After now having played two straight nights of the Destiny 2 beta, I can safely say that I was left unimpressed with what I saw. That’s not to say that I hated what I played (as I think Destiny has very solid gunplay), but I was expecting more from what is a numbered sequel. Sure, there are some sizable changes, but it was all of the same magnitude as The Taken King expansion. Everything felt awfully familiar, and I guess I was hoping for something a little more different.
To give some context, I was never a Destiny fanatic. I played (and liked) it, but I didn’t participate in raids, and it was never the game that my friends played while hanging out online (that was Rocket League). I wasn’t overly concerned with my light level, and my post-launch experience consisted of jumping back in every time a new expansion was out, playing the story missions, and then moving on with my life. I was hoping this would provide the changes that would finally hook me like it did some of my colleagues here (Chandler, whose beta impressions can be seen here, played over 1,300 hours of the first game). Maybe it still will end up doing just that, as this beta is just a limited look at what it has to offer, but I have my doubts.
Since this started off pretty negatively, I might as well mentioned what I liked about the beta. First off, the opening story mission showed a lot of promise. It was awesome seeing the iconic hub area from the original game get destroyed, and walking past areas I had been before dozens of time in a totally new perspective. I was also quickly reminded of why I really like to play Bungie’s shooters, as the enemies provided a fun challenge, even if they were a bit too much of a bullet sponge for my taste.
The beta’s Strike mission was where things started to fall apart as I didn’t find the level design (first-person platforming puzzles?) or boss all that fun to deal with. In fact, my group never even finished that mission as we ended up dying several times during the boss’ final phase (and let me tell you, it’s a bit embarrassing to die to a boss that already lost an arm). We eventually decided to quit out as we had other things to do, and it’s not like the progress we made mattered since it was a beta.
Finally, I decided to check out the game’s multiplayer as I was hopeful that the multiplayer changes (it’s now four-on-four) would be my jam. It wasn’t. Despite really liking Destiny‘s gunplay, I’ve never been able to get into the Crucible. I did like the new round-based mode that only gave players one life, but it never really clicked to where I wanted to play more. If I’m going to boot up a multiplayer shooter, it’ll still be Overwatch or Titanfall 2.
What I found interesting was that it wasn’t just me who walked away nonplussed from the beta. Even some of the diehard players I know ended up feeling more concerned than excited, although for a very different reason. Here’s a brief snippet of what my friend Rebekah Lang had to say over at her blog:
The jumping felt off. It sounded off. The movement felt loose and often imprecise. I switched it up to my preferred triple jump and even then it felt wrong. I couldn’t seem to find a balance. And, given that I’ve been playing the original Destiny on a regular basis, I had its predecessor firmly in my mind. Destiny has always had some of the smoothest and sharpest navigation and gunplay; why would Bungie change that up? Like, at all?
Bungie is certainly in a rough position with Destiny 2 as any substantial changes, the ones I’m looking for, could very well alienate the fanbase they already have. While I didn’t notice any huge changes to how Destiny played and felt, I also haven’t played the original game since Rise of Iron released last year. As someone who doesn’t know the gameplay like the back of my hand, it felt like a very safe sequel to me, but some of the changes they did make seem to not be gelling with the more passionate fans.
Despite my complaints, I’m gonna be buying Destiny 2 when it launches in a few months. Why? Major game releases have become an event, and I don’t really want to miss out. I’m part of the problem in that regard. A lot of my friends will be playing Destiny 2, discussing it nonstop on Twitter, and I just don’t want to feel left out. It’s very likely that my time will mirror my experience with the first game where I complete the story and don’t feel compelled to continue on, but I’d like to believe that something will be different.
I know a lot of people who felt burnt by the original game’s lack of content, and they seem to be in the same position I am. They have their pre-orders locked down, are getting friends to commit to playing, and are giving it a second shot. Maybe we’re all fools, maybe we just want to feel a part of a greater event, but I can’t help but feel stupid that I’ll inevitably play something I’m not all that jazzed about.
For more Destiny 2 beta impressions, find out why Chandler Wood believes that Ghaul is the villain Destiny has always needed.