Since we were unable to attend E3 2017, Destiny 2 was well out of reach. We’d been unable to even get a glimpse of the game except for small press-kits here or there, and the bit of news that would trickle out from developer Bungie. For most enjoying the beta on PlayStation 4, the beta started yesterday while just launching on Xbox One today. If you are on the go and want a version to listen to, you can check out our YouTube version as well.
While we will have plenty of more time with the beta in the upcoming days, there’s no doubt that within four hours, I felt like I got to see almost all of what the beta offered in order to enjoy the game to its fullest to this point. In comparison to the Destiny 1 alphas and betas, Destiny 2 is significantly smaller in what it has to offer, but executes itself as a rather entertaining experience that fans can jump into quite easily.
That can’t go without saying that I don’t mind this cutback on content. It leaves much to be desired out of the games final release and what it will give players to look forward when the game launches this September 8th. For those of you wondering how much there is, don’t expect to see yourself flying from planet to planet. Do not expect to see a central hub. This beta is extremely barebones, and there’s not even a character creator in the games intro like before. It’s as simple as the beta letting you select your pre-determined role as either a Titan, Hunter, or Warlock. Each of them come with their own pre-determined armor and weapons for you to use.
Gaining XP and Perks will not be happening in the beta, as the game offers you the chance to experience each class at the games starting cap of level 20. Loot will be scarce in comparison to ammo drops. If you want engrams? Those won’t be within the beta or possibly the games final release since it seems that there might be a chance they have been scrapped from the game all together. Lets just hope that’s not the case. Loot was based on end-of-activity rewards from the games crucible mode and the strike. The game even hands out a pre-designated exotic based on which class you selected.
To be honest? All of this is quite fine as I’m relieved to see that they aren’t following through with past experiences from Destiny. Instead I’m excited to see what the game is capable of when it launches in September.
If I were to base my expectations on the beta’s first story mission, I’ll admit that I’m quite impressed. It leaves a lot to be desired since the game shows the guardian interacting with NPC’s, but also shows them in action during the Cabal invasion during the “Homecoming” section. This mission is outlined with players taking on the cities last stand. The tower itself is completely under-siege as Gau – I mean – Garry and his lackeys decide to destroy everything in sight.
During this mission there are moments where players will be fascinated by what they see. Such is when you first enter the towers plaza only to fend off waves of Cabal side-by-side with Commander Zavala. Let alone was that not what made it unique, it was the fact that I wasn’t alone within the mission. To be clear, there is not a hint that the mission itself would have matchmaking. Yet here I was, watching a few fellow guardians push forth in effort to fight off the Cabal. While short lived, this moment gave me a glimmer of hope that Destiny 2 is going to be about community as stated at E3 2017. If drop-in-drop-out play is featured in the game? Count me in.
Outside of story, gunplay as a whole remains largely unchanged, as one my expect. Except that weapons now feature rather interesting feats of their own. It seems that weapons can now have their own elements changed (excluding exotics at this point) later in the game when it releases. So this seems that weapons such as rocket launchers, submachine guns, and scout rifles may have the ability to be toggled based on ammo element mods.
The interesting part is for the beta, as stated, each class gets a unique exotic. For the warlock it’s a submachine gun by the name of the Riskrunner, which to be honest, is just a revamped version of the Zhalo Supercell. Titan’s can expect a rather nice minigun, and the Sunshot, an energy pistol for Hunters. While these weapons are rather interesting what’s even more-so is that weapons are categorized different rather than primary, special, and heavy. Now the weapons are defined as kinetic, energy, and power weapons.
Each of these slots use unique weapons. Players can use assault rifles, pistols, scout rifles, and pulse rifles in the primary slot as lot as they have no elemental attributes attached to them. In turn if weapons have void, arc, or solar on them, they will be placed in the energy weapon slot. In turn weapons such as snipers, grenade launchers, fusion rifles, and shotguns are all slotted into the power weapon slot. While this serves up as one of the biggest changes, it’s easier to come by weapon loadouts how players prefer them.
