Friday, November 13, 2020

Destiny 2: Beyond Light

My first experience with the Destiny series was the original game; a rental of the PS3 version from the local Redbox. After the first 8 hours I returned the game back. I found it to be a generic shooter, with too many enemies, bosses with too much health, too much fussing about in menus, and writing that was too overwrought.

It was pretty though.

My experience with the second game didn't go much better. A extended free trial offered during 2018's Blizzcon, I suffered through an opening sequence that was so cringey in tone and dialogue I had to call my wife in to see it. The gameplay was much the same. Enemies seemed to be a bit more interesting to fight as they varied in their attack and defensive movements. The bosses were not better though. I almost lost the first boss fight as my morale was sapped from a bullet sponge boss fight that bored me to near tears. I gave it a couple of more hours as the game heaped system upon system on me. Eventually I hopped in my spaceship and Alt-F4 out of there. The game sat on my hard drive ever since.

So what compelled me to jump in for the latest expansion, Beyond Light? For one, the game and all of its expansions come with Xbox Game Pass. Secondly, I needed something relatively mindless to play on the upstairs TV. Thirdly, my therapist says I engage in too much all or nothing thinking. Taking a game I'm critical of and just enjoying it for what it is feels like a good test.

My impression of the first five hours is a little softer than before, but not by much. They've wisely ditched the previous opening. The first two hours are easier on the info dumping. The UI is more responsive even on my Xbox One S.

But that said, they enemies are still too numerous. The gameplay here just isn't robust enough to sustain these long firefights. My options as a hunter are shooting, a grenade every minute or so, throwing a knife that's really just a worse grenade, a standard melee attack, and occasionally an ultimate power where I'm still shooting but with more powerful bullets. There's no interesting movement options. Defensive options are a "dodge" that's more of a shuffle and hiding behind terrain. "Finishing" moves are somehow less impactful than those found in Skyrim, and are otherwise just a standard melee attack. I hope things get more interesting later on, but this is the same tool set I had in Doom 2.

But those complaints are somewhat benign. It doesn't play poorly. But Bungie is clearly counting on the MMO-ness of the game to be the compelling selling point, while making the gameplay as simplistic as possible. It's a standard first person shooter with a persistent online world. This game would have kicked ass back in 2004.

So I've upgraded Destiny 2 from obnoxious to forgettable. I don't think I'll ever really love this series. But I think I want to go further into the game and see if anything ramps up. Tons of people play this game, their must be something here to find.

1 comment:

  1. I don't play Destiny but when you said it "would have kicked ass back in 2004" I thought I might start. I'm guessing that alone would explain why it's quite popular. That's all a lot of people are looking for. And plenty of them have been quite vocal about it for years now.