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Mace and Crown | May 22, 2018

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'Destiny 2:' The gang's all here

James Finney | Contributing Writer

On Sept. 6, 2017, Bungie invited gamers all around the world to a second serving of their latest IP, “Destiny 2.” Bungie enticed the “Destiny” community to return with the promise of a new helping of loot, a much improved player versus player experience and new worlds to explore through the lens of a fresh story. A story designed to wash out the taste of confusion and disappointment that “Destiny 1’s” story left in every gamer’s mouth.

“Destiny 2’s” story breathes fresh air into a world that felt convoluted, watered down and down right confusing. Many players were put off at the lack of an antagonist in “Destiny 1.” The game took you to a host of different planets, but it was never entirely clear why you were there or what you were doing. Combine all of that with dull and undeveloped characters, and “Destiny 1’s” narrative quickly became one of the most hated trudges in video game history.

Rather than trying to fix the pervasive list of issues in the original game’s story, the sequel takes things in a completely different direction from the get-go.

“Destiny 2’s” antagonist, Ghaul, is made real and dangerous from the beginning of the story.  Ghaul comes to your home, the last city on Earth, to strip you of all your powers and any other former priorities you had before he arrives at your doorstep. Ghaul promptly kicks you out of your old home, and from there you are set down the path to recovering your powers and uniting a new cast of characters to take back the city.

“Destiny 2’s” story instantly improves on almost every aspect of the “Destiny 1” story. The characters that you will meet on your journey are filled with backstory and interesting insight on the world you inhabit. The antagonist is presented to you immediately, and your reason for setting yourself against him is made clear.

Once you’re finished with “Destiny 2’s” story, the rest of the game’s experiences open themselves up to play. The worlds visited in the story are now available to be explored. A new host of smaller story quests and battles await you in every inch of the game’s open playspace.

The general consensus is that “Destiny 2‘s” systems are a leap forward. The recipe hasn’t changed much, but just enough new spice has been thrown in to ensure that “Destiny’s” tight shooter gameplay and loot earning experience can keep gamers on the hook for far longer than vanilla “Destiny” ever could.

In the original “Destiny,” loot and progression in the game was a grind. Earning legendary grade gear, the best equipment in the game, could cost you hours in any of “Destiny 1’s” many different player versus environment activities.

If you were to try your luck in the Crucible, “Destiny’s” player versus player option, your odds could end up even worse.

There was no clear way to earn rewards in the Crucible. Rousing victories and crushing defeats yielded equally low chances of earning good rewards.

Even worse for the Crucible players, Bungie was constantly changing the weapon balance, determining what guns were strongest or weakest at any given time. This meant that more casual players of the game struggled when they dipped in and out of the “Destiny.” They suffered at the hands of more consistent fans, not because they were better at the game but because they knew which weapons were the most effective.

All of these issues have been addressed in “Destiny 2.” Even some of the smallest activities in PVE can now yield legendary rewards. Crucible games now have challenges set every week that grant you access to better gear, and now all weapons are viable in the Crucible.

Players now have the option to play how they want, when they want, without worrying about falling behind the rest of the community. Bungie even spices up the incentive to play with special events each week that give you a chance at even more rewards.

The most impressive addition to “Destiny 2” are the new tools Bungie constructed to connect an international audience of gamers to each other in new and interesting ways.

The inclusion of a new “Clan” system gives players the ability to open up clubs that like minded players can join to connect with each other. Clans have access to a roster, where they can see all of the members of the group and who’s online. As a part of clan, gamers have access to more loot each week, have more challenges to participate in and always have someone to play with.

“Destiny 2” is at its best when being played with friends, and the new clan system can facilitate that experience. The hardest challenge in the game, the raid, can only be completed with the help of five other players that you have to connect with. Clans make finding teammates for a raid easy, and if you don’t have a clan, Bungie has created a new “Guided games” system that can hook up solo players with clans for raiding.

This is the key strength of “Destiny 2” and the point where Bungie excels the most. “Destiny 2” is a game designed for the community. It’s the meeting point where players get together, take on new challenges and grow together. At its core, that hasn’t changed, but the robust improvements made to each section of the game guarantees that this time around, the “Destiny” community here to stay.