Four years ago, when Destiny came out, the fundamentals were great. But the overarching game, how you leveled up, how you joined factions, why you’d want to play the same areas over and over and over again, was broken. So Destiny 2 had a lot to fix, and it not only repaired all of it, it made the franchise what it was meant to be.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to have played the last game to understand what’s happening, something rather dramatically underscored by the opening trashing the first game’s hub world. Despite the fact that everything you’ve ever known and loved has been destroyed, most people seem down with chilling on a farm, buying shaders, and blowing shit up.
The basics of the gameplay haven’t changed much, which is a good thing. The problem was never getting in there and blowing up some aliens. The gunplay is snappy, and the game throws new toys at you with regularity. Each gun handles slightly differently, and that makes it easy to cater to your play style. Leveling up is still simple, but you can fiddle with each of the three classes to give yourself specific abilities, and upgrade points are easy to pick up.
What makes Destiny 2 so much better is you’re not expected to grind nearly as much. The first game had pretty, but completely empty, open worlds. What little was lying around wasn’t worth the effort to find it. The levels are much more expansive and full of varied side-missions and areas to explore, wonder at, and blow away aliens in. The depth comes entirely from looting and gameplay variety from the different guns you use, but that was always a lot of fun. It’s also easier to start finding high-level gear, and a big part of the game is fiddling with your loadout and seeing what you most want to use.
On the multiplayer side of things, co-op feels a bit smoother, while PvP, arguably the franchise’s crown jewel, is essentially untouched. The co-op raids were always well-designed, but oddly, the game isn’t letting you pick strikes at the moment; you’re stuck using a “playlist” that sends you to a random one. Hopefully that changes, soon, but it’s still fun to team up with strangers, and the game’s public events, basically short pick-up matches where you go destroy aliens, are more commonplace and better designed. If there’s a criticism, it’s that working together deserves more of an emphasis and more depth. Pick-up matches working together are simply the most fun you can have.
All that said, however, Destiny 2 is still just an absurd amount of goofy fun. Running around, shooting aliens, and finding better stuff to shoot more aliens with just doesn’t get better than this.
Verdict: Clear Your Calendar
This review was conducted with review code for the PS4 provided by the publisher.