Destiny 2 Beta - Was It Good?
The Destiny 2 beta is over now. Guardians will have to wait till September 8th to finish the fight with Gary and his hordes of irate armored goons. The beta did offer us a hint of what’s to come, however, and I personally found that little taste left me on the edge of my seat. It’s a spot I think I’ll remain till the full game releases. That said, taste is exactly what we got. The original destiny beta showed off the patrol area for both the moon and earth, as well as the social space. This time around, Bungie has played close to the chest. They showcased what they knew were their strong suits, and have left us to wonder if their promises of more dense and expansive patrol areas and more fluid and interesting emergent gameplay within those spaces are solid fact or dust in the wind.
Players who were disappointed by Destiny’s story (or lack thereof), repetitive gameplay, and sluggish bullet sponge boss fights, will find little evidence of improvement in the Destiny 2 beta. In fact, if you aren’t a fan of PVP gameplay, the beta was simply a single strike which you could run over and over again in order to get a new outfit and a few interesting guns for your guardian. On the other hand, that strike was pretty fun, had a few brilliant set pieces, and a boss fight with multiple stages which rewarded tactics more advanced than “hit it in the weak point 10,000 times!”. Dialog was fun and quippy, I’m hoping there is more to learn about the characters we overheard diminishing each other’s egos while we dodged giant boring drills and slaughtered a legion of Vex and Cabal on one of the prettiest battlefields I’ve ever seen. As fun as it was, though, I can see myself glassy eyed, forcing myself to run The Inverted Spire for the third time in a week in order to get that new set of gloves… you know the ones that do the thing. Man those look cool. Guess I’m running the Spire till my fingers bleed and whatever counts for a soul has shuffled away, leaving me a lifeless, heartless, joyless husk. Worse, I can’t shake the feeling that Bungie gave us their best strike to try out, and hope that the player base won’t notice that the majority of the strikes are much more like the original.
So, after you’ve beat the hell out of The Inverted Spire and ruined what is probably the best strike in the game for yourself before the game is even out, what could you do in the beta? Well you could gear up and engage in the god damned crucible, and here is where the beta truly shone… shined? It was really good. One of the few major tweaks Bungie made on it’s second go around in the Destiny franchise was to move shotguns and sniper rifles into a “power weapon” category, along with grenade launchers, fusion rifles, linear fusion rifles, rocket launchers, and LMG’s. Players spawn with kinetic and energy weapon ammo, but must loot power weapon ammo from set locations which refill on a timer. Also, unlike Heavy weapon drops, Power weapon drops only fill the player who activates the ammo box, not their nearby teammates. Gone are the days of shotgun spam, and they are replaced by some of the best tactical fps pvp play I’ve ever engaged in. One thing bungie does best is rock, paper, scissors. Each weapon has a purpose, and each weapon has a counter. Trying to maintain your most advantageous tactical position with your weapon of choice, and having a flexible load out that allows you to have the most advantageous possible positions is brilliant fun, and never got stale or tedious. Every weapon showcased in the beta felt like it had a purpose, and finding that purpose was fulfilling to both me, and my death dealing auto/scout/fusion rifle combo.
If you already loved Destiny and it’s responsive and engaging minute to minute game play, bombastic special moves, and ridiculously addictive gear grind, then the Destiny 2 beta was a micro-dose of sweet, sweet, gun-play straight to your addled brain. Destiny 2 manages to capture the feeling of it’s predecessor while adding in new abilities that enhance each class without making combat feel convoluted or overburdened. Titans can now erect barricades that reload their weapons, Warlocks can drop a.o.e heals or damage buffs, and Hunters can chain devastating melee attacks and dodge rolls in order to become some sort of sonic the hedgehog mutant hybrid monstrosity. It’s great fun.
Of course, the best is yet to come. Destiny 2 will of course feature raids, now with insanely innovative features like matchmaking! Finally, I won’t be driven to a frenzied state trying to make sure any somewhat capable friend of mine has Destiny, is available on Saturday afternoon for 2-4 hours, and of course has at least one guardian with raid level gear. Now I can just log in, sit down, and suffer through 6-8 hours of twelve year old kinder-guardians screaming at one another about how everyone is doing it wrong. No, but really, that raid is going to be awesome.
See you on the battlefield, guardians! Put a few linear fusion rounds into Gary’s chest with me this September, you probably won’t regret it!