Destiny 2 Review

Richard Walker

Destiny proved a rather divisive beast. Chances are you were either sorely disappointed by the lack of story-based content in the base game, or you sunk countless hours into nurturing your light level and farming for exotics. Destiny 2 is everything that the first game should have been, stuffed to the gills with content and a satisfying narrative that takes in some gorgeous locations across the solar system. Clearly Bungie has been listening, and it seems to have learnt some valuable lessons from Destiny 1.

The result is one of the most gratifying shooters you'll have played in some time, streamlining all of the first game's fripperies and complexities to make for something more straightforward but no less deep than its predecessor. From the off, your power level is king, the armour pieces and weapons you loot at every turn all tying into an overall rating that ultimately dictates how big a badass your Guardian is. Loot is bountiful in Destiny 2, dropping from enemies, ensconced inside chests, or rewarded for completing missions; you'll be constantly changing your loadout, maxing out your power stat as you level up.

Public events are a neat way to harvest loot and glimmer.

From the outset, it's clear that there's far more to do in Destiny 2 than there was in the first game, the story in particular proving infinitely more compelling from the beginning right until the bitter end. You simply feel more invested in your Guardian's journey this time around, especially if you choose to move your original character across. Or you can start anew, if you like, fighting big bad Dominus Ghaul and his Red Legion in story missions or embarking upon Adventures strewn across the various planets you'll visit during the campaign.

Milestones gently push you in the right direction throughout, suggesting you get some Crucible matches under your belt between completing story missions, Adventures and Public Events, all of which are never in short supply. That's before you even get to the Patrols later in the game, subclass quests, and other endgame activities like Quests, Strikes, weekly Nightfalls and even more stuff, like the post-launch Leviathan raid and Trials of the Nine. Destiny 2 is structured in such a way that there's always something for you to do, and a lot of it involves shooting things until they die. Granted, it can get a mite repetitive, but gather a like-minded Fireteam with a similar fervour for loot, and you'll be well away.

Which is why it's good that Destiny 2's combat remains meaty and satisfying, and it only gets better the more your arsenal of weaponry and armour improves. Levelling up grants skill points to unlock new abilities within your chosen subclass, and many of these are accounted for in Destiny 2, right down to the ones introduced in The Taken King. Each subclass has its own quest to unlock it, and then you can switch between them whenever you like, injecting even more variety into proceedings.

From the European Dead Zone on Earth to the caverns of Io, there are some incredible vistas to behold too, Bungie pulling out all the stops to convey a breathtaking sense of scale in every one of the game's locations. But then, Destiny was never a slouch when it came to visual splendour, or delivering deliriously enjoyable shooty bangs. Our primary complaint was a lack of content and a non-event of a story, which was soon remedied with updates and DLC galore, and in Destiny 2, that's certainly not an issue.

As for multiplayer shenanigans in the Crucible, the quick play and competitive 4v4 matches work remarkably well across the range of modes. Matchmaking is rather slow, however, taking its sweet time finding seven additional players to join in on the action. Once you're in, the gunplay comes thick and fast, modes like Control (hold the zones), Supremacy (CoD's Kill Confirmed, basically) and standard Clash deathmatch modes proving consistently enjoyable, yielding rewards like engrams and Crucible tokens that can be taken to Shaxx for even more engrams and sparkly new stuff.

Once you've dispensed with the story and reached level 20, Strikes and the weekly Nightfall provide additional challenges to tackle with friends, while Patrols and Public Events (which in turn contribute to earning Flashpoint progress) encourage you to continue exploring each one of Destiny 2's planets. Simply put, hitting level 20 is only the beginning. For every time you level up after that point, there'll be a bright engram filled with cosmetic goodies waiting for you at the Eververse store, while gathering various resources and returning them to certain characters boosts your reputation, earning more engrams filled with legendary loot.

Buy into Destiny 2's ongoing quest to look increasingly cool and become more and more powerful, and you'll be playing for hours on end. If you don't tend to get bitten by the bug and embark on an endless quest for loot, then you're not necessarily going to 'get it'. That said, I wasn't nearly as compelled to return to Destiny 1 for more, but I can't get enough of Destiny 2. Bungie has balanced everything just right, making things far clearer and easier to understand, doing away with some of the fussier, extraneous bits, streamlining the whole experience into something that's easier to digest.

The Fallen just don't give up, do they?

Upon reaching a Power level of 260+, the Leviathan raid awaits, and a procession of increasingly convoluted challenges that will put you to the ultimate test. In a nutshell, it's bloody hard, and you'll need a full complement of six players all communicating and working together to get it done. If you're au fait with raids in Destiny, then you'll know what kind of thing to expect from Leviathan, from the obtuse puzzles to the unrelenting hordes of enemies that besiege your fireteam at every turn. Raids are for the truly dedicated Guardian, and Leviathan is no different, each one of its opulent golden halls throwing everything it has right at you and your squad.

There's an achievement at stake too if you complete a raid, as part of Destiny 2's stupidly truncated list. Having a game as big and varied as Destiny 2 should have meant a similarly big and varied achievement list, but with a paltry 13 to unlock, this just seems incredibly lazy, missing the whole point of achievements to boot. A bit disappointing to say the least, at least the brief list covers most of the bases. Just don't expect to hear a satisfying pop during some of the early milestones. Destiny 2's list only rewards those who dig in for the long haul.

That the achievements are the biggest complaint we have about Destiny 2, speaks volumes. Eclipsing the first one as a far more accomplished, full-fat experience, Destiny 2 is an insanely addictive shooter that's about as complete a package as you can get. Best enjoyed with friends, if you also manage to lock in to the psychology of acquiring better armour, more powerful weapons, shiny shaders and other loot, you'll be hooked irrevocably. Let Destiny 2 get under your skin, and you'll lose countless hours to it, with very few regrets.

Destiny 2

While the first Destiny had its shortcomings, they're not quite so evident here. Destiny 2 does everything that the release version of the original failed to do, with a worthwhile story and plenty of other activities to complete, right out of the box. A fantastically enjoyable and insanely addictive shooter, Destiny 2 is certainly well worth your time. Now, where's Xur hiding this week?

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Destiny 2's soundtrack is utterly sublime, every one of its orchestral cues bringing us out in goosebumps. The voice acting is pretty good too (especially Nathan Fillion as Cayde-6), while the whizz-bang sci-fi sound effects are spot-on.


Sprawling, gorgeous environments filled with hidden Lost Sectors to discover, secrets aplenty and some jaw-dropping views. Assuming you get the chance to stop and look at them, that is.


Ludicrously good fun. Destiny 2 could have been an incredibly repetitive game, but the core shooter mechanics are so robust and enjoyable that you'll want to spend hours just blasting away. Frequent loot drops help too.


Delivering in practically every department the original base game failed to, Destiny 2 is a stellar sequel that's perfectly structured, gifting rewards at exactly the right time, while doing away with the complicated guff. Get your Sparrow at level 20 and you'll be laughing.


We're all for 'less is more', but this is ridiculous.What's on Destiny 2's achievement list is good and covers all of the main events, but there's a hell of a lot missing. Not getting an achievement at any point during the story seems odd, and not getting one for finishing it seems even weirder.

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