about getting slightly better gear than you currently have, and you have no real way of controlling what you get. Meaning if you want a rocket launcher but the loot boxes give you sniper rifles, guess what you’ll have to use until you find a suitable explosive boom stick?

Content (1.5 / 5)

Things to do and find within the world of Destiny 2 is probably the poorest offering that the title has for you. Generally everything is a kill-everything-quickly quest. Honestly it’s fun for the first few hours, especially when I thought I was getting new sets of enemies each time, heck the ‘zombies’ stage got me kind of excited. But I soon realized that everything you’ll face will be basically be the same set of enemies you dealt with during the start, with either padded stats or slightly different abilities (or color).

It doesn’t really help that the campaign is actually pretty straightforward and short. You don’t really feel like you did anything else aside from move from point A to point B while killing things the entire game.  In fact I fear that’s basically the entire game, only offered with different opening spiels.

The game’s strongest point would probably be raids. Aside from being the best loot machine in the game, it also offers a sizeable challenge to each of its players and does not feel too one-directional as you are doing a set of objectives instead of just one or two. However, if you’d ask me for a favorite, I’d have to say it’s the public events. They’re accessible at any point of the game, they highlight what the game offers best, requires little preparation and is generally spontaneous. Running into them and deciding to do it is usually a very welcome change of pace while going from quest to quest.

I was quite disappointed to find that in a universe full of space ships, armies and empires, you’re not doing much more than being a one-man army against several infantry enemies on the ground. Sure, you fight giants and gun ships from time to time. But I’d really like to be the one flying those ships at some point of the game, heck space battles would have been a great addition. In general, Destiny 2 showed me this big, epic adventure concerning the fate of a galaxy, but I never seemed to witness things happening from a broader perspective. Aside from a lack luster tank section, I was always just that one guardian and couldn’t really see how what I was doing was really a big deal. Heck, that final boss was a real let down.

Features (2.5 / 5)

Destiny 2 is an MMO and by nature it would have great net code. Despite moving between places while reviewing the game, the connection’s speed was rarely ever a problem whether or not I was using high speed internet.

The matching for PVP was actually pretty good, while it may take a while sometimes, I was generally winning half the time. Making me want to try to make better gear for next time whenever I lose or just play more whenever I won. Though getting my ass handed to me thanks to some cheese strategies was a one-way trip to salt-ville though. However, the 4 on 4 format made this rarely a big issue, and this being the consistent format across PVP modes, gave me very little hesitation about trying out the competitive mode, which goodness, was really hard.

Overall (2.5 / 5)

Over time, I found myself trying to play Destiny 2 over certain periods of time rather than finishing it in one go. It was generally a game I found enjoyable for a few hours but would lose taste for the longer the session went on.

However, when I had a regular party mate, the experience changed drastically. Having somebody to interact with what wasn’t the awful script that the voice actors had to act out was a very refreshing change of pace. It was also entirely possible to deal with tougher challenges without having to play too cautiously as a your party mates can revive you instead of getting a game over screen.

Despite this, however, I wouldn’t really recommend Destiny 2 for the types that are looking for an enriching experience because that’s simply not what the title aims to do. It’s something meant for you to play maybe a few times a week preferably with friends. Because while most games may be considered by your guardians as a waste of time, this one is designed for you to just sink a few hours in when you have nothing much to do and think going out in space and kicking alien ass sounds like a fine time. Playing this regularly, especially without a regular companion will have the realization dawn upon you, that you’ve traded in your free time for work for another job. And they’re not paying overtime.

Destiny 2 may need more blessings from The Light as it scores a mediocre 2.9 / 5.

This title is available on PlayStation4, X Box One, and PC.

Facebook Comments

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: