Our Early Destiny 2 Beta Impressions

It’s a tale as old as time that Destiny was, to the masses, a disappointing and shallow experience, lacking any kind of substance on the surface. Dive deep enough and there was lore hidden in there, but it wasn’t enough to make the day-to-day grind any easier to stomach. Course correction began with The Taken King, but the damage had been done. All good faith was lost and Destiny was condemned despite its efforts to be better.

The rain belts down as you repel Cabal with Zavala.
The rain belts down as you repel Cabal with Zavala.

Does the sequel seem to learn from its predecessor’s mistakes while maintaining what made the original so damn addictive? In short, it seems so. Granted, we’ve not got a lot to go on in the game’s all-too-brief beta, but the game’s opening mission, titled ‘Homecoming’, gives plenty of airtime to its supporting returning cast while setting up the game’s central conflict with Ghaul, the fearsome leader of the Red Legion.

Look back at how vanilla and plain Destiny’s first mission was back in the day and it’s easy to see that Bungie has taken steps to make the sequel’s campaign a bigger spectacle. It’s going to be fuller of people we care about. It says a lot that the Destiny are most cut-up about the loss of an inflatable purple ball and a broom-carrying robot. People latched onto the tongue-in-cheek gags the original had because there was nothing else to care for.

Cayde-6 is already well on his way to being Destiny 2’s shining light. He’s quippy and reckless, making him the lovable, roguish type. It’s about time that Bungie put their ‘Han Solo’ to the fore and built part of a story around his exploits. His presence in the beta is limited, but I’m sure he’ll be ever-present in the Ghaul hunt. Plus you’ve got the no-nonsense Zavala and the dead-pan Ikora Rey, who loves making Cayde’s life hard.

Cayde-6 makes short work of a Cabal squad.
Cayde-6 makes short work of a Cabal squad.

So it seems the story’s course correction is on track, does Destiny 2 still bring the thunder when it comes to the firefight? You bet, it does.

From the moment I set foot on the besieged Tower, the natural marksman in me bubbled to the surface as I began popping heads left and right. I switched seamlessly between my new toys, timing my reloads like a seasoned pro. It all felt familiar and it felt right. It’s still very much Destiny and, of course, hallmark Bungie. If there’s one thing they’ve gotten right throughout their existence, it’s compelling, satisfying gunplay.

The beta’s small sliver of strike goodness, The Inverted Spire, is hands-down one of the better strikes I’ve played in some time. It’s a nice length, has a couple of twists and turns plus its end boss is an epic, three-stage fight that crescendos in a tense tussle between you, the Modular Mind boss and a seemingly insurmountable swarm of Vex, the bodies of which create a painful wake of hazardous muck.

Plus there’s a very cool section where your team has to navigate and descend into a dig site, complete with swinging, earth-tearing machinery that’ll one-hit you if you fall into its unwavering path.

The game's tidy new character screen, complete with levitating Warlock.
The game’s tidy new character screen, complete with levitating Warlock.

I’ve not yet thrown my dignity in the trash and put my neck on the PVP chopping block just yet. That’s a battle for tonight.

Some complained that the original Destiny’s beta perhaps offered too big a slice of the final pie, ruining a lot of the lustre of the experience. The complete opposite could be said for the sequel. One mission, one strike and two multiplayer maps make for an extremely slim but tantalising taste of the final product.

Am I ready to, once again, sink hundreds of my hours into unravelling the mysteries of the Traveller and fighting on the side of Light against the countless denizens of deep space? Oh, yes.