With this aside the bigger changes come to the new subclasses such as the Dawnblade for the warlock, which is a Sunsinger intertwined with a titan’s Sunbreaker while placing a well down that can either heal/overheal their team mates or increase their damage (weapons of light anyone?). This enables them to hurl lashes of fire at their enemies before incinerating them. The hunter sees a revision of the Bladedancer, which is a nice play on the original Bladedancer. The class sees the removal of stealth for a dodge while deploying a staff to electrocute their enemies to death. Let alone do they see a change, the biggest one comes to the Defender titan, which is no known as the Sentinel.
If you’re a fan of Marvel’s Captain America this will be right up your alley as Sentinels have newfound capabilities. One is that they can deploy a shield in place or they can wield a shield much like the super hero himself and yes they can throw it while expanding their defensive capabilities. These changes are welcomed to their original classes and bring a new take on the classic game. While each of them are small tweaks to old classes, they bring a new twist to the game, and leaves plenty of room for Bungie to explore in the upcoming title’s content.
The other change? Each class has a deployable they can use by pushing down ‘O’ or ‘B’ depending on if you are using Xbox or PlayStation. These abilities can be essential when burning bosses in PvE, defending locations in PvP, or even evading those last-moment killing blows that could kill a player. The only classes that remained unchanged? Striker, Voidwalker, and Gunslinger. While they have seen graphical upgrades, much like the rest of the game, they are spectacular changes that players will enjoy in the long run.
The biggest and most impressive piece outside of the well-rounded starting mission, “Homecoming” is the Inverted Spire strike on the new planet Nessus (can I mention how well it takes notes from the Vex infested planet of Venus), comes off as a routine exploratory moment where players will see both Vex and Cabal fighting one-another. The mission itself was rather well confined between both segments of Cabal’s sending out their warhounds while gladiator’s rush in wielding their cleavers, and moments where players find Vex teleporting in to combat their threats.
The unique part isn’t the fact the strike itself seems like a well crafted mission on Venus, but rather it’s one that takes care to allow players a moment to breathe. Even those moments are quick to pass as players move through each floor, which acts as arena’s (no doubt they took notes from DOOM‘s reboot by id Software), and allows players to take on completing objectives as they do so. What’s more impressive is the fact that the final bss isn’t just a single phase like what players are used to. Instead they do find themselves smashing through the boss and his waves of enemies. One phase includes him teleporting around an Egyptian pyramid style room before the floor falls away, and throws them down into the next floor.
In his second phase, players find his attacks change to match their abilities to hide behind fixtures by sending out Vex minions while heating up the floor and throwing players off the map to die if they don’t jump to avoid the ability. Once players whittle his health down, the final face is the most interesting as players take on the next part, which sees them burning him on a center-pieced arena where all three phases meld into one, minus the floor slamming.
Unlike previous Destiny strikes, the mission on Nessus is short, quick, and sweet, but with escalating difficulty. It’s threats don’t just come from Cabal or Vex. Even the environment itself is rather dangerous to those who are unprepared and lacking attention to the events going on about them. Unfortunately, my team wasn’t consistent with members due to a lack of friends playing in the beta itself.
While PvE is no doubt fun, there’s without a doubt a need to know about the CS:Go style Countdown mode, which features both teams approaching the game with a ‘Search and Destroy’ element. In this mode both teams will take turns fighting through a map themed within the City’s walls. While I managed to play plenty of it, I will admit that I’m horrible at PvP. I’ve never been good at Destiny’s very Halo-esque combat. It didn’t, however, deter me from beating my enemies to a pulp with my Sentinel’s shield.
The other mode is simple. Fans of Control will once more find themselves beating enemies down one-by-one in order to keep control just like before. What’s nice about the beta isn’t the beta itself. It’s that Bungie has made a clear depiction that they want to evolve, that they want to include their vast majority of fans that take different approaches to their game, and even wrap-itself tightly around this in the beta. While it is limited, there’s no doubt that Destiny 2 will have an impressive array of activities for fans to take part in.
The final thought on this Beta? It leaves a lot to be desired from Bungie’s finished game. While the graphics, sound, and visuals are impressive, there’s no doubt that we will see more of it in September, and that the company themselves will bolster their finished title when it launches.
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter, Google+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.