With Destiny 2, Bungie seems to have finally figured out what Destiny fans really want.
Various outlets have shared their early thoughts on Bungie's hotly anticipated space shooter, and a common thread rings throughout: Destiny 2 doubles down on the great gunplay and addictive loot that make Destiny special while cutting out all of the frustrating mechanics that made the original game such a chore.
It's worth noting that these early reviews are far from definitive, as critics have yet to play the big new Raid mission or experience what Destiny 2 will be like with a living, breathing online community for a few weeks. But if you're not sure whether to dive in right now on PS4 or Xbox One (or on PC come Oct. 24), here's why critics find Bungie's massive new shooter extremely promising.
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In my ongoing review of Destiny 2, I called out the game's tight, cinematic story mode as its major highlight. I also gave major props to the game's gorgeous worlds and hauntingly beautiful soundtrack, as well as the fact that Destiny 2's airtight gunplay feels as great as ever.
"Destiny continues to offer some of the tightest, most satisfying first-person-shooter action out there, with a variety of pistols, rifles and power weapons that all feel impactful, and squishy aliens that are a joy to blow up."
"Destiny 2's sweeping orchestral soundtrack is darker, more emotional and ultimately more triumphant than that of the first game, adding a ton of weight to every key moment."
"Will I be able to gear up in time for the challenging, six-player Raid mission? Will I survive any of it? And will the grind to get there even be fun?"
IGN's appropriately named Destin Legarie gave big praise to Destiny 2's story campaign, which he says is much more engaging and coherent this time around while also offering a ton more to do. He did, however, have some small concerns about progression and subquests.
"Each new mission would unveil an interesting new layer of the story, be it getting the Vanguard band of Zavala, Ikora, and Cayde back together; flying to one of the new destinations to meet intriguing new colleagues like Hawthorne; or driving a tank through enemy territory."
"Shooting monsters in Destiny 2 is even more visually rewarding."
"I had the opportunity to try out a few Strikes [Destiny's co-op missions], which to my surprise were some of the most fun I've ever had in Destiny."
"[Destiny 2] doesn't give you a Sparrow until after you've finished the campaign. This means that while my two Fireteam friends were able to zip across the terrain of a destination with their Sparrows, I was left hoofing it on foot to my next destination."
"One of the biggest missed opportunities I've come across so far was the anticlimactic way in which you obtain your subsequent subclass quests."
In his review-in-progress for Polygon, Samit Sarkar bluntly says that Destiny 2 is "Destiny, without all the bulls---." Sarkar was high on the game's narrative, variety of activities and easier navigation, but he noted that he's not yet sure if the game's missions will manage to stay fresh weeks after release.
"Destiny 2 offers way more (and more varied) open-world activities than its predecessor, and they provide a steady stream of useful loot."
"[Destiny 2's improvements] eliminate much of the busy work that was inherent to the original game, and they keep you from feeling the need to go outside the game for third-party tools."
"While I have some sense of what I'll be doing after I hit level 20 in Destiny 2, I don't know if that grind will feel fun."
Nick Statt over at The Verge calls Destiny 2 "everything fans have been asking for." Statt stressed just how great Destiny 2's shooting mechanics feel, while, like many of his peers, noting that Bungie has directly addressed most of the original game's biggest problems.
"It's sharp, funny, thoughtful, and epic in all the right places, making it feel like a sci-fi Marvel movie featuring the best elements of a Hollywood blockbuster."
"Progression is simplified, easier to understand, and spread across all of the activities in the game, instead of leading players down paths of extreme repetition."
"We don’t know what the raid — arguably the most rewarding experience in Destiny — will be like, or how Bungie will address end-game progression that, in the first game, felt maddeningly luck-based and random."
Ars Technica tech culture editor Sam Machkovech starts his review by explaining why the original Destiny's dull campaign and bloated progression system failed to grab him, and how Destiny 2 avoids all of those problems by getting right to the point.
"It's nice to get to know the primary Guardian leaders, with Nathan Fillion returning in stellar form as the sarcastic Cayde-6, and an unnamed voice actor adding surprising fun and salty wit as a glitchy robo-companion who goes by the name Failsafe."
"If you're like me and appreciated some of what Destiny 1 offered in terms of "Halo as a never-ending co-op shooter," then you'll appreciate Destiny 2's strides to feel both familiar and repaired."
"I battled in about six of D2's Crucible maps, which included a mix of great and terrible level designs. My least favorite maps were flat, wall-gated battlegrounds that may have made more sense in a Call of Dutyentry."
Louise Blain of GamesRadar echoed many of her peers by noting that Destiny 2 offers more of the good stuff from Destiny 1 with a whole lot less frustration.
"It's bigger, it's denser and it's completely obsessed with why you like Destiny in the first place."
"The addition of the Destination Map means no more losing time hovering in space. You're always doing something, heading into a helpfully labelled public event, journeying to a distant planet, levelling up with the planet's overseer for engrams."
"An interesting addition too, or removal, is that of a Sparrow [vehicle] as a staple. It's a brilliant way to uncover the planets for the very first time, promoting exploration and genuine discovery."
Image Credit: Activision