When it came to reviewing Destiny 2’s beta only one name sprung to mind, our resident Destiny Game Captain, #raidboss and one man wipe machine, iMonkey. Take it away, fella:
So, the Destiny beta has been playable for four days now, which is plenty of time for everyone to have formed an opinion of it, not least because it is so damn short! It consists of one story mission, one strike, and two PvP (Player vs Player) modes. This is not a lot of content, especially for those of us who mainly play Destiny for the PvE (Player vs Environment).
However, in my humble opinion, what is there is pretty damn good. Here’s why: first off, let’s start with the story mission. What a start to the beta, and indeed the game, this was. Playing through it, everything felt fresh and exciting, but with a definite hint of familiarity that came with recognising the Tower. The visuals were stunning, and playing through the mission takes you on an incredible journey, with the main enemy and motive being introduced in all their fiery glory. Gary sure as hell has one point to prove! The mission ends with an incredible cutscene, which really begs the question; what the hell happens next? This start to the story could not have been more perfect, and I’m sure we are all incredibly excited to see where Luke Smith and his team will take us next.
Next we have the strike. Once again, I have to say that the visuals were beyond incredible. The world design that we have seen so far in this game is exemplary, and has created many jaw dropping moments already. I really hope that the world design team can keep this up for the rest of the game, and that we haven’t been virtually cat-fished by one delicious world, only to be greeted with three much shoddier counterparts. The strike itself, in terms of gameplay, felt a little bit stale. The standard Destiny recipe of kill these, hold square, kill these, hold square, kill boss was back and although it is the early days, I would have liked to see some more complex mechanics included, rather than a simple point and shoot layout. That said, the gorgeous graphics helped take my mind off the mundaneness of the actual strike, and meeting some new enemies didn’t do it any harm either.
Then we come to the PvP. This felt, I have to be honest, basically the same as it did in D1. Instead of feeling like a new game, this simply feels like a new update. There are a few positive changes, however, that shouldn’t be overlooked. The new class perks add a certain zest to the gameplay, and the new supers feel well balanced and enjoyable to play. Arcstrider does feel awfully like a re-skin of Bladedancer, however, which is something I think Bungie will need to address in order to keep Hunter mains happy. One very strange change is that Titans take three melees to kill someone from full health, whereas the other two only take two. This seems odd, especially as Titans are meant to be the strong ones of the group. The new PvP mode, Countdown, is just Search and Destroy renamed, which I found a little disappointing. Overall, though, the gameplay feels smooth and the gunfights seem fair, with no weapon leagues above the others, which is a welcome change from D1’s current meta.
There are a few things that affect the whole game experience, which I feel need to be addressed. The ability timer, to me at least, feels like it is working in slow motion. Supers, grenades, and melees all take far too long to recharge, which is something the whole community seems to agree on. I understand that Bungie are trying to counter the horrific ability spam meta that is currently plaguing D1, but this seems like a step too far. The slow super charge ends up with everyone using their Supers right at the end, which is no fun, and very rarely turns the tide of the game, which a good super usage should be able to do. This is one of the main problems of the game at the moment, and it is affecting both PvP and PvE gameplay. The implementation of the double primary, one heavy system is also something that is being hotly debated throughout the community at the moment. Personally, I love having two primaries, as I think the freedom it gives you makes for very interesting gameplay. The feeling of killing someone up close with your hand cannon, then switching to a pulse and decimating that sniping bastard at long range is second to none. However, I really don’t like the current heavy situation. The disparity in power that some of these heavy weapons have is huge. The fusion rifle, for example, feels herculean compared to the puniness of the sniper rifle that we have been given. Putting a high skill weapon such as a sniper rifle in the same weapon category as a point and shoot like a rocket launcher is a brave move, and not one that I necessarily disagree with. However, if they do decide to do this in the full game, then the balancing needs to be a lot better. One of the main redeeming features of D2 PvP is that no gun seems to rise above the other in terms of power, and that is simply not the case with the heavy weapons. I have no problem with the system, but the implementation is horrible, and it is something Bungie needs to work on before the full release of the game.
Overall, I really enjoyed this beta. I think that it shows a lot of promise for the full game. There are certainly flaws, but that is what a Beta is for. It is definitely worth trying before it ends on the 25th, especially if you have never played Destiny before. You never know, we might make Guardians of you yet!