Thinking With Hot Ice: Destiny 2

Destiny 2 servers are down, and I am on my lunch break and can’t play it, so I wanted to take some time to put my thoughts down on how I feel about the game. Don’t ask me to be objective, because I don’t think I can do that right now. I’m too in love with the game to try that, so bear with me while I get an erection thinking about playing the game.

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First of all, I was one those people that saw the announcement of the first Destiny, and put SO much expectation on it, then was ultimately disappointed with the final product. Part of that is my fault, sure. I shouldn’t have expected so much. But more of it is the fault of the game. There were A LOT of promises during development, and most of them were not in the final game.

I got angry, and dropped the game very early on, but came back for The Taken King. While I had a lot more fun with that expansion, I still dropped it after a few weeks, which is why my expectations were tempered with Destiny 2. Actually, it was more like cautious scorn. I was fully prepared to shit all over this game after it came out and I didn’t enjoy it…….but then I got to play it….

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It all started with the beta. It was just a few days of one story mission, a strike, and some crucible, but even with that limited view, I was already intrigued. My angry, empty soul started to feel a bit of hope with the release. I found myself actually LOOKING FORWARD to it. I know! The guy who hates things just for fun! Then, after playing some of the Call of Duty WWII beta (which was shit), I realized there was only one shooter worth a damn, and my hopes that Destiny 2 would be fun got a little more desperate.

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This brings us to when I fired up the game and immediately felt immersed in this gigantic space opera that had EVERYTHING I wanted it to be. With the first game, there was always this invisible wall that kept me from feeling involved in the story or the game world. I’m not sure if I could pinpoint one reason; it’s likely a combination of many. I do know, however, that this invisible wall was nowhere to be found in this new game.

I only want to play this game with headphones on when I can dive headfirst into it and stay there for hours. Everything from the NPCs to the sound design feels massively improved. A world that felt empty and bland is now somehow full of like and substance, and there wasn’t a whole lot that changed. It was just a few tweaks here and there combined with a story that could rival any shooter, and it felt like a whole new experience.

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Speaking of story, there IS one. Who fucking knew, right? I can’t believe people actually went online and said they didn’t NEED a story to enjoy the game. Sure, you may have the imagination of a mollusk, but you are also rare. Most gamers prefer a good story. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think this might be Bungie’s best storytelling so far. The biggest reason may be Ghaul, the commander of the Cabal Red Legion.

I don’t know how I can start off thinking a villain is going to just be very drab and archetypal, and then see him become one of the most compelling villains in gaming. I can’t say I agree with everything Ghaul does, but I UNDERSTAND it, which may be even more significant. After having villains that served no purpose other than to be bad guys, it was a welcome change.

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Then we start talking about the improvements to all the other characters in the game. Didn’t feel like there was enough interaction with the Vanguard? Now you have that in droves. Want more Cayde-6? You got it. Want NPC’s that feel like real people that can make you laugh or cry on a dime? Here you go. It’s a little odd that the least lifelike character in all this seems to be YOU.

The silent hero is slightly outdated, but they even throw in a quip to poke fun at it when your Ghost interrupts you before you can speak. It’s more a role-playing element, and I can’t really complain when everyone else makes up for it. I may sound like a bit of a pansy right now, but it’s only because the game feels special to me. The music makes me feel like I’m walking around my own movie. The story makes me feel like a galaxy-spanning badass. The characters make me feel right at home.

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One thing I haven’t talked about, which surprises me a little, is the gameplay. Maybe I forgot to mention it because it was one of the only aspects of the previous game I liked, but even then there are small improvements. The guns feel like they have actual weight behind them when shooting, moving around feels crisp and smooth, and shooting evil robots and space turtles has never been more fun.

I can’t wait for the servers to go live again, because there will be even MORE shit to do. Bungie is doing a lot of things right with these monthly roadmaps they push out. I’m looking forward to every one, and I can only sit here and hope to be done with work soon so I get back in to this world I’ve come to enjoy so much.

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