Bungie has blown the doors off Destiny 2. We've seen the game in action and we've been drenched in details concerning the shooter's many modes of play. Basically, Destiny 2 sounds like it's aiming to be bigger, better, and more accessible than its predecessor. In other words, it's shaping up to be an unsurprisingly solid sequel, building on what the original got right while also reworking the things that needed to be improved.
With that in mind, allow us to break down the five most important things that we learned about Destiny 2 from its gameplay reveal event.
It promises a much improved story and campaign
Always a fair criticism against the original Destiny, the campaign and the story that surrounded it were pretty weak. Characters that were just fountains of exposition and vague objectives were the order of the day, and it was often clear that the plot had been butchered at some point during development, leading to a series of missions that were barely held together by a terribly disjointed narrative.
Much like later expansions The Taken King and Rise of Iron, Destiny 2 is looking to address that criticism by offering a more in-depth story packed with cutscenes. Bungie says that the sequel's campaign features the most cinematic sequences to date, so you can expect to see a lot of the property's three primary characters: Zavala, Cayde, and Ikora.
The story will also set a main villain up from the start: Lord Ghaul, a big Cabal b*stard who's hellbent on taking the Traveller for himself. We could be looking at a simple but well produced tale of revenge here, especially seeing as Ghaul marches up and destroys everything that you hold dear right at the beginning of the game.
It'll have four big worlds to explore, all stuffed with activities
The original Destiny had some interesting environments that you were free to explore and patrol, but none of them measured up to the kind of locations that you'd find in a truly open world game. If you wanted to get into the real meat of Destiny, you'd probably start to avoid these free-roam areas altogether, and this is something that Destiny 2 really wants to address.
The sequel will have four new worlds to explore: the European Dead Zone, Titan, Nessus, and Io. Each one of them will supposedly be stuffed with various activities to keep both solo and co-op explorers happy. There'll be 'Adventures' - which sound like small-scale stories - a heavier emphasis on public events, and 'Lost Sectors'. The latter are apparently dungeons scattered throughout the worlds that are infested with enemies. Hopefully the loot that they house will be worth the trouble.
All in all, it sounds like Bungie's really expanding the concept of having open areas to explore. Again, bigger and better seems to be the main focus here.
The Crucible is being refined
The big multiplayer headline is that all game modes will now feature four-on-four matches. That's less players for some modes that were in the original Destiny, but we have to assume Bungie has a good reason for dropping the numbers. It's probably looking to make the Crucible a more competitive environment - and one that's perhaps a little more personal.
It's also getting a brand new game mode called Countdown. The goal of the attacking team is to plant a bomb in the enemy's base and protect it until it explodes. The defending team will obviously have to try and stop the attackers from doing that, and then once it's over, the roles are reversed. Pretty basic stuff, but it sounds like it could be good fun.
We'll no doubt hear more about the changes to the Crucible over the next few months via Bungie livestreams and developer blog posts. In any case, competitive players should definitely have something to look forward to.
There's a brand new clan system that offers matchmaking
Wow, a clan system that's actually in the game and hosted entirely on a website? Incredible!
Snark aside, Bungie went into great detail regarding Destiny 2's clan system during the reveal event. Basically, you'll be able to create a clan and get other players to join you all from within the game. This should make organising sessions with your allies a breeze, and you can even assign your own custom banner to your group.
All of this seems like an obvious addition, but things get more interesting when it comes to matchmaking. In the original Destiny, matchmaking isn't available for endgame content like Raids and difficult Nightfall Strikes. If you don't have the right amount of players, you have little choice but to recruit other Guardians, either through specific sites on the internet or by spamming people with invites in a social space like the Tower.
For some people this works well enough, but for others, it means that there's no simple and easy way to tackle the endgame content on a regular basis. With the new clan system in Destiny 2, however, you'll be able to matchmake with a clan of your choice. So, for example, if you're by yourself and you want to try a Raid, you can simply search for a clan that needs an extra person and join up. Likewise, if your party is only a couple of people short, you can opt to search for players who are eager to fill those spots. It sounds like a reasonable compromise to us.
A more streamlined user experience
Destiny was full of loading screens; we don't dare think about how many cumulative hours we've spent sat staring at our spaceship as it travelled to and from different planets. We've seen less attractive loading screens for sure, but the fact remains that Destiny felt like a very segmented experience. If you wanted to go back to your hub, you had to jump back into orbit, then pick your destination from a map. If you wanted to try a new activity, you had to go back to orbit first and again, choose another location from your map. It was a very clunky system.
Fortunately, Destiny 2 is doing away with all that 'return to orbit' nonsense. The big explorable planets that we mentioned earlier will house everything that you need - all you have to do is open up your map and go there. And that counts for separate planets, too; you'll be able to jump from one world to another without having to return to space. To use a particularly popular buzzword, it all sounds very seamless.
So, what do you think of Destiny 2 based on what you've seen so far? Are you hyped, or are you a little cautious? Fight back against the darkness in the comments section below.