Destiny 2 is arguably one of the biggest games arriving this year, aiming to rectify the shortcomings of the first game while expanding and evolving the great bits. I got the chance to go hands-on with the upcoming title’s beta to see what Destiny 2 has on offer so far.
From the get-go, it’s clear that Destiny 2’s story plays a bigger role than the original game’s. Instead of cryptic allusions, you’re given the context from the beginning. The Beta includes one campaign mission (assumably the first in the game) to give you a feeling of the shooting and quest mechanics, rather than bragging about the wealth of XP and loot elements – the carrots on the end of the stick – that the final game will undoubtedly be abundant with.
Gunplay remains largely unchanged, which isn’t a bad thing. Destiny always had a great feeling and variety in its weapon feel and types, and that’s present here too. Machine-guns, rifles and energy weapons have a different effect and control to them, and the weapon slots have been overhauled, but the core mechanics remain the same. You can also try out one of three classes (Titan, Warlock, and Hunter) and their respective abilities, giving you some variety in how you’d like to play the game. The environments are designed with a lot more verticality in mind, so prepare for a lot of jumping.
Another new interesting thing was how other players joined. During certain portions of the Strike mission, other players jumped in on the gunfights and action. It wasn’t even clear when or how this happened, which is great, because it creates that seamless integration scenario from a great campaign moment into an MMO-esque bonanza.
While much of the gameplay is familiar territory, Destiny 2 does up the ante in the visuals department. The environments are large, gorgeous, and full of colour, while NPCs and character models have undergone a makeover. The game looks and feels more alive, and if there’s still improvements and fine tuning to be done, Destiny 2 is going to be one of the best looking games of the year.
It’s clear that the Beta is only a smidgen of what awaits in Destiny 2. And while it didn’t showcase the game’s full potential, it scratched the surface enough to reveal that more care, time, and patience has been put into what makes these sorts of games enjoyable: solid gameplay, smooth multiplayer, and addictive missions. The more direct, structured nature of the campaign, along with the accessibility of the multiplayer component makes Destiny 2 a very exciting prospect in my books.