The past weekend had one highlight for most console gamers. Destiny 2 released the closed/open beta for PS4 and Xbox One owners with PC getting the other end of the stick and having to wait until August but as it was on a console I actually owned then I can throw my hat into the vault of glass (Haha! Look at my relevant joke!) and break down what the beta had to offer and what you can expect in the full game.
The “Beta” took the starting mission that was shown with the announcement of the game. The tower has been attacked by a very angry commander of the Cabal to take the traveller for himself. Players will be able to get a good feel for how the game is played as the mission does a lot to really highlight the new Cabal forces and how each of the classes will play. My initial impressions were that it felt like a cleaner version of the previous game which is exactly what a sequel should be. The Developers have had a lot of time to take feedback, clean up mechanics and code to make a more fluid and satisfying experience which is what we get here in spades. But in the back of mind I keep thinking that it should have been like this the first-time round. I think that’s my game development degree talking there but hindsight is always there in thought processes.
Anyway, the gunplay is a step up from the previous game especially as they’ve introduced new weapons and tinkered with the already existing armoury to make them have more impact on the world. The actual load out has changed too from having a primary which would be a rifle or revolver or something, a secondary which was fusion rifles, snipers and shotguns and a heavy weapon like rocket launchers and LMGs to breaking up into types but allowing you to have more freedom over your play style. You’ve got kinetic weapons which are good ol’ fashioned bullets, energy weapons and then a heavy slot for grenade launchers and such. Personally, I prefer this set up as I can fall into my old FPS mindset and have a Assault rifle, sub machine gun or pistol as a backup and a grenade launcher for big explosions. The freedom here allows you to set up your class and your weapons to fulfil a particular battle role and that is a huge step up from Destiny.
The classes have changed a bit too. Destiny is not really an expansion in some areas but not really a sequel in others. Some expansions add classes or change them dramatically but as a fully-fledged sequel you’d expect dramatic changes but the classes haven’t changed too much. You’ve got Titan, Hunter and Warlock but they all have new ultimate and new class abilities but the grenades seem the same. The Warlock which is my preferred class has gained more support skills like an area in which party members can heal or gain attack speed and damage. This is again an improvement as it adds a bit more depth to the classes and defines them a bit more for strikes and raids because utility can make or break the fireteam in a boss fight. Mechanics and gameplay wise the beta got me excited for Destiny 2 as it’s the fine-tuned version of the previous game which I think might bring back a lot of players who ended up leaving destiny before. Whether the content in the game will hold us on for a long time remains to be said.
Content wise in the beta you had the story mission, the strike that was shown off called “The Inverted Spire” and having a look at Crucible 2.0. The crucible has been altered a bit from having 6v6 to 4v4 like more traditional bungie style as the slayer game mode in halo was 4v4. This should be familiar but allow for more players to excel plus with the competitive mode, players will have more to work for in terms of player versus player. The competitive mode is basically the same as Counter-Strike’s. There are two bombsites, one team is attacking and trying to plant the bomb and the other is defending and trying to defuse the bomb if it gets planted. Minus the fact that you don’t have to buy weapons this should take well for competitive players as it encourages high level plays and clutch situations with ultimates and skills on top of gunplay.
The cards show that the signs are good when it comes to Destiny 2. Bungie have clearly listened to the community and have acted on that by cleaning up the mechanics and design in order to be adaptable, exciting and fluid to encourage players to explore and build themselves to be what they want to be. The classes may not be fresh but the utility changes do add a bit more depth which was really needed in the previous title. All that remains is that bungie make sure that there is enough content for players to have a go at especially at the end game and make that content interesting enough to keep players around. One worry they have to make sure to quell is that the game’s feel and content could have just been an expansion pack over a full sequel but that remains to be seen. I would suggest bringing back the nightfall strikes, monthly updates perhaps with new events and missions and possibly a campaign arc made up of strikes which can be added month after month to keep players in and allow the development team to work on other things while players are occupied. Plus make sure the grenade launcher stays as it is because it’s so much fun to use.