A review after what I said about the beta? Am I crazy!? Well yes, possibly. So for those that don’t know; I previously played a bit of Destiny on both PS3 and PS4, but more recently I found my love for playing Betas of games getting the better of me and had a go on the beta of Destiny2 on PS4. It didn’t go too well… (click here for that).
Ok, So here goes…
The game feels like it’s undergone a lot of changes since the Beta. Which isn’t particularly surprising but welcome nonetheless. Character creators nice. It’s a shame you couldn’t do that while it was installing (for the second time). Yes developers partial installations on console games is still more of an irritation than a feature. You’ll note that PC games don’t do that for a bloody good reason.
I think I need to clarify something. I have a problem with Destiny in general and Destiny2 has refined it so well that I can finally explain it. The game is just not as dramatic as it thinks it is. It thinks it’s “epic” but all it is otherworldly. This feeling is desperately trying to be reflected in all cutscenes but comes off as overbearing. It’s most obvious in the music. You can’t go five seconds in Destiny2 without a huge orchestral piece and a feeling you should be more wowed than you are. Granted there are some great tracks but these tend to be smaller or focused mission moments rather than the grandiose story. It’s a bit ott for me and feels like it’s trying to be bigger for it’s own bloated marketing sake. Great but “world ending” (literally) for its own self centred importance rather than having anything at stake. It could be because I came into 2 with only a passing knowledge but this is being sold as a stand alone package so it should be reviewed as such. All that said, the game really does shine when it scrubs away all that nonsense and focuses on a few interesting personalities and sections.
The gunplay spot on. No seriously. The game is World of Warcraft with guns so it had to get this right and it does with gusto. Each weapon feels tactically different and the skills and specials feel significantly unique. The platforming starts out floaty and the platforming like mirrors edge doesn’t help but eventually it settles down into a Titanfall2-esque feel and just goes from there. It doesn’t take long to get a feel for the mechanics and picking up loot weapons to further power up your Guardian works. It’s just a shame the game doesn’t explain a lot of this and you have to simply get a feel for it through trial and error (the jumping especially). Upgrading skills does eventually become arbitrary with most levels simply unlocking them rather than increasing the effect of existing.
I mentioned World Of Warcraft as the structure is the same. An MMO game with open world levels with things to do but some story mode instances that gate you in instances for you and your party. Others that you can do while dipping in and out of public events. The community is pretty good with people running over to revive you if you get stuck or if your clearly struggling. The problem is your limited to 3 emotes for replying which results in a lot of dancing. Bungie should really be selling this game under a subscription model as well rather than each instance being a new game. It’s clearly an MMO and should be sold as such. Still why sell for some money when you can have all the money?
Now regardless of how bitter the systems that are built up around it are, there’s no denying; Destiny2 looks great. With each planet having it’s own distinctive colour pallet, theme and effects. It has swathes of character and charm which improve as you progress. To the well trained eye there is a lot of graphically trickery at work here but there’s so much finesse in the craft you can’t help but hand it to them. So much so that a few times I found myself simply taking a screenshot just to appreciate the work that’s clearly gone into the design. Then again, I did do that when playing Wow, it’s an old MMO trick to keep the player coming back through and you do a lot of backtracking in Destiny2. It’s a good thing it looks so good that you rarely care.
Another thing worth mentioning in the list of positives is the amazing voice work. Looking at casting and that makes sense in seconds (as does the budget). Story “mode” is where the majority of it’s at and the script is solid for the story it’s telling. There is a little too much Warhammer 40K here but the unique location-based hub characters are so interesting it’s easy to let it slide. Thankfully it tends to excel when it’s let off from the stiff storyline and the side missions giving the characters extra lines to quip when your nearby shows the talent they’ve got in for this. Even if they do borrow heavily from other franchises (Failsafe is just a little too Glados for my liking).
So for those of you that enjoy PVP, the Crucible is still there. It’s not something that particularly appeals to a story driven mmo player like myself (no I won’t stop harping on about the fact it’s an MMO) and it feels like halo/quake arena more than anything but it does the job with little fuss. It’s fun, it matches up rank and players pretty well. The levels are short and sweet with familiar layouts. Power ammo becoming your “rare drop” on the map that people aim for rather than skills. Character levels make little difference at a quick match but experience in the games mechanics is very telling.
So for this review I’ve mainly played soloed the story mode and a lot of the side quests, dipping into the public events when I see someone else trying them. One thing I’ve noticed is the Ai is both pretty clever and pretty stupid. Each race seems to have its own distinctive tactics; The fallen try to flank, the hive are all about sending waves of drones, the red army seem to just be generic grunts and the Vex seem to be calculating… sometimes. Others you can run around a pillar and they will stand around looking like lost puppies until you remind them you exist. It doesn’t help that the number of enemies is artificially raised on occasion just to cover for multiple players but these tend to only be boss/end encounters, it seems like it should do more for scaling than it does.
So why am I not ending it here? End it with a simple 10/10 go play? Unfortunately Destiny2 is just filled with odd annoying things that are there by design more than accident. In the negative box is a bit of a list that doesn’t really fit into anything (their not really deal breakers par sey). So I’m playing as an exo (a living machine) and early on scavengers attack you while your ghost tells you how, “they worship machines” which just leaves you thinking. “I’m a living machine damn it?!”. The fact the game devours internet is fairly annoying, I realise it’s an MMO. Fair enough but even Elite Dangerous and other PS4 MMORPGs doesn’t chew this much bandwidth and it’s the first PS4 title I’ve ever noticed doing this. I’ve mentioned this before but the speech functions are frustratingly limited, it feels like the touchpad and other games have shown how to do this right and the longer you play the more you remember how good Dark Souls did this (Hell even PSO did it better). The inventory and items interface is still super clunky and sluggish (especially when disposing of duplicate inventory) opting for a horrible no mans sky style point and click rather than a simple system. Oh and the business with the shaders and previous expansions is down right scummy (I had a friend explain how he wasn’t getting into 2 as the previous had left such a bad taste due to that). Lets not forget this is an MMO being sold in chunks as a full priced title with expansions/packs/dlc.
So a mixed bag overall really. Is it fun? Yes. Does every instance feel likes it’s just a bit too long? Yes. It’s frustrating it’s marketed as a stand alone game; to be held with its Cod, Battlefields and such because it’s really not. It’s an interesting mmo fps, set in space with halo mechanics. Is it still going to be fun in a years time when people have moved on and the events that need many people are dead? Or if like me your stuck on Uk internet which is as reliable as our current PM? Probably not. Would it have gotten a 10/10 if it was “Destiny – The service” and you paid £12 for your subscription which just unlocked everything? Yes. Undeniably people would have jumped back in for the 2 and they would have paid at least 4 months to play it as there is just about enough content for that (for now). Still Bungie and Activision have to make back that marketing money somehow.
8/10 with a decent internet connection and the servers being up.
Wait? It’s unplayable without the internet/connection to their server? Because it’s an MMO being sold as a separate title?
Its literally unplayable