- Engaging and fluid gunplay mechanics
- Stunning graphics and intricate world design
- Deep character customization and progression
- Active, passionate, and large community
- Frequent balancing issues impacting gameplay
- Polarization and division within the community
- Some exclusive content can give paying players an edge
This online multiplayer first-person shooter (FPS) has carved its own niche in the crowded space of looter-shooters, offering a sprawling space opera storyline infused with RPG elements that harks back to Bungie’s previous exploits. Now, with several expansions and seasons under its belt, Destiny 2 has gone through significant changes and improvements since its launch in 2017, warranting a comprehensive reexamination.
In this review, we will explore the four cornerstones of Destiny 2’s experience: Gameplay, Graphics, Community & Population, and its monetization strategy. By the end, we hope to provide a detailed snapshot of Destiny 2 in its current state and deliver a verdict on whether it’s worth your time and possibly your dime. Buckle up for an in-depth analysis of the evolving universe of Destiny 2.
Gameplay: A Fusion of Shooters, RPGs, and MMOs
Destiny 2 brings to life the quintessential looter-shooter experience, combining the intensity of first-person shooting mechanics with the captivating allure of role-playing game (RPG) elements such as loot, character progression, classes, and more.
The core gameplay loop focuses on engaging in missions or quests, defeating enemies, and obtaining rewards in the form of weapons, armor, and other beneficial items to improve your character. This gameplay loop is well-trodden ground in the genre, but Destiny 2 manages to set itself apart through a combination of masterful gunplay, diverse content, and a class system that allows players to personalize their approach to combat.
First and foremost, Bungie’s heritage as the creator of the Halo franchise shines through in Destiny 2’s gunplay. The handling of the game’s extensive arsenal of weapons is satisfying and impactful, with each gun carrying a unique weight and feel. From hand cannons that deal hefty blows to nimble pulse rifles, the gunplay here is arguably some of the best in the genre.
It’s visceral, precise, and most importantly, fun. Each encounter with the game’s variety of alien species feels fresh, intense, and demanding, thanks to the AI’s competent behaviors and the different tactical approaches that the game’s diverse environments encourage.
In addition to the gunplay, the game’s class and ability system adds an extra layer of strategy and personalization to the mix. Players can choose between three classes: Titan, Hunter, and Warlock, each with its own unique abilities and playstyles.
Titans, akin to the traditional RPG tank archetype, can soak up damage and protect the team; Hunters, the agile damage dealers, can quickly eliminate enemies and evade attacks; and Warlocks, filling the role of a mage or healer, can heal allies or unleash devastating energy blasts. This diversity in playstyle not only gives the player freedom to choose their preferred approach to combat but also encourages team synergy in multiplayer modes.
Beyond the main storyline missions, Destiny 2 offers a wide array of content that caters to various player types. Strikes are co-op missions for three players with a specific storyline and boss to defeat, Nightfalls are harder versions of Strikes with modifiers to up the ante, and Raids are six-player activities that demand team coordination to conquer complex tasks. PvP enthusiasts can test their mettle in the Crucible, Destiny 2’s player-versus-player arena, while Gambit offers a unique mode that combines both PvP and PvE elements.
However, Destiny 2 is not without its gameplay flaws. The game’s commitment to a regular content cycle, often referred to as “seasons,” has created a somewhat turbulent gameplay experience.
Some content is vaulted (removed) to make way for new additions, which can often lead to fan-favorite Strikes or Raids disappearing from the game.
Moreover, the grind for the best gear can sometimes feel like a tedious slog, especially for casual players who may find the game’s RNG-based loot system frustratingly fickle.
Lastly, the complexity of the game’s systems and mechanics can be daunting for new players, with a relatively steep learning curve that could potentially deter some.
In summary, the gameplay of Destiny 2 offers a rewarding blend of fast-paced first-person shooter mechanics, RPG-style progression, and strategic class-based play. Its extensive array of content will likely have something for everyone, be it narrative-driven missions, cooperative Strikes and Raids, or competitive multiplayer in the Crucible. But, its content structure and RNG-loot grind might pose as significant roadblocks for some players.
Graphics: Striking Visuals and Atmospheric Worlds
Destiny 2’s graphics and art design deserve commendation. The game is visually stunning, featuring diverse environments across various celestial bodies, each with a distinct aesthetic and atmosphere. The level of detail is impressive, from the majestic skyscapes to the intricate design of alien architecture and weaponry.
Character and enemy designs are also noteworthy. The alien species are imaginative and intimidating, and the Guardian classes have distinctive appearances that can be further customized with numerous gear and shader options.
Performance-wise, Destiny 2 runs smoothly on different platforms, maintaining a consistent frame rate even in intense combat scenarios. Graphical fidelity has improved with recent updates, especially on next-gen consoles and high-end PCs. The graphical charm of Destiny 2 definitely adds to the overall immersive experience.
Community & Population: Engaging But Divided
The Destiny 2 community is vast, active, and passionate. Community engagement is visible through the busy in-game social spaces, fan forums, and groups that organize Raid parties or PvP teams. However, the community is often polarized over certain game aspects, such as balance issues, content removal, and microtransactions.
Player population fluctuates based on the current state of the game, the quality of the most recent update, and the community’s satisfaction. Despite periods of decrease, the overall population has remained healthy, partly due to the game’s transition to a Free-to-Play model and regular content updates.
Is It Free-to-Play or Pay-To-Win: Accessible But Complicated
Since 2019, Destiny 2 adopted a Free-to-Play model with the base game and select expansions made available for free. This has certainly increased accessibility and attracted a larger player base. However, new expansions and seasons still require purchase.
While Destiny 2 can’t be strictly classified as Pay-to-Win, some elements may give paying players an edge. For instance, certain premium content offers exclusive weapons or gear that could enhance performance. Nevertheless, the majority of these can be earned through gameplay and non-paying players can still compete effectively.
Microtransactions are present, mainly for cosmetic items. Despite controversies surrounding this, they don’t drastically affect the gameplay and are largely optional.
Conclusion: An Evolving Journey of Light and Shadow
Destiny 2, despite its share of highs and lows, has consistently provided an engaging, challenging, and satisfying gaming experience.
Its gameplay is a testament to Bungie’s prowess in creating compelling shooter mechanics. The game’s stunning graphics and design create a captivating universe that encourages exploration and immersion.
While the community can be divided, it remains active and passionate. The Free-to-Play model, although complicated by expansion costs and microtransactions, has generally broadened the game’s appeal and accessibility.