Destiny 2 Crucible Hands-On Preview – Competitive Arena (PS4)

One of the primary complaints that players have had regarding Destiny is the state of the Crucible. Destiny’s player versus player (PvP) competitive mode has rarely struck the perfect balance, tending to fall into specific metas were one tool shines above the rest, whether it’s pulse rifles, shotguns, or sticky grenades. Balancing never really leveled the scales, usually swinging the pendulum in the opposite direction and creating just another power pocket for players to get used to. With the Destiny 2 gameplay reveal came the announcement of some rework to the Crucible, and we got to go hands-on with a new mode to see just how it feels.

Playing with all of the new Crucible changes alongside the new game mode, Countdown, makes it hard to reconcile what was because of one or the other, so I am going to do my best to separate them out. Crucible is now a purely four versus four affair. No more six on six Rift matches, No more three player per team Salvage matches. This allows Bungie to avoid some of the mass chaos present in the six player modes, but gives a bit more team freedom than the very precise and calculated three player modes. It’s a good balance between the two, making Crucible a more competitive environment while not getting into the intense matchups that some of the three on three modes offered.

Every player now makes a more crucial contribution to the team, yet there is a little more room for error than three on three modes. This change makes the Crucible both more competitive for higher tier players and opens the door for player improvement; a steady incline instead of a sharp cliff for the skill gap.

Destiny 2 Titan Shield

The Crucible now comes with a wealth of information displayed at the top of the screen and in the kill feed to provide a greater situational awareness to every moment in a Crucible match. You can see which subclasses you are playing with and against, as well as who has their super, allowing for more careful planning. You don’t want to make a mad dash for the objective if half of the enemy team has their super ready to go. On both sides it creates a more tactical playing field, especially because super abilities in Destiny 2 seem to be extremely deadly.

Some changes that we’ll see in the Crucible will be affected by the overall changes to Destiny 2, including the weapon class rework and the new class abilities. It’s difficult to get a sense for how these will impact gameplay from a a couple of quick matches, but it’s safe to say that Destiny 2’s Crucible will be a very different place from the first game.


The new mode, Countdown, made it difficult to get a bead on how Destiny’s overall gameplay changes will impact Crucible because it is a very unique mode (and someone had changed the controls from default before I sat down). Consisting of short quick matches, it’s an elimination style game mode with points to either attack or defend that rotate each turn. Win conditions are created by either eliminating everyone on the enemy team or capturing/diffusing the point.

When I went hands on with Countdown,  it seemed like the win or loss consistently came from the entire team being eliminated, which effectively turns this mode into Elimination with some side objectives. The new map we played was a market in the now abandoned Last City. There were two points to either capture or defend, depending on which round it was. With only four players per team this creates a difficult decision. Send all four to the further point? Stick to the closest one? Divide and conquer? It tended to be a clear rock, paper, scissors style game where one choice was the wrong one.

Destiny 2 Countdown Crucible mode

Being an elimination style mode means you’ll have to be more careful at each encounter. Death persists until the end of the round unless your teammates can get in to revive you. As a Titan main, of course this barely fits my play style, though the Striker Titan is now a roaming super instead of one time use, and it did allow for me to go a little crazy at some points without immediately dying.

I think that Countdown will have the chance to become a highly tactical and competitive game mode, but with all of the new changes to Destiny and the Crucible overall, I wish we would have had the opportunity to try them out on a more familiar mode like Control, for the sake of science and parsing the differences between the two. Instead I was inundated with new changes Destiny and a whole new game mode which created a melting pot that was tough to separate out. Once I get the hang of Destiny 2’s Crucible updates, I am excited to jump back into Countdown and figure out the deeper nuance of the mode.

The Crucible in Destiny 2 feels very familiar, but at the same time fresh with the new class abilities, weapons, and more focused combat.Right now it looks like there are a lot of positive changes coming in September. Bungie has been listening to their fans, but also assessing from an internal perspective what would work best to adapt Destiny 2’s Crucible to both be more competitive and more accessible; as the old cliche goes “Easy to learn, hard to master.”

Destiny 2 perviewed at Bungie’s reveal event. Travel and accommodations provided by Activision.