by RILEY GOLDEN//Entertainment Editor
As a Guardian, you must reclaim your Light and travel the Solar System to protect The Last City of Earth.
In “Destiny 2,” players take up the mantle of Guardian and choose from three different classes: Warlock, Titan, and Hunter.
According to the game’s description of the classes, the Warlocks “weaponize the mysteries of the universe to sustain themselves and devastate their foes,” and the Titans are “disciplined and proud, [they] are capable of both aggressive assaults and stalwart defenses.”
The Hunters, “agile and daring, [are] quick on their feet and quicker on the draw,” is the primary class I play with. The Hunter’s class armor is a hooded cloak, which is what attracts me to the class.
The three Guardian classes all have three different subclasses as well. The new subclass bestowed upon Hunters is called “Arcstrider.” When activated, the Hunter begins glowing blue and uses a staff to wreak havoc on the battlefield. The second subclass unlocked as a Hunter is the original subclass from the first game called “Gunslinger,” which makes the Hunter glow like fire and wield a hand canon that kills everything but the big guys in one hit. The third subclass available is called “Nightstalker,” though I have yet to unlock it.
The Red Legion are a group of Cabal – a large and stocky humanoid species – led by Dominus Ghaul. Ghaul is on a mission to rid the universe of Light, which is what The Traveler harnesses to provide the Guardians with their power.
At the beginning of the game, you lose your light and you must travel to the European Dead Zone, Earth, where a shard of the Traveler lies. This gives the Guardian access to their new subclass, which renews the ability to respawn near to where you died instead of having to go back to a checkpoint. When participating in an event or going on an adventure, you will enter “No Respawning Zones.” But, most of the time, while exploring planets, you’ll be able to respawn within three seconds of dying.
In the “Destiny” franchise, the area of the planet that players have access to is completely open world. In “Destiny,” adventures took players to Old Russia, Earth, as well as colonized areas of the moon, Mars, and Venus. In “Destiny 2,” Guardians can go to the European Dead Zone, Earth, Nessus, a centaur planet (centaur planets are minor planets that have unstable orbits), Titan, a moon of Saturn, and Io, a moon of Jupiter.
The European Dead Zone sets the stage perfectly for the game’s locations, the first location that Guardians have access to. The first thing you see is beautiful cathedral in ruins, with buildings on both sides for as far as you can see. It isn’t dissimilar to the first game, but it’s still brand new.
Then there’s Nessus, a planetoid with an irregular orbit that’s been converted by the Vex for unknown reasons. The landscape of Nessus is beautiful, being covered in beautiful shades of red and orange, and containing a beautiful emerald atmosphere.
Titan, an ocean-moon of Saturn, has been colonized and there is a massive rig, similar to Texas oil rigs, that makes up the area that the Guardians can explore. There are abandoned boats and rigs a short distance away. Being able to look up and clearly see Saturn is breath-taking.
Finally, there’s Io, a moon of Jupiter. Io’s landscape is made up of open canyons that are bright shades of green and aqua. Because of this, it’s probably my favorite “rock” to explore in “Destiny 2.” All of the planets seem to have a day and night cycle, and on Io, Guardians can encounter the Taken, the Vex, the Fallen, and the Cabal, like on most of the other planets.
The Cabal are with the Red Legion, the Vex are robots with their own mysterious goals, and the Fallen are a humanoid race of pirates with four arms and two legs. There is also the Hive, a creepy humanoid species that lived in the catacombs underneath the Moon’s surface. The Taken are “taken,” or possessed, versions of some of the other enemies in the game. All of the different species of enemies have weak, easily killed members of their species, that can still overwhelm you, or strong, heavy-hitting enemies that eat bullets for breakfast. Whether you’re just exploring or doing an activity, combat is almost always intense.
