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It's So Close You Can Almost Taste It - Our Hands On Preview

Blake Morse Posted:
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It’s almost here! It’s so close you can almost taste it. Just around the corner lies the day you’ve been waiting for patiently for the last few months. Destiny 2 will be here in just a few short weeks! But before the official launch we’ve got one more sneak peek for you. A last glimpse behind the veil before all is truly revealed. So here’s the low-down on everything we saw during a special hands-on event that was recently put on by the good folks at Activision and Bungie.

We’re gonna skip over the basics since by now we’ve either all watched the livestream event, played the beta, read about it in other coverage. I will say that visually everything feels more fleshed out in the environments. Things feel alive on the various planets and moons that you’ll explore in Destiny.

A prime example of that would be the new European Dead Zone (EDZ). This is where you’ll experience your real first taste of what’s to come in Destiny 2. Unlike the barren, dry lands of Russia, the EDZ is flourishing with life. Flowers grow in fields surrounded by redwood trees and sunny days turn into cold, dark nights. Within all that wonder though also lies the presence of your enemies. Cabal ships and enemy strongholds can be found amongst the ruins of humanity’s past civilization.

In all these new locations you’ll now be able to find items of interest that are scannable. It’s very similar to the dead ghosts you’d find in the first Destiny, only each item you scan will also give you some background or lore on the world around you. And while it looks like there won’t be any spinmetal this time around, you’ll still find resources that you can use hidden throughout areas. Treasure chests are still hidden as well, but some can be found by taking out high value targets, which are basically tougher versions of regular enemies.

Somewhere in the EDZ lies the decaying city of Trostland you’ll find the remnants of a church and within that church you’ll meet one of your first new contacts. It’s hard to say if your latest ally, Devrim Kay is actually charming or if it’s just his British accent that lowers my defenses. Either way, you’ll run some missions for him and he’ll even function as an on-world vendor for supplies and weapons. Once Devrim makes sure you got the basics down, you’ll pretty much have carte blanche to carry on how you see fit in the EDZ.

Everything is set up now so you can pretty much do all the activities in a destination without having to jump into your spaceship to get things going. Patrols are still very similar in their set up as the first game and will have you doing things like scanning areas and collecting items from fallen enemies. Just like before, you’ll be able to find Patrol missions strewn about the different areas in a map. But they aren’t the only missions you’ll find now.

 Adventures feel like they’re somewhere between patrols and the regular missions you played in Destiny 1. They usually start out with a simple task similar to what you’d find in a patrol, but usually require more exploration and very specific goals, such as platform hopping from one floating island to another while your ghost collects data from nodes, or hunting down information on lost comrades through Vex-flooded catacombs. Each adventure not only serves as a new and refreshing challenge, it also fills out a lot of world lore and can help familiarize some of the newer faces you’ll see in Destiny 2.

Public events are back and better than ever too. Not only are they much, much more prevalent, there’s many more permutations. You’ll still do things like stop enemies from drilling and taking on devil walkers. But now you might be able to do things like collect orbs that can unlock scorch cannons that you can use to blow up the walker quicker. And if you can accomplish certain tasks while in a PE, you might even unlock a Heroic Public Event where the stakes are even higher and the rewards that much greater.  

Strikes still play out the same way, but with much more flavor. For instance, instead of just duking it out with a roided up larger version of a standard enemy you might face a boss that has a little bit of raid flavor to it. Like you might duke it out with a giant robot who puts up a shield you have to dissolve by standing in a certain area while defending yourself from its grunts. Then maybe the head could explode off said robot causing it to go into a frenzied, violent new attack pattern.

And of course the PvP Crucible mode is back for those of you looking to face off against their peers. Once again, since it was featured in the beta and such already I don’t want to get too into it. But I felt that the new maps leant themselves better to defensive team work more so than in D1.

Many of the other changes in Destiny 2 are more subtle, such as no longer needing to pop your engrams back at the cryptarch. And your ghost’s dialog will vary depending on whether or not you’ve played the first game. Overall though it’s definitely focusing on keeping you in the game and spending less time managing inventory or figuring out what to do with your time next. The game’s progression also feels like it gets you right into the action while not ramping things up too quick and really helps you learn the game while giving D1 vets a refresher course. And the style is so perfect for a game where you’ve gone from riches to rags.

Oh, and did I mention there are tanks this time around?! Yup, you’ll get to run over and blow up all sorts of alien life in Destiny 2. It really harkens back to Bungie’s old school Halo days and it’s always great to get a shiny new toy to blow stuff up with!

All and all, Destiny 2 is shaping up to take everything you loved about Destiny and make it better while trimming some of the fat in the form of a more streamlined and vibrant game experience. If you’re a fan of Destiny already, you probably ordered your copy months ago, but let me just reassure you that I think you made a sound purchase. And if this is your first time as a guardian, there’s never been a better time to hop on. Destiny 2 launches on XB1, PS4 on September 6th. For the PC folks, a little while longer must be waited, as it launches there on October 24th.


Blake Morse