The original Destiny was released three years ago, arriving to major fanfare as well as its fair share of criticism. Since then developer Bungie has directed its energy towards improving virtually every aspect of this open-ended sci-fi shooter.
As a result, Destiny 2 is everything the original game needed to be but wasn’t. The studio’s ambition to deliver on the promise of the first game is most apparent in the vastly improved single player campaign – a fully developed story mode that delivers greater surprises and bigger and more memorable set piece moments.
Most importantly, it has a roughly coherent plot, something the first game never quite managed. There are moments of touching poignancy and genuine tension throughout its six or so hour playtime, and rather than rely on lore-heavy jargon to sell its antagonists as a threat, Destiny 2 pits you against a baddie with properly defined motives.
Besides that, Destiny 2 is still one of the best first person shooters in the business, with each weapon you wield feeling immensely satisfying. There’s a moreish adrenaline rush with every round fired, grenade thrown and super power unleashed, and it all feeds into an addictive progression system that keeps rewarding you with better and better loot with which to craft your ideal character.
Ownership and curation of your avatar has always been Destiny’s greatest strength, and Destiny 2 expands on your ability to customise your character with an exponential increase in the variety of items you can stumble across. The world is more open and detailed too, with new activities to pursue, offering up mysterious secrets and trinkets as you wander freely across its open worlds. You can explore a futuristic Earth, Jupiter’s moon Io, Saturn’s moon Titan and the alien planet of Nessus, and each one is sumptuously beautiful, with painterly skies and lush, colourful landscapes; Destiny 2 is as much an interplanetary tourist simulator as it is a multiplayer shooter.
With a story campaign, dozens of varied side-missions littering the landscape, lengthier “strikes” to be undertaken with friends, an arena-based multiplayer mode called the Crucible, as well as a currently unreleased “gauntlet” mode for six players, Destiny 2 is a bigger and better game than its predecessor in every regard.
There are still niggles – such as the new micro-transaction economy – but Destiny 2 remains an essential proposal for players new and old.