Destiny 2 EDZ Exploration Hands-On Impressions – Watch 45 Minutes of Gameplay

The European Dead Zone. The EDZ. Long has it been a location that Destiny players have wanted to explore as hints about it relevance have permeated the lore. We’ve had glimpses through Crucible maps, but Destiny 2 is finally giving players the opportunity to delve into an environment both haunting and dangerous, the ghosts of the Golden Age faintly shimmering through overgrown husks of buildings, Fallen wreckage, and Red Legion firebases.

First spawning into the area presents you with the eerie architecture of a ruined Europe cast in hues of green and blue. The church houses Devrim Kay, the EDZ’s resident NPC. He acts as the faction representative, taking EDZ tokens earned while patrolling and turning them into faction reputation that can earn you reward packages specific to the zone. This makes patrolling destinations in Destiny 2 feel rewarding no matter what you choose to do. Everything feeds into building that faction rep, whether it’s doing patrols, public events, exploring Lost Sectors, or just about anything else you can do in the EDZ.

Destiny 2 EDZ

Destiny 2 takes familiar elements and twists them, taking the opportunity to improve on the first game. Now you can trigger heroic events by meeting certain hidden requirements during the encounter, which will change the objective and improve the rewards. This little change makes public events a lot more involved than they previously were. They are also much more frequent, with public events constantly going somewhere within the EDZ. The ability to check these on your map and fast travel to locations means that tracking down and completing public events goes from being a chore to being a fun distraction as you travel through the European Dead Zone.

Lost Sectors and adventures are new to Destiny 2. Lost Sectors prompt exploration of the environment, digging into every nook and cranny to find rewards, and adventures take on the task of being side missions, providing some lore and narrative outside of the main storyline. I still don’t see what all the fuss is about Lost Sectors. To me they appeared to be nothing more than a short path with a semi-difficult enemy and loot chest at the end. I still had fun exploring these side paths, but they didn’t feel particularly special when put into context of the rest of the things you can do on patrols.

A World Full of Story

As a fiend for Destiny lore, adventures are what stuck out the most to me. When I wasn’t fiercely distracted by every public event that popped up on my map, I loved taking these one, getting more dialog from the characters and learning just a little bit more about the world. Did you know that the Cabal are made up of multiple species? You’ll learn that and a whole lot more if you take on the adventures in the EDZ. You also get to know the characters a little more deeply, and it provides a fun opportunity to inject some lore directly into the world and environment. That firebase you’re always passing on patrols isn’t just something an environmental artist placed. Now it has a story behind it.

In addition to lore from the adventures, you’ll find the world littered with scannable objects that provide a little bit of additional story. They are easy to overlook and pass over for those that don’t want to get caught up in it, but if you do, keep an eye out for the Ghost symbol in the upper right corner of the screen. This means that there is a scannable object nearby that will provide a little bit of backstory, or just a fun bit of trivia about the world the Guardians are fighting in.

Coming from a longtime Destiny fan, it’s exciting to have the opportunity to explore a new world, to be in an environment that I didn’t know like the back of my hand. Things to do are plentiful, and it’s entirely possible to be doing an adventure while a patrol is active and have a public event spawn in next to the entrance to a Lost Sector. That’s not even considering there may be a high value target nearby, along with chests  littered about the world. And after you complete all that? Return to Devrim Kay and feel rewarded for a patrol well done.

Destiny 2 EDZ 2

My time in the EDZ didn’t even take the endgame of Destiny 2 into account, and already I want to get back to just running around that world. If there’s that much to do before reaching the end, the possibilities that lie in store to perpetuate Destiny 2’s endgame loop seem monumental. If you want to get a better look at the EDZ, I’ve got 45 minutes of gameplay that goes through everything I just talked about, and might show off a few Easter eggs for some keen eyed Guardians willing to look.

You can look forward to our impressions of the full game around the September 6th launch date, though we’ll be holding our full scored review until we can get a significant amount of time with Destiny 2 post launch.

Destiny 2 EDZ impressions gained from a hands-on event. Travel and accommodations provided by Activision.