I’m still making my way through the campaign in Destiny 2. For those who play I just opened up IO and intend to run those missions this evening. Because I’ve read ahead on the wikis (more on that later) I know I’m about to run in to a whole lot of Taken, which is an enemy class I really dislike.
To be blunt, I’m not getting why everyone is saying D2 is an improvement over the first game. Maybe this is because I haven’t finished the campaign and gotten to the endgame activities yet. But if the campaign is just an uninspired means to grind your character up to an appropriate light level why did Bungie even bother?
There are some glaring issues with the game I have to point out that are really starting to bother me. Like the first game you have three slots for weapons: a Kinetic, Energy, and Power. It’s advantageous to play with the load out you choose before the mission through the entire mission because there’s a steep penalty to switching out your weapons in the same class mid-mission. Namely you lose a lot of ammo. If you change out your Kinetic weapon that’s not too big a deal to restock. Even Energy weapon ammo drops with decent regularity (at times). However if you’ve been blazing along for the last couple of missions with a trusty sniper rifle in your Power slot and only to be greeted by a 60 foot tall monstrosity at the end of your current mission, you are going to want a rocket launcher very quickly. Which is where the new load out scheme completely falls apart.
Destiny had 3 classes of weapons also, but sniper was in the Energy category with fusion rifles, shotguns, etc. These were strong weapons but not doing monstrous damage. They are still not doing monstrous damage but now Bungie has relegated those fairly standard weapons in to the Power category along with grenade and rocket launchers. Worse, Power ammo doesn’t drop all that often so if you are engaged in an overpowered boss and your sniper rifle isn’t really doing it AND there is no Power ammo to be seen you are basically screwed. This is a serious balancing problem. Adding to the frustration is an increase in grenade and Super cool down times which results in some battles that are just tedious.
Part of this may be the class I play as (Hunter) and the way I like to play (cautiously). The enemy AI in Destiny 2 is for the most part dumber than rocks and tend to employ the Star Wars approach to battle: march straight at you firing absolutely everything all at once. I like to not be where they think I am, preferably on high ground, and take them out from afar as much as possible. After carving up most enemies with your conventional weapons inevitably you’re confronted with a boss that is also very dumb, but also very strong. These bullet sponges shake off your normal weapons and require Supers and Heavy weapons to take down. Once you run out of Heavy ammo you are left with chipping at them from a distance with rifles while waiting for your very, VEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRY SLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW Super ability to recharge. These battles are about as fun as watching your house burn to the ground and realizing you left a winning lottery ticket inside on the kitchen counter. I spent about 45 minutes just plunking away at one guy hoping against hope that someone would drop some goddamn Power ammo. In the end I was stuck hiding while waiting for my Super to recharge at which point I ran up to the enemy, activated my Super, took some shots until Super ran out, and then jumped away back under cover. Repeat the entire process and repeat again as long as it takes until he finally went down. FUN!
Which leads me to why I’m reading ahead on the walkthrough. Due to this weapon issue I don’t want to be in a situation where my loadout is less than optimal. In the above mission I switched from Arcstrider to Gunslinger on my Super and lost the entire charge bar meaning I had to wait another 15 minutes for it to charge again. Seriously? What possible reason is there to penalize players for this? Fuck that.
Another thing that was changed in the weapons that I don’t like is that now when you pick up a new weapon it is immediately at its full power. In Destiny you had to put some time in to using a weapon to unlock its potential and if you were patient you could get some really strong weapons that were outclassing higher level weapons. It was enjoyable and you really got a feel for the particular weapon and grew a fondness for it. In Destiny 2 you are encouraged to change up your weapons as soon as you get a better one with higher point value to keep raising that all important light level and get higher point value stuff. For a game all about the loot they don’t seem all that interested in the players keeping the loot for longer than a few minutes before trading up again and scrapping the old stuff because that new stuff becomes old stuff 30 minutes later.
I’m also baffled by why I don’t have a Sparrow (hoverbike) or where the hell I’m supposed to get one. But since my character runs at about the same speed as a man with a broken arm crawls I’m spending a lot of time hoofing it over the various planets. According to Bungie this is a design decision: https://www.polygon.com/2017/9/5/16223328/destiny-2-sparrow-how-to-get, and apparently you can get a Sparrow after you finish the campaign. But according to Bungie they didn’t put Sparrows in because they didn’t want players zooming past all the neat stuff they put in the game. Since most of that neat stuff doesn’t appear until after the campaign is over it makes no sense that you would wait until then before giving me a damn Sparrow since your entire reason for doing so was so I wouldn’t rush around post-campaign. What the actual fuck?! Regardless of the reason behind it after spending so much time in Destiny with a Sparrow whenever I wanted one not having one is just annoying.
One final gripe and this is probably a personal preference more than anything but can we knock it off with the silent protagonist bullshit? In Destiny my character spoke occasionally. In Destiny 2 she’s a fucking mute and there are times where NPCs ask her questions and Ghost answers for her and they are like “Why is the robot answering for you?” and I’m like “Yeah, dude, what the fuck?!” and then my Guardian blinks and looks mildly confused. It makes me wonder about her mental state and is a trope I really, really hate. I know the argument for using a silent protagonist but it doesn’t make the game more immersive. I’m controlling an undead space Valkyrie charged with saving the solar system from a constantly spawning army of thieving space bugs and other assorted aliens. If you’ve managed to suspend your disbelief to the point where a voice coming from your video game character breaks the illusion of the perfect simulation that has been constructed in your mind in which you and your Guardian are one than you need to stop playing immediately and check in to a mental hospital because its not much of a stretch to get from that to thinking the dog is sending you telepathic messages and your carpet is plotting to kill you.
In the end I’m still trudging through the game, mostly because I paid $60 for the privilege of doing so. Maybe some of these issues will start to fade as I spend more time with it. The problem is I’m not having all that much fun right now and just getting through the damn campaign is really wearing my patience. Enemies stand around waiting to be shot or dart back and forth strafing you without actually advancing or trying to flank. It’s boring quite frankly. And after slogging through a few waves and getting to the last boss what’s super fun is when the goddamn servers disconnect you for no reason and you lose all the progress.