Destiny 2 Beta Impressions: A Little Underwhelming

If you thought Destiny was disappointing, Destiny 2's beta most likely will not address your concerns. We spent some time in the Destiny 2 beta this week, available first on PlayStation 4 and a day later (yesterday) on Xbox One for those who pre-ordered and below are our impressions. The PC version is last to the party and doesn't have a beta date yet, but the full open beta for consoles begins this weekend.

The purpose of the beta, outside of the obvious pre-order marketing gimmick, is to stress-test servers and gain some invaluable feedback prior to the Destiny 2's full launch on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in September (late October for PC). Destiny 2's first playable beta experience however, is quite a bit smaller than the first game's which offered multiple missions across the Earth map so we don't have much to go on.

The Destiny 2 beta only features an extended version of the playable intro mission from E3, one strike dubbed the "The Inverted Spire," and the Crucible multiplayer which includes two modes (one of them brand new). The story mission is full of big, flashy cinematic moments and introduces the main guardian leaders from the first game. It's clear Bungie is trying to push the characters and story more, to build on the unused lore of the first game.

[vn_gallery name="Destiny 2 Images, Key Art, Box Shots, and Screenshots" id="1021283"]

And it wastes no time. Players chose one of the three recognizable playable classes - Hunter, Titan, or Warlock - and jump right in. The subclass skill trees (two for each class) have been simplified in their redesign and although there's a new subclass for each, they're eerily similar to what the first game offered. As for the gear, the interface and menus are nearly the same but the loadout options have been adjusted, now grouping weapons into two primary slots and taking some of the more situational-specific weapons (shotguns, sniper rifles, and fusion rifles) and merging them into the more powerful heavy category (where rocket launchers and LMGs used to occupy).

Destiny 2 Beta Weapons Need More Variety

Note: Not a single screenshot or piece of art provided is from actual in-game first-person perspective

This means you'll find yourself with quite a bit less variety, swapping between two variants of a similar 'basic' gun (pistols, SMGs, assault rifles, or scout rifles), some of which feel so weak that they're useless. Combined with long cooldowns for powers and grenades, and little heavy ammo, and the weapon play is a bit of a downgrade. We've heard the heavy ammo shortages will be addressed in the full game but I suspect more, larger changes will come as well. Or at least, need to.

Destiny 2 looks and feels great though. There are mind-blowing effects and intricate, interesting details on character designs and animations. The music is insane (and needs its own volume slider desperately!) and the developers amp up the ambient effects, from lighting to weather, to new heights that really change up the feel during hectic combat. Parts of the available levels look the same as before, but some areas offer entirely new environmental designs. It's the same game though to be sure. It's still about following a linear, sometimes very tight paths, and taking out waves of bullet sponges. Don't expect a radical do-over from Bungie with Destiny 2. The speed at which players move feels slow though, but verticality is still key.

The beta's new strike was neat too, and offered a different type of challenge where after damaging its big boss enough, the floor vanishes, sinking players down to the next level. It means players need to be on the move more, and hyper aware of environment or area of effect dangers. It's intense and well-designed.

Key Release Dates
  • Destiny 2 (2017 Video Game) release date: Sep 08, 2017
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