As we head in to the weekend and the Destiny 2 Beta is now open to both consoles, let’s take a look back at some initial thoughts and impressions.
1. THIS IS GOING TO BE A MIDDLE CHAPTER
From everything that I’ve seen so far, it has all the markings of a classic “middle chapter” of a story. When we left D1, things seemed to be fairly well resolved with a few loose threads left that are typically left to the non-specific explanation of “we’ll send out patrols to mop up the remaining forces”. However, a new adversary has arrived, and has disarmed us of our greatest weapon: The Light of the Traveler. I expect us to experiment with dark forces here, much like Mass Effect 2 when we worked with Cerebus and Halo 2 when we teamed up with factions of the Covenant.
2. GRENADE LAUNCHER FEELS AWESOME, BUT SEEMS UNDERPOWERED
The non-descriptive “feel” of the Grenade Launcher is SO satisfying! The sound effect of its launch, the recoil, and the controller vibration are calibrated perfectly! BUT that all seems for naught given the little amount of damage it is currently delivering both in PvE and especially in PvP. I expect that to get patched and balanced appropriately by full game release, so I’m currently not too worried about it.
3. LOVE THE NEW VISUAL STYLES
Everything about this game is beautiful. The gun designs are stunning. The armor pieces are stylish. The ships are more diverse. Everything has a resolution upgrade*. The skyboxes and background imagery in the strike are deep and scenic. The environment teams went all out for this release!
*Full disclosure: I have converted from XB1 to PS4 for this, so I am unsure on how much of this upgrade is due to the differences in platforms. I will note that other bloggers and YouTubers have expressed similar observations, so this item will remain in my list.
4. GUARDIAN ABILITIES ARE MORE CONTEXTUAL
Particularly melee skills, new Guardian abilities now have contextual effects embedded in them. Therefore, your melee may not just deal additional damage, but if done in conjunction with other happenings additional effects trigger. For example: if your Hunter dodges while close to an enemy then your melee will recharge. If your melee kills an enemy then your dodge will recharge, creating quite the loop.
5. NEW WEAPON LOADOUTS FEEL AWKWARD
This is something that I will just have to get used to through extended play as well as a complete offering of weapon mods and skill combinations. Right now the oddest thing will be transitioning from having a 3 tiered approach to weapons to a “2.5 tiered” system. It made sense when we had primary that was reliable but relatively weak, a secondary that packed a punch but had limited ammo, and then your heavy and wreaked devastation but was mostly used in specific instances. Having, what is best described in D1 terms, 2 primaries and 1 power will require some re-calibration on the player’s part.
6. WHY IS ONLY 1 GUARDIAN ALLOWED TO ACQUIRE POWER AMMO AT A TIME IN PvP?
Seriously, though! In PvP the way it stands as I am writing this, when Power ammo becomes available, you rush over to it’s spawn point and hold your interaction button. In D1 we had a chest that popped with multiple heavy ammo boxes but now there’s a single pack on a wall that provides it to whomever gets it first. Granted, the cool down for the ammo is greatly reduced (3min?), but still, it seems odd to me. Is this a balancing issue to make everyone rely on gunplay more? Is this to prevent a team from jacking all the heavy and therefor dominating their opposition?
7. SO MANY SHADERS
So I’ve got mixed feelings about a part of the game that affects the actual gameplay and lore in no way whatsoever. Firstly, I think it is awesome that ships and guns now have shaders that will allow more personalization. Additionally I think it is great that ships (other vehicles?) have shaders because in D1, the additional “Ships” that you purchased/obtained were re-skinned models. Rather than having an entire new “ship” to swap out with you will now have the same ship but with alternate paint jobs. Perfect!
As for the armor pieces, I am not too keen on this. Personally I would prefer the same concept from D1 where our entire appearance would change based on a full body shader. Having the option to potentially apply a different shader to each piece is just excessive. #CrankyOldMan
8. THANK YOU FOR GIVING VOID TITAN OFFENSIVE CAPABILITIES
While the Defender Titan was absolutely crucial to may aspects of D1, it got to be quite boring during some encounters. The Ward of Dawn is helpful in almost any situation, but when your team is on the offensive it disrupts the momentum if to get the DPS buff you have to fall back to an old rally point. Going all Captain America style is a great addition to our arsenal!
9. THERE IS A LOT OF INFO ON SCREEN IN PvP
In addition to your typical info such as ammo, ability cooldown, and a few match stats, you now have an array of icons displaying how many guardians are active, what subclass they are using, is their super ready, and in Control the rally points now have names in addition to their standard A/B/C label. Maybe I am not enough of a PvP enthusiast to appreciate all the information available on the new HUD. Maybe I am too much of a filthy casual to see the use of having this much data available to me at all times. Thankfully the placement of this info is out of the way of the main viewing area so it won’t affect my play as much as it could. Just be prepared for your periphery to be taken up by blinking notifications on all sides!
10. CLASS ABILITIES FURTHER DIFFERENTIATE THE CLASSES
This is the single most greatest thing to happen to Destiny gameplay. In previous blog posts on past sites that I’ve written on, the 3 main classes felt similar to a degree except for when you would pop your super, with the addition of the Shadow Stalker being the outlier with its release. For the most part, all the melee abilities are a “Super Punch” with a few added effects and the different grenade types were effectively the same combination of a few mechanics with different elemental types. Now, the additional Class Abilities that span
all 3 both subclasses adds a deeper level of tactical approach. Now, the Titan and always provide a wall for protection, a Warlock can always provide either a health or DPS boost at a strategic rally point, and the Hunter will always have increased mobility on the heat of battle. Definitely a welcomed expansion of powers!
Destiny is set to release on September 6, 2017 on XB1, PS4, and PC.