Read or listen to any discussion about games, and the word “content” is bound to pop up. It’s the buzzword of the day, as players, critics, developers and publishers argue over, criticise, praise and/or hype the quality, amount and cost of said content.
How much content do you get for your dirhams? How much content is in the DLC? Is there more single-player multiplayer content?
Content can of course refer to many things when it comes to games, but it’s usually used as a synonym for “story”. For many, a game’s value can be determined by looking at the hours of single-player story content it provides and working out if that seems like a fair amount for the price you paid for the whole package.
It’s ironic then that Destiny 2 comes with such a good story, since it’s the type of game where the length or quality of the story involved is woefully inadequate as a metric in determining the value proposition on offer.
The first instalment of the series was widely panned for the small amount of story on offer, as well as the clumsy way in which it was told.
This was rectified in the expansions, but it’s safe to say no one expected a great story from Destiny 2. What a pleasant surprise it was then to find a well-told, engaging story that is beginning to realise Bungie’s ambitions to see the Destiny universe put on the same shelf as The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Star Wars.
Yet the game doesn’t end when the “story” does; in fact, ending the main series of quests is really just the beginning, and after doing so a whole new world of activities opens up to you.
It’s here, in the so-called and never-ending end-game where Destiny 2 truly comes alive and stakes its claim as a gaming proposition unlike that of any of its competitors: a hybrid of the shooting action in a Halo title, the social gameplay of a World of Warcraft, and the loot hunt of a Diablo 3, all rolled up into one.
This is a game where the gameplay IS the content, as much as the story is. And there’s so much of it.
You’re invited to explore everything Destiny 2 has to offer, whether that is in the form of just exploring every part of the varied worlds on offer, shooting baddies alone or with friends while collecting and upgrading weapons and armour for your character, taking on other players in the Crucible, or joining up with them to take on one of the tough Strikes or even tougher Nightfalls and Raids.
Whether you choose to take part in some or all of the above, it is here, whether alone or especially with friends, where you will create your own stories, stories of discovery, camaraderie and enmity, all played out in a varied and exotic world with some amazing and creative art direction.
The sense of immersion is helped by sound design that is second to none, and your adventures are accompanies by what is, in my opinion, the best soundtrack in any game.
A word about guns
It’s been obvious since the release of Halo: Combat Evolved that the creative minds at Bungie have a special talent for creating the best weapons in gaming. The way weapons look and respond to your inputs, the sounds they make, the variety on offer… no other developer comes close. All of this talent is on full display again in Destiny 2, which is a dream come true for lovers of virtual weapons (and armour).
The best and most powerful weapons are of the Legendary and Exotic variety, mostly found by decoding engrams received as rewards for various activities in the game, both player vs environment (PvE) and player vs player (PvP). Seeing an Exotic engram popping up on your screen, hastily travelling to the hub area to decode it, and finding that it contains just the weapon you need to take your Guardian to the next level of combat proficiency (not to mention style) is as satisfying a gaming experience as you can hope to find today.
Buy or not?
Destiny 2 is its own type of game, and the only way to find out if it’s the sort of thing that appeals to you is to give it a try. But if you enjoy a good shooter, if you like games that you can enjoy together with friends or strangers, and if the idea of a good loot grind sounds like fun to you — any of these should be reason enough to find Destiny 2 a most enjoyable experience.
If you’re the type of gamer that enjoys all three of the above, then expect hundreds of hours of pure gaming bliss.
Platform: PS4, Xbox One