Bungie returns with their own universe, Destiny. While a massive improvement from the first vanilla release, there’s still areas to improve. Those are far outnumbered by the improvements they’ve made. There’s plenty to keep you busy, exploring, and fighting. While still early days, there’s enough here to keep you busy.
This time round Destiny gives us the Red Legion, a faction within the Cabal. Drawn to Earth for the Traveller and the Light it gives off. From the opening cinematic, it’s clear that this was an attack long in the preparation. From there, you must regroup the Vanguard, Zavala, Ikora and Cayde so you can take the fight back to Ghaul and his Red Legion.
Also like before, you have a number of locations to explore, ones that will take you across Earth and into the solar system. The first is the European Dead Zone. While it is hardly as described, there’s plenty of hostile life here which makes Hawthorne’s survival without the Light, with those at her command, that much more impressive. Before long, you’re off to Io, Titan and Nessus, all different locations. Titan is an ocean moon, a great city built on floating platforms, powered from the waves. The people who once lived here had the goal of being totally efficient in their recycling. Io was once the location of a great school, raided by many parties.
The first thing I noticed upon completing the story was just how much more was unlocked. A new social zone, as well as plenty more missions and questions. Ikora allows you replay missions, revisit them with your higher level, ranked gear. Cayde has some maps you can buy from him and more treasures to find in the locations you’ve explored. Collecting Weapon Parts now gives items you can give to the Gunsmith, giving you better weapons. Many contacts now have items you can collect, giving you access to some of the better items.
Patrols, side missions and more return. New additions are the Region chests and Lost Sectors. Lost Sectors are easily a very welcome addition. While generally very short, the best description I can give is that of a mini dungeon. It has an obvious boss, which you defeat to unlock the chest. The gear you can find is pretty good and makes a visit almost always worth it, even if for the tokens required for characters. Earning these tokens is also pretty easy, with the daily challenges and patrols only two ways to earn it.
Most importantly, the story continues after defeating Ghaul. Plenty remains to be discovered, from the lost crew of a shattered ship, to more exploring the effects of the Red Legion. These add a sense of depth and history that I feel lacked in the first vanilla release. Your own history in Destiny as well, is something that can be reviewed here. For all you’ve done, there’s a sense that it’s still ongoing, still continuing. Still developing, which I hope is shown in the world as well as the narrative, characters.
Audio and Visuals
The things I cannot fault are both the visual style and the music. The simple fact is that the sequel has wonderfully continued the visual style of the first. Fallen, Hive, Taken, Cabal and more are back and still quite dangerous. If you played the first, you know where to shoot, how to deal with these foes. The planet, moons, you explore are just as varied and detailed as they were before. Io and Titan, for orbiting the same planet might as well be different planets in their own right. They wonderfully expand on everything done before. While there’s a few additions, they’re in the spirit to the faction they belong to.
I would say one of the biggest improvements is in the voice acting. There’s a lot more said, a lot more character to the NPC’s. A presence they’re given that was lacking from the first. Even the Ghost has more spirit, emotion, feeling to the written dialogue. Other little touches are still here, the sloshing of water as you trudge through a river, the low-pitched hum of waves and machinery. Weapon fire is just as refined, different sounds for each of the weapons. I also want to talk about the music, just perfectly timed across the board.
The core of this game is fundamentally built around the multiplayer. Another improvement is the upgrade to fireteams. Now there are full clans in the game. Not only that, there’s all the modes you got in the first. There’s the Crucible if you’re looking for PvP and Strikes if you’re wanting PvE. There’s some great code underlying this game and I’ve rarely had the same level of disconnects, bugs that I faced when playing the first.
The easiest thing to say is that this is an improvement over the first. That doesn’t cover everything by a long shot. More from the characters, Zavala, Ikora and Cayde, from the side characters you interact with. They’re far more developed than they were at the first. There’s plenty which is just better from the first, however, there are complaints I still have. At the end of the day, despite the items I get, the things I do, the missions I complete, I still don’t feel any real ownership of anything. There’s no space, which is mine. Nor is the ship I have anything more than a prop, the horse on which I ride. I had hoped to see it given greater prominence, a chance to fly it myself. Maybe even dogfight in it.