First I have to say, thanks to Sam @ Xbox for the code for this one!

Embrace the Light

In my time with Destiny 2 since it launched last week I've come to a conclusion that Dominus Ghaul, the campaign's main villain is an asshole. I've beaten the campaign (it was longer than Destiny's campaign by far) and I've embarked on that lovely grind to raise my power to be able to get to the juicy PvE end-game content. As of this review I've not done the Raid but I have dabbled into the Crucible a bit and compared to the original, I like the new format. I'm not going to spend much time playing PvP though, I'm a bit sick of PvP these days.

Fortunately for me there's a ton of PvE/Co-op content to keep me rollin' back in time and time again.

So without any further ado, this is my impression of Destiny 2 from a mostly solo/co-op player point of view and if you don't want to read the whole thing, let me just say: it's favourable.

What's Destiny 2 then?

A first person loot-shooter with a science fiction aesthetic and epic story, taking place directly after the first game and introducing a returning faction that appeared in the last game. Warning, it can be a little grindy (not as grindy as Destiny).

More of the Same?

Destiny 2 feels mechanically similar to Destiny, barring the 3 new sub-classes for Warlock, Hunter, and Titan. The shooting is just as great as it was in Destiny (I wasn't a huge Destiny fan until Taken King and Rise of Iron), the movement just as smooth, slick and polished as Bungie are known for. The new sub-classes change things up and I really love the Dawnblade. I'm on a personal journey to level up my Warlock to the magical power level of 300 and I'm just over 228 now and the biggest change to Destiny 2 is the one that has pleased me the most.

Loot, loot and more loot. Destiny 1's loot system left a lot to be desired, and even with the balances and changes via Taken King and later patches it just never felt as epic as say: Diablo 3: UEE where you could sometimes drown in Legendaries from a good run on the RNG.

Bungie have taken a long look at the loot system in Destiny 2 and they've rolled it out in a way that works for me. It takes into account (across all your 3 characters) the highest power stuff that you own (not just equipped) and ensures that when loot drops there's a good chance you're going to get something that's more powerful than what you have, which you can swap, infuse (take the power from a higher level version of the same class of weapon and pump them into your favourite gun to keep it relevant to your build), or break down for materials that you can trade in to one of the Gunsmith NPCs to get a level 20 reward.

This way since I've hit level 20 I've been rolling in rare, legendaries, exotics and all the good stuff thanks to a steady stream of resources garnered through the campaign, as well as exploration across the various planets on offer. Once I build up enough materials to exchange at the various NPCs, I trade them in and BOOM, I get a Legendary Engram which contains a random selection of rewards at a competitive power level that keeps my character relevant and empowered. It's a simple addition, but it works SO well and draws me back in to the simplest of gameplay loops.

Importantly though, and this is the key thing right here for a player like me: I'm having FUN.

I'm in my Diablo-loot zone, my Diablo-head and rather than the wasteland of Destiny Engrams I'm swimming through a nice sea of guns and armour. If I can't use it, or I don't like the weapon type, I can break it down and give myself more materials to trade for a new Engram.

I love this, I love this so much.

Pretty much everything I do in the various open zone areas nets me some kind of loot. Engram drops, engrams I have to decode at the Cryptarch and so on. I get cosmetic Engrams when I level up past 20, gaining a new ship or Sparrow, or some mods.

Looting chests too, I looted a chest last night, got a Legendary Engram that allowed me to push my power level a bit more.

This is what Destiny should have been.

Clever Content Delivery

Bungie have been smart this time round, you don't get your Sparrow until late game or a lucky Engram drop. You don't get Patrols (min-missions) until much later in the scenario and you have to do a quest to unlock them. You unlock more content the more you open the story, and at the end of the game you unlock even more things to do so that you're always coming back into the game world and never bored.

Public Events kick off with incredible glorious frequency and the joy of working with other Guardians even though you don't know them, it's pretty great. Working to a common goal and getting that sweet loot box at the end of the event - again - it's why I keep on coming back.

Challenges open up and you get rewarded for finishing them.

Adventures are mini-stories that fill in the backstory of the game and lore on the 4 planets on offer. The more story you do, the more adventures open up. It's spot on content delivery which reminds me of Taken King in a way, and it's not surprising when you realise that the guy behind Taken King is also behind the better stuff in Destiny 2.

There's fast travel and you can just open up the map now and select where you want to go. No need to keep on diving back into orbit each time.

There's more, like Lost Sectors (dungeons) with loot at the end. Secrets galore and some well, some things that you're best off finding out on your own.

There's a lot for a guy like me who is more into PvE than anything else.

Destiny 2 with friends

Yeah, there's a lot of content to play with friends. You can form a fireteam of up to 3 players in the open world, 3 for co-op play through the campaign, and that's not counting the Strikes (3) and Raid (6) you can do. There are a lot of options to play the game your own way and I really appreciate that.

Clannish Behaviour

Destiny 2 has clans and clans are awesome. They're a way of getting more and more people to play with across the whole range of activities on offer. They offer rewards for contribution and membership of the clan and the better the clan does, the better the rewards.

Guided games offer a chance for clans to show off their clan banner, and invite other players to play with them for a game or two. This opens up more of the game's content to other players and allows people to form groups for Strikes and even a Raid without too much hassle.

Smooth Sci-Fi Design

Destiny 2 is a science fiction game full of great aesthetics and it looks nice on the Xbox One. I've not really seen any problems with the frame-rate either, the whole thing has been running beautifully for me and I've been able to play with zero issues. There have been a few server drops, but nothing as bad as the launch week on the original game. So any hitches with the graphics have been server-side as the game loads in a new bit.

The design and aesthetic remains similar to the first game and the environments are much improved, with a great level of detail across all the new locations (and there's a lot).

Bungie's animations are great and they don't disappoint in Destiny 2 at all.

The Voice of the Speaker

The voice work is top notch and Nolan North returns as Ghost. I did notice that this time your character is silent, with Ghost doing the talking. It's a strange change from the first game, but after a while I really didn't bother since Ghost is such an engaging little character. There's nothing here to grumble about either.

The Sound of Conflict

As per usual Destiny's sound design is also top notch with the roar of the Sparrow's engine and whine as it turns a corner returning (eventually) to delight me.

An Epic Score

Destiny 2's music follows the first game's score, only amps things up into an epic way. This is some truly stirring stuff and it's perfectly synced to what's going on at the time.

PvP

I've dabbled into the new Crucible, but honestly, PvP is a minor thing for me so I won't be spending too much time in there. I prefer the PvE and co-op aspects of the game, which are more than enough to keep me rocking back in time and time again. 4v4 matches are an interesting change but I'll leave you to discover more about everything else in that regard.

Smooth Connection

The game's doing really well in terms of server load it seems, I have not been kicked as much as I was in the original Destiny and when playing with others, there's been very little lag. Again that can be attributed to the server load in the first week or so of the game's life. To say that I'm impressed and pleased is an understatement, and since I'm not a huge Destiny fan, that's a testament to how well this game's made to keep me coming back to it.

So, after I've rambled enough, that's exactly what I'm going to do.

See you out there, Guardians.