Compared to the first “Destiny,” “Destiny 2” seems to have a lot more activities and a deeper story. “Patrols” have returned, which are usually small objectives that you can get from beacons on whichever planet you’re on. There are “Adventures” that take Guardians on a quest with a minor subplot, but they’re fun and they provide a broader context for the game. And, the campaign seems to have much more structure than that of the first game. Public Events have returned, which are minor but hard events to complete – if you’re alone. It being a Public Event means that any other Guardians playing in the same area on the same planet can participate in the event, and the more Guardians, the easier the event is.
There are also “Raids” and “Strikes” that Guardians can take part in. Strikes take you and two other online players to a planet for a hardcore mission during which you might die several times, but “Raids” are exponentially crazier, and harder, to participate in.
I thoroughly enjoyed the one Strike that I was able to participate in, but the “Raids” are only available for a limited time, require six players, and do not have a matchmaking option, which leaves people who don’t have an online community out of luck. Upon completing each activity or killing enemies, player earns glimmer – the game’s currency – and at least one reward.
“The Crucible” has returned as the franchise’s PvP, or Player versus Player, and it feels much more balanced than the first game. When you’re a level 12 and you decide to hop in the Crucible, you won’t get destroyed by level 20s as badly as you would have in the first “Destiny.” One thing I really don’t like about the PvP matchmaking is that you just get thrown into a playlist of random game types, when I would just like to play Team Deathmatch. Team Deathmatch is a game type made popular by the “Call of Duty” franchise, in which the only objective is to kill the opposing team, versus having to play some variation of Capture the Flag or King of the Hill.
To survive all of the enemies on the adventures through the solar system, Guardians need to take advantage of their rewards. At the beginning of the game, the player starts with very low-level weapons and armor. As you progress through the campaign and level up, you start to unlock cooler and more powerful weapons and armor. These rewards come in the form of Engrams, a polyhedron with 12 faces, which can be dropped by dead enemies or picked up as rewards for completing activities.
The weapons range from side-arms and hand cannons to assault rifles and three-round-burst pulse rifles, as well as special weapons that range from shotguns and rocket launchers to swords. There are also many armor collections or sets, and they come in a variety of colors. You can also unlock shaders that can drastically change the looks of your helmet, cloak, gauntlets, leg armor, chest armor, weapons, ship, or Sparrow.
As a Guardian, your Sparrow – which is basically a hover bike – is your means of getting around. But there’s a catch that didn’t exist in the first “Destiny.” The player has to reach level 20 or finish the campaign to unlock a sparrow. This makes getting around in the first 25 hours or so of the game kind of a chore, but it also gives you the ability to admire the landscapes and horizons of the planets and moons more.
As you climb the ranks from level 1 to level 20, you unlock things at a pretty fast rate. Sometimes it’s super cool, and sometimes it’s super disappointing. But, even though level 20 is technically the max rank for the game, once you get there, that’s when the game really opens up to the players.
The different vendors at The Farm and on the planets will reward you with “Legendary Engrams” for completing a lot of tasks for them. Although you can unlock the Engrams before reaching level 20, you can’t “decrypt” them, or use them, until you’ve reached level 20.
The Farm is the Guardians’, social hub, where you can meet up with other players and purchase weapons and armor with glimmer, as well as receive and decrypt “Legendary Engrams.”
On the trail to level 20, there’s a good chance you will complete part or all of the campaign, and you’ll realize that Bungie, the developer, really upped their game when it came to the “Destiny 2” campaign. There are more cinematic scenes and the narrative really steers the campaign. The first game also had a campaign, though it was shorter and less fleshed out.
“Destiny 2” wouldn’t be what it is without its magnificent score, which invokes similar sounds to the “Halo” scores, which really inspires a sense of nostalgia.
“Destiny 2” is developed by Bungie, the same company that developed the “Halo” series, and is rated “T for Teens.” It is a First-Person Shooter, Action/Adventure, and Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game that was released on Sept. 6 on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. It will come to PC on Oct. 25.
“Destiny 2” takes Guardians on a beautiful, epic quest through the Solar System. It seems like Bungie really doubled-down on all of the aspects that made the first game great, and released an extremely fun and polished game. I give “Destiny 2” a 9 out of 10.