‘Destiny 2’ Early Beta Impressions

Let’s get this out of the way, the worst part about Destiny 2 is the fact that it plays almost identical to Destiny. Luckily for Bungie and Activision, that just happens to be it’s biggest strength. The Destiny 2 beta kicks off with the Homecoming mission, with the Cabal leading an assault against the tower and the traveller, and ends with a brief showdown with Destiny 2’s main antagonist, Ghaul. The first thing I immediately noticed was that Bungie made the decision to map shotguns and sniper rifles to the power weapon slot, switching it from the heavy slot is was in the first Destiny. This is most jarring in The Crucible, where everyone seemed to have a shotgun and a sniper in their loadout in the first game.

Luckily, even with these tweaks, the gameplay remains intact. Guns still feel great to shoot, and tearing through crowds of Cabal is as satisfying as ever. There’s a new strike to take on, The Inverted Spire. I ran through this a few times, and it took about an hour. It could be because I’m rusty, or it could be all the Mario Kart I’ve been playing, but the strikes are harder than I remember. Granted, there’s always going to be new gear and guns to find that could help more than the ones that the Destiny 2 beta defaulted me with.

Destiny 2 is overwhelmingly beautiful. The colors are vibrant, the environments are incredibly detailed, and the animations are smooth. It was a little jarring moving from really smooth cutscenes and exploration to explosive firefights where the framerate would drop significantly. However, it didn’t impact the experience that the Destiny 2 beta gives players. Normally, it would pull me out of whatever narrative I’m a part of, but every battle was so intense that it didn’t bother me at all.

I had also forgotten how much fun it was to play in The Crucible in the year or so since I played any multiplayer on Destiny. I wish there had been one or two more maps made available in the beta, but seeing as it’s still a few months away, Bungie probably doesn’t want to show us too much too early. Just like with the strike, I remember being way better at competitive multiplayer than my showing during the beta. I keep telling myself it’s because of the tweaks to the power and heavy weapon categorization, and I’m hoping it also has to do with the weapons made available. There will be more available in the full game, but small map, quick firefights, and weapon handling are some of my best experiences in Destiny.

That’s a testament to how strong Destiny’s gameplay really is. It didn’t matter how bad I was doing, or how bad my team was losing, one specific match saw two of my teammates leave during the loading sequence, but I wanted to stick around. I wanted to shoot loud guns and defeat as many other players as possible. My only regret is not having more friends that played the beta, because Destiny 2 is a social game, especially during strike missions. When September 6th rolls around, I may end up buying Destiny 2 for a few friends, because with the gameplay and strong narrative intact, Bungie has another winner here.

Destiny 2 is available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One September 6th 2017, and PC October 24th, with it’s Beta starting in early August. This preview was based on a PS4 code provided by the publisher.

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