Destiny 2: Story Sucks, But the Community Doesn’t

Destiny 2: Story Sucks, But the Community Doesn’t

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Destiny 2. Read at your own risk.

Like a whole bunch of you, I picked up Destiny 2 on launch day. I paid no attention to the news surrounding its eventual release over the months, including what changes, if any, were coming to the series, nor any reasons why I should look into returning to the franchise. And then I played the entirety of the single player campaign, including what side missions there were to complete on each planet before I left, and I realized that the story of Destiny 2 was just okay.

When I first popped the disc in I thought it was a great touch to see my Hunter appear from the original Destiny, to see what obstacles I surpassed, and every villain I helped bring to justice. Heck, even some of my friend’s own Guardians got a special recognition. We were playing co-op together when we took down the likes of Oryx, the Taken King.

So after the credits rolled and my Hunter spawned in the rebuilt City Tower, I really thought, “what next?” And that’s not a sparse question to ask with the likes of Destiny. After all, when the credits wrap up, it’s only the tip of the iceberg in terms of replay value. There are strikes to play, weekly raids, daily challenges, planets to patrol and missions to complete therein. You have your plate quite full. It was at this moment that I decided not to continue any further. Not with my Hunter anyway.

Truth be told, I thought the story of Destiny 2 came to a boil within the first couple of hours or so, and then cooled down to a mere simmer the rest of the way. The Cabal have returned with yet another esteemed leader with a tragic past, who has a vision for a shining future. Dominus Ghaul, who essentially reminded me of Daredevil’s Wilson Fisk, is an antagonist with a cool booming voice… and… nothing else. He didn’t do anything for me. The final battle sees the guy even turn into a godlike projection of pure light (in a cutscene anyway) and the Traveler just disintigrates him into nothingness.

Come to think of it, if the Traveler had enough power to decimate Ghaul so easily, after being imprisoned and supposedly leached of its power by the Cabal during the entirety of the game, why not stop the calamity from happening in the first place? The City would never have fallen, and we wouldn’t have Destiny 2, that’s why. Oh my gosh, it’s all the Traveler’s fault. All those Guardians meeting their deaths. Not cool. It’s like one of those “Why God, why would you let this happen?” scenarios. Oh well, plot armor, I guess. I saw through it. You can even blame the Traveler for casting its light through the far reaches of the galaxy, awakening a new threat that we’re sure to confront in Destiny 2’s expansions. It’s no wonder the player controlled avatars are called Guardians.

I’m not a fan of Bungie’s direction for the story in this sequel.The game’s plot is disinteresting, the first couple of hours notwithstanding. But don’t get me wrong, the lore of the series is definitely intriguing and I’m curious to see where it goes next. It’s just, in terms of a main series sequel with such cinematic value, I wasn’t all that entertained. Perhaps they can fill in the details with the expansions, such as, is there going to be a new Speaker? Who or what were the Hive and Taken trying to summon in their rituals? What’s going on with Rasputin on Io?

Anyway, I logged off from my Hunter profile and decided to take on the role of a female Awoken Titan this time, and boy does she look cool. I’m now sitting at around level 12, repeating the same process as I did with my Hunter. This time, however, I’m bypassing all the cutscenes.

I had a great time playing with my personal fire team and clan in the original game, but I always seemed to be the one to play catch up. I was constantly levels behind and underpowered to the point where I needed to be revived every other minute, but I can’t deny how much fun I was having with friends. The thought never occurred to me to start up a new class. I know I didn’t have the time nor interest in the first game, not after Vanilla Destiny. My friends would often swap out classes if we were hitting a brick wall in our raids. Smart, especially if you have the time for it. So I thought, why not? Oddly enough, it’s me that now has a leg up on the competition. Some of my friends have either not finished the single player story yet, or haven’t even picked the game up. In retrospect, I better understand why a couple of them have chosen to give Destiny 2 a pass.

Currently working on a second play through, it feels a lot like the original Destiny, with a few cosmetic and some fundamental changes, but not all for the best. Why on earth are Shaders consumable items? Whose terrible decision was that? In contrast, Motes of Light are gone (thankfully) when reaching your level cap. Instead you’re rewarded with Bright Engrams that hold the potential to some real nice equipment buffing mods. Speaking of Engrams, Destiny 2 takes a no holds barred step in the “pay to win” direction, like Activision won’t make enough money from the forthcoming downloadable content.

To me, Bungie took a couple steps forward, and a few steps back. Destiny 2 may not be an ideal successor in some ways, but it soars in terms of a player driven community. When I start tracking my next mission on a map, I can’t help but join in on a public event when I see one triggered. By the time one ends I realize, “Oh yeah, I had a mission to get to.”  It shouldn’t be surprising though, Destiny and its sequel thrives on community. Honestly, I always felt a lingering feeling that something was missing when I went through the campaign alone, and I would be delighted to see another real player suddenly emerge during a story sequence.

I’ve yet to dip my toes into the Crucible for a more competitive Destiny 2, so I have no idea how balancing is going during launch week. I’m quite alright exploring the fringes of the map in the cooperative stuff, but when Iron Banner fires up in October… oh boy, I’m going to be ready, and hopefully my clan will be, too.

Honestly, I used to be real big on multiplayer games, but that’s fizzled out quite a bit in recent years. I think franchise fatigue played a major role in my not coming back, as it did with other friends and gamers I know. The first Destiny game even falls under that category. Strange considering that this is barely the first numbered sequel to that game! However, Destiny was one of the very few games that I grew tired of, dusted off, and came back to play over its lifespan. At the moment, it seems that Destiny 2 is headed for the same fate. Perhaps, because, unlike some Destiny players, I don’t want to complete everything all in one night. How is it that there are people on my friends list that have played the game longer than I’ve slept in the past five days? The grind, while tedious at times, is satiated by those I can play with. It’s times like these when I’m definitely looking forward to picking up my controller again.

My legend has only just begun (again). While entirely subjective, I’m hoping it won’t fizzle out like the Speaker’s revelation did, nor as the first game.

Jason Arriola

One of the biggest Star Wars fans there is. When I don't have one of many gaming peripherals in my hands I probably have my nose in a good book, out amiibo hunting, or contemplating (and never deciding) what game to pull off my shelf next!