Bungie have returned with Destiny 2 – how does it shape up against the original?

Destiny 2 throws players headfirst into the Tower. All communications are down, and the satellites outside are no longer relaying information. Zavala realises this isn’t a glitch, and the Cabal Red Legion are hurled into the mix. They attack the Tower and the Last City, and leave everything you’ve ever known in the rubble. Allow Cayde-6 to put it nicely here:

Those who played the original will know exactly what Destiny is all about. It’s a multiplayer, online-only first-person-shooter. You are a Guardian, gifted with Light by the mysterious Traveller, that allows you to jump higher and be an all-round better guy than the everyday human. You can also be revived by your handy Ghost, who follows you around and helps you out with what you’re meant to be doing. He’s also really good at answering questions on your behalf.

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

The first thing that hits you in the Destiny 2 campaign is the score. It’s beautiful. It’s reflective of what’s going on around you, and really draws you in on those more serious moments. If you get a chance to suspend your gunfire for a second, you’ll want to really listen in to the music.

Anyway, onto the story. The Red Legion – led by Dominus Ghaul – has arrived to take the Traveller, because they don’t think we humans are worthy of its Light. He’s even kidnapped the Speaker. D2 does a great job of throwing you in headfirst into isolation – you’ve lost everything, and the game doesn’t let you forget it. Your weapons are gone, your home is gone, and your friends are gone. It’s you against the world – for a little while, at least.

I, personally, love the Cabal (headshots make a particularly satisfying ‘pop’ sound), so I would have been more than content with a whole game that revolved around them as the enemy. I can see how that would have become tiresome, and am resultingly grateful that they’ve included more than one type of baddie. The Cabal do have hellhounds this time ’round, though, so prepare for a few additional surprises – including Fallen Tusken Raider/Rafiki monsters.

Of course, the end goal of Destiny 2 is to find Dominus ‘Anakin Vilgax’ Ghaul, and put a bullet in his head, but it’s how you get there that makes up the bulk of the challenges. There are new planets to explore this time, including Jupiter’s moon Io, and a bunch of new loot to farm too. Of course, your Hunters, Titans, and Warlocks also each have a new subclass for you to play around with if you’re sick of throwing flaming hammers at Fallen Walkers. Everything in D2 just seems more streamlined. You’ve got a world map – with fast travel points – and Public Events now show up with a location and timer, so say goodbye to those third-party websites that you used to need to track them. New characters become your main points of contact on each of the planets after completing a certain chunk of the story, and completing events and taking down high value targets will earn you tokens that you can use to increase your reputation with. Gideon Emery does a damn good Iain Glen impression as the new, chiselled Devrim Kay, and all the oldies return for their regular roles, too.

Your weapons are gone, your home is gone, and your friends are gone. It’s you against the world.

Considering your Light has been taken from you, how your gear works in this iteration is slightly different – but pretty much only in that it’s called Power Level now, instead of Light Level. Good luck getting yours up over 9000, though. And, as always, Bungie continue to be very socially aware, chucking a few pop culture references into the dialogue – and even poking fun at themselves in places (though we’ll let you discover those for yourselves).

D2 does improve upon the original in a number of ways, but unfortunately does stumble in places – not enough to deter you from sticking around, though. For some reason you can’t replay story missions – instead, you’re limited to three per week that Bungie have pre-allocated. You will also notice that you’re forced to grind Public Events if you want to get the highest powered gear, but you’ll see a better drop rate for higher powered stuff than in the previous game. So, more of the same, really, except this time RNGesus has your back.

It’s worth noting, too, that this review is being published without the first Nightfall Strike (high difficulty Strike) being live, so we haven’t had a chance to test that out yet. You’ll doubtlessly see us among the first to give it a red hot crack, of course.

It’s not often that a game will creep into the public eye in the way Destiny did. It was a common piece of water cooler chat for the better part of its three year life. Now, it seems the sequel is headed in the same direction, as Bungie’s 10 year plan for the game really gets into full swing. Let’s go, Guardians – the grind waits for no one.

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi