Up until the moment Bungie officially unveiled its upcoming sequel to popular sci-fi shooter “Destiny” last week, I almost didn't believe it was real.
Days before Bungie unveiled the highly anticipated game would be releasing Sept. 8, a leaked “Destiny 2” poster showed a trio of bland heroes. The poster and characters were so plain-looking that I wrote it off as a hoax some fan with too much time on his hands had Photoshopped together.
Turns out, it was real.
I became a huge fan of “Destiny” about a year-and-a-half ago when the game's biggest expansion, “The Taken King,” released. The expansion featured tons of quests, weapons and events that kept me entertained for months. The expansion's raid was one of the greatest cooperative gaming experiences I've ever had.
But I've always maintained that, with more focus, “Destiny” could be a much better game. Here's what I want to see in “Destiny 2” that would help the series realize its full potential.
A BETTER STORY
The story in “Destiny,” for a lack of a better word, sucked.
The campaign featured only a handful of short missions, and by the time you completed them, you weren't sure exactly what you had accomplished. Much of the game's lore was explained through collectible items you had to go online to read, which only “Destiny's” most hardcore fans ever bothered to do.
A big problem was the story's lack of focus. The narrative built your created character up as the universe's last hope for survival against the incoming scourge of darkness (which is pretty cliché, by the way), but the truth is millions of other players were on the same quest.
The story would benefit from focus and personalization. This was kind of addressed in “The Taken King” when Bungie created a slew of characters with actual personalities, such as …
Voiced by the wonderful Nathon Fillion, Cayde-6 was introduced in “The Taken King” and added some much-needed comedic release to the dark and serious tones for which “Destiny” was known. If the “Destiny 2” trailer is any indication, Cayde will be playing a big role in “Destiny 2,” and he'll be just as hilarious.
Cayde was beloved because he was the first memorable character “Destiny” featured, besides maybe your personal Ghost that commented on your exploits and accomplishments. He made the world feel more alive than the characters that came before him who were nothing more than glorified quest dispensers.
But Cayde's inclusion in “Destiny 2” doesn't mean the game will turn into a comedic romp through the galaxy. In the trailer, “Destiny” character Zavala returns and acts as the antithesis to Cayde's less-serious antics. While Cayde seems to be speaking to the player and encouraging him or her to fight a new menace in order to secure more weapons and armor, Zavala instead talks to the game's characters and inspires them to fight for honor and revenge. It's a nice balance.
As I've already alluded to, “The Taken King's” raid was by far “Destiny's” best piece of content. Taking five of your friends through a single, hours-long mission featuring puzzles and combat that require tight cooperation and constant communication led to some of my most memorable gaming experiences.
“Destiny's” final expansion, “Rise of Iron,” also included a raid, but it was a much smaller, simpler, easier raid compared to “The Taken King's.” It didn't have that special something that made “The Taken King” raid so addicting. I hope massive raids return in “Destiny 2” is a big way.
As a seasoned gamer, it took me way too long to get the swing of “Destiny” when I first picked it up.
What's glimmer? How do the Trials of Osiris work? How do you succeed in the Iron Banner? Why is the Cryptarch so annoying?
As a massive multiplayer game with plenty of moving parts and science fiction mumbo jumbo, “Destiny” wasn't exactly great at explaining how things work. It was left up to players to deduce its many features and mechanics.
“Destiny 2” could do itself and its players a huge service by streamlining a lot of the nonsense and properly explaining the nuances of currency and events with tutorials.
We'll see how Bungie does when the “Destiny 2” beta launches this summer.