DESTINY 2 Gameplay Reveal: More of the Same or a Fresh Start?

Leading up to Bungie’s May 18th DESTINY 2 gameplay reveal I had a couple thoughts on my mind. Most prominent of these was a concern I think I may have shared with many other players: Will this game be new?

I’ve put more hours into DESTINY than any other game I’ve ever played and it’s not close, but even I didn’t pick up the House of Wolves expansion. By that time my Destiny friends had succumbed to the repetition and migrated on to other games, and I didn’t much like playing solo. I decided to hold out for Destiny 2.

The long-awaited day came. Bungie’s reveal opened with a long, striking cinematic of Commander Zavala protecting citizens of the Last City. My heart started racing, the hype pumps started pumping.

“We fight, we die; we fight again,” summarized the montage of Zavala fighting the familiar Destiny foes, his Ghost there to raise him each time he fell. What impressed me most was seeing Zavala, and the other members of the Vanguard, Ikora Rey and Cayde-6, in their elements—actually using their abilities, fighting to save the Last City.

DESTINY 2’S GOALS

Destiny’s Game Director, Luke Smith, took the stage first. He prefaced the reveal by stating Bungie’s three main goals in developing Destiny 2. These goals shaped and directed the new features throughout development.

For Bungie, Destiny 2 should have:

1.     A world that pulls you in.

2.     Amazing things to do.

3.     Always someone to play with.

Smith sums it simply, Destiny 2 aims to be a “world you want to be in.”

Story

That’s right—story.

The reveal stressed multiple times that story was an emphasis. The title boasts more cinematics and story mode than the predecessor, NPCs that will speak to you (outside the tower, for what it’s worth), and an abundance of exploration and side quests to tack on.

The reveal jumped into the first mission, “Homecoming.” The Last City is under attack from Dominus Gaul, a cabal warlord who was raised to think the Traveler made a mistake in choosing humanity over the cabal. Humans are a mere roadblock in his quest to show the Traveler that the Cabal are worthier of its Light.

Homecoming was staged in the Tower where the Vanguard battled the Dominus’s fearsome Red Legion. 

Smith and team highlighted that the story of Destiny 2 is centered on loss and recovery. The guardians have faced all manner of unimaginable foe and walked away the victors. This game opened up with vulnerability. They lost. And now they must recover. The story will have players search for a way to bring back the Traveler’s light, as well as find the Vanguard leaders who each took off to handle the loss in their own way.

Gameplay

Immediately it is apparent that not much has changed HUD-wise for Destiny 2. All the pertinent information is still in the lower left-hand corner. However, there is a small addition I’m not sure was touched on. The grenade and melee indicators are joined by a third cooldown box. It’s small, but it suggests some new features not explicitly mentioned. In the gameplay reveal you can see some super-esque abilities being used that don’t drain the super’s bar. It seemed Bungie may not be revealing all their cards in that aspect.

As the gameplay progresses through the level and throughout the tower, you fight alongside the three Vanguard leaders. For me this is a nice touch, in Destiny if you didn’t have other players in your fireteam the levels got a little lonely at times.

Jump, melee, and grenade abilities all seemed unchanged from the original Destiny. Without playing this hands-on it suffices to say the gameplay didn’t undergo outrageous overhauls between titles.

Abilities

Right off the bat you see three new supers relative to the three new subclasses. They still fit the Arc/Solar/Void set-up Destiny used and nothing suggests deviation from that system.

The Warlock has a new Solar subclass, The Dawnblade, which has a super that gives you a flame sword, flame wings, and an assortment of flame attacks to rain down on enemies.

The Sentinel is the Titan’s Void-based subclass which brandishes you with a Captain America-style shield you can throw around and smash enemies.

Hunters have a new Arcstrider subclass, which, as the name suggests, is the new Arc subclass. This super sees the player wielding an Arc staff and darting around enemies with swift strikes.

Weapons

A slew of new weapons was revealed through gameplay. They fit with Destiny’s original primary weapons (pulse, auto, scout and hand cannon), but they are joined by some entirely new such as a grenade launcher.

Bungie aims to give players more freedom in their loadouts, and they’ve done away with the Primary/Secondary/Heavy weapon classifications. They’ve been replaced with three new types: Kinetic, Energy, and Power. The reveal didn’t go into much depth surrounding this, but it suggested some weapons may be able to fit into more than one slot.

World Exploration

After the initial play-through of the first level, different developers took the stage to highlight new features and additions to the game. One of particular note was the new emphasis on world exploration.

Destiny attempted to get players exploring its worlds with patrol missions. Destiny 2 has upped the ante allowing every in-world activity to be activated from the patrol. This means no more pesky jumps to and from orbit to get where you need to go. It also will allow you move from one planet to another without jumping back out to orbit.

Titan, Nessus, and Io join Earth as the playable worlds for Destiny 2. Nothing seemed to suggest that Venus, Mars, or the Moon will be available in the sequel.

Each world will have timed multiplayer events and heroic rewards for completing them. In addition to those, there will be treasure maps and lost sectors for players to explore in each world. Treasure maps, being the more straightforward of the two additions, was not touched on in-depth. The Lost Sector missions will be dungeon-style with a boss to fight for rewards.

Humanity’s new base is set up in the EDZ, European Dead Zone, which was said to be the largest map yet. It would seem this is the new player base as well, replacing the tower.

PvP

PvP now supports 4v4 across all game modes. There will be new features and maps across the board. The HUD will also display info about enemies, such as their super charges.

Alongside the new features is at least one new game mode, Countdown, which is a new objective-based attack/defend play mode.

Clans

Early in the reveal, when Luke Smith took the stage the first time, he mentioned that almost 50% of players never played a raid in Destiny. To make end-game material more accessible to players, Destiny 2 is implementing in-game clan support, complete with banner customization and clan rewards.

In the original Destiny when groups were short a player or two, or if solo players wanted a group, they would take to third-party LFG sites. Destiny 2 is aiming to solve this problem with its new Guided Games feature.

Guided Games allow clans to invite solo players into their raid or Nightfall parties. It also allows solo players to put out a request to join other clans who are embarking on end-game challenges.

Availability

While the PC release has been expected for a bit now, Activision CEO, Eric Hirshberg, announced that Destiny 2 will be released on Battlenet, a Blizzard subsidiary.

The game itself is will be released September 8th, 2017 with an open beta releasing this Summer.

Final Thoughts

Some may take a look at what Destiny 2 is offering and think it will be a glorified DLC. Destiny has always been an evolving game. Some titles make a huge jump from the first installment to the second. Destiny seems to making the next step in its evolution.

It is easy to focus on the old, to see the Destiny 2 reveal as more of the same, but deep in the reveal were small features that I expect will make this a fresh game. Tucked away in the reveal trailers you see tanks that may be drivable or at the very least fight alongside you, you see guardians playing soccer in the EDZ, you see subtleties that can be a small reassurance that Bungie has thought this through, that they’ve added what their players wanted.

We can’t know for sure until the game is available in its entirety, but it seems like Bungie may have some very good things in store for us.

Check out the gameplay trailer below or the Twitch reveal here.

Source: Bungie Twitch Reveal

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