Destiny was a fine shooter, but it was riddled with glaring flaws that were eventually ironed out by its expansions, most notably The Taken King. The "Year Two" Destiny experience was probably my favorite time with that game - the Dreadnought was filled with secrets, the Taken were an interesting enemy to fight, and the King's Fall Raid was just as good as the original Vault of Glass. It was by no means perfect, but Destiny had gotten to a really good place from which you could launch a sequel.
What's surprising to me, is that Destiny 2 chose to walk back a lot of the positive things about the original game. Story-wise, there's no mystery to be found; everything is explained to you in rather direct fashion. The nature of the Darkness in the galaxy isn't questioned, you're simply Guardians shooting the bad aliens. Even when exploring the vast ruins of dead worlds, there's... nothing to figure out. I suppose that the original game leaned too hard on trying to preserve the mysterious ("I don't have time to explain..."), but Destiny 2 moved too far in the opposite direction.
On the co-op front, shoving almost all of the bigger co-op activities to the endgame seems like a mistake as well. The Strikes that unlocked over the course of the Destiny campaign aren't introduced until you're almost at the end of Destiny 2's. This had a curious effect of me not even running a Strike until I did the weekly Nightfall for the first time. While the original Strikes roughly fit into the campaign, the Destiny 2 Strikes feel like they're simply side missions included as an afterthought. The inability to directly replay Strikes you like really hammers that feeling home.
The lack of randomized stats/perks on weapons is probably what upset me most in Destiny 2. Part of the fun of the original was finding a "god roll" weapon, with both good stats and relevant perks. Now, all you need to do is pursue specific weapons, rather than enjoy the surprise of finding one with unexpected power. Exotic weapons also feel lackluster this time around, and outside of the Prometheus Lens being broken for a while, the decision to balance skills and weapon stats around the PVP mode is not a welcome one. Other MMOs have figured out how to deal with this, and Destiny 2 needs to learn that lesson quickly.
So what did I like? For the most part, I think that the open world areas are a lot of fun to run around in, and the new system for Public Events is really nice, especially when you're on a map with players who know how to spawn the Heroic variants of them. Movement and gun play still feel incredibly tight, and the PC version feels even better. I like the small stories that Adventures offer, and I hope they lean more into them in the future.
I capped off my original review of Destiny by talking about how much potential it had, and over time Bungie really did improve it. Destiny 2 is currently in a very similar place, but now has very different expectations hanging over it. The question is is whether or not Bungie is up to meeting them a second time.
The Co-Optimus Co-Op Review of Destiny 2 is based on time spent with both the PC and PlayStation 4 versions of the game. Codes were provided by the publisher for review purposes.
The Co-Op Experience: Team up with friends through Story missions, Strikes, Patrol Zones, and Raids
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.