What is Destiny 2?
From the studio that brought you Halo, and the publishers of Call of Duty, Destiny 2 is a sci-fi themed first person shooter that packs both a hefty story mode, and a veritable arsenal of multiplayer modes, for both competitive and co-op play. Taking on the role of a Guardian - a super powered protector of the last city on Earth - you find yourself stripped of your power as an alien race known as the Cabal invades. Left weakened, battered and bruised - and with the city in enemy hands - it's up to you to set out on a journey of revenge, as you try to regain your powers, reform with your fellow Guardians, and send the Cabal packing once and for all.
How do you play Destiny 2?
Destiny 2 is a game of many modes. From gorgeous vistas to hostile metal corridors, Destiny 2's heavily story-driven campaign mode can be played in either single player, or with a group of up to three friends, as you fight to take back control of the city. Coming up against not only the Cabal, but a number of other alien races too, with some carrying shields, others exploding when hit, and each having a specific weakness of their own, you'll regularly need to change your approach (and your weaponry) if you want to survive, as you slowly regain your powers, and head towards your final confrontation with Ghaul, the leader of the Cabal.
Outside of the main campaign, Destiny 2 provides plenty of side-quests and missions to keep you busy. With four hub worlds to explore, you'll find loads of activities to try your hands at, with the selection refreshing on a regular basis, and new quests being added all the time. From "Adventures", which are story driven mini-missions that take you to areas you may not have visited, to "Strikes", which are designed as challenging, dungeon style encounters, and Public Events, which show up seemingly at random to offer players timed challenges - like chasing down a mining crew, or defeating two huge tanks - everything outside the main campaign is played in co-op either as a group of three friends, or alongside other random players, with randomised item and weapon drops giving you a reason to keep coming back. The rarer/more powerful your equipment, the higher your character's power will be, which in turn will grant you access to tougher events, challenges and missions beyond the story.
There's also the game's competitive, 4v4 multiplayer mode. Putting a huge emphasis on team work, you'll take on another group of Guardians in objective based gameplay, from Supremacy, where you have to kill the other team and pick up their dropped crests to score points, to Countdown - a mode where you'll need to place a bomb, defend it, and survive in order to win the round.
How easy is Destiny 2 to pick up and play?
In terms of accessibility, Destiny 2 is a game aimed at experienced shooter players. Along with expecting you to know the basics of how a first person shooter works before you start playing, Destiny also talks in a language of its own, with Raids, Strikes, Nightfall, Fireteams, and other lingo you'll need to pick up to find your way around the game's many revolving challenges. With a plot that picks up where the last game left off, having a working knowledge of the story of the first game, and the jargon, would go a long way.
As Destiny 2 is always online, and the game regularly teams you up with random players to take on challenges outside the campaign, it doesn't actually have anything in the way of an adjustable difficultly level, meaning it can be a tough first few hours before you find your footing, and unlock some new weapons. Levels regularly pit you against huge hordes of enemies, usually led by at least one immensely tough baddie, requiring plenty of spacial awareness, some deft dual analogue stick skills, and an appetite for persistence when you get defeated, with the game being particularly challenging when playing on your own. With enemies sometimes dropping weapons/equipment when defeated, you'll want to keep a close eye on any items you pick up, as they're the key to Destiny's progression. The better your weapons/equipment, the easier the game will become, and replaying earlier levels will often bag you some better goodies.
Luckily, Destiny 2 uses a regular checkpoints system, meaning that even if you should be killed, you'll never lose too much progress, often simply restarting all of a few feet away from where you died. Some sections in the campaign, however, do challenge you to survive for a fairly lengthy stretch without dying, instead restarting you right back at the start of the section should you pop your clogs.
- Destiny 2 requires an online connection at all times, even when playing in single player. While the game's story driven campaign can be played entirely on your own, the many side quests and challenges can't, with the game instead matching you up with random players. The game will refuse to load if you aren't connected to the internet.
Unlike many shooters, Destiny 2 is actually pretty light on mature content, with nothing in the way of bad language or sexual content, and only mild to moderate violence.
Most of the combat in Destiny 2 sees you taking on alien hordes with a variety of weaponry, from space age lasers to bog standard machine guns. But while foes will groan when hit, they don't tend to bleed. Any "blood" that is seen is either black or green rather than red, making it look much less visceral. Even in multiplayer contests against other human characters, there's still little in the way of noticeable blood, with a red tinge appearing at the corners of the screen when you get hit.
Beyond the mature content considerations, parents should note that Destiny 2 is a heavily online game, and it's actually impossible to play without coming into regular contact with other players. Players can join groups called "clans" and "fireteams", and with an emphasis on using voice chat to communicate with other members of your team/group, the usual safety considerations about communicating with players online apply.
Format Reviewed: PC