This section covers the introduction cut scene and the player's journey to the Farm.
Destiny 2 opens with a cinematic of the Cabal attacking Earth. It begins with a light hearted opening by Cayde-6
which leads to a very serious situation. It’s to the point, emotional, showcases the Vanguard as guardians using their powers.
Veterans will have an understanding of who they are and what is happing, new players are given a taste of their personalities,
a bit of story, and put right in the action. It’s smooth and straightforward.
Moving through unknown territory learning the basics of combat feels good. It isn’t too hard or very long before you move on to more story and the first public encounter area. This takes place in the old tower social area. Cabal are invading and you must defeat waves of enemies. There is plenty of space and places to take cover. Enemies do not come in too fast so they shouldn’t overwhelm you. It’s your first taste of trying to work with other players if they are present.
After the event, the story continues moving you through more of the tower meeting other story characters and taking you to your next objective. Still at a nice even pace. A cool cinematic gets you on the enemy ship and you’re on your way to complete your mission. New types of enemies are introduced here but in a manageable fashion. After fighting your way through you arrive at a small puzzle to disable the generator. Then it’s time to escape. More running and then cinematic. Here ends the first part of the introduction.
Breaking it down.
From the returning player’s perspective, there is that moment when you see your character in the ship and it feels good to be back. We’ve been off whose knows where doing who knows what, but we’re back, ready to dive in and be a guardian. Time to save the city. Then you land and pull out a pistol. Wait, what, a pistol? Last I checked I was packing some pretty cool stuff. Now I understand the whole new game start over thing but it really breaks the immersion and my heart.
With transferred character data a primary weapon of the same type you had equipped could have been provided. Since it’s going to be taken anyway. So you fight your way through, find some people and the armory, it’s a place of weapons, with one, I say one choice. We know better than that, but again I realize the need to not overwhelm new players but a simple check to see if your new or returning to expand your options a bit goes a long way. The rest of the intro flows well and feels good. Checking your player skills, you notice that a few things are changeable which is a nice touch. New players may not even know to check but returning will want to see what they’ve got.
The tower social area as a public battleground is a good introduction to working with other guardians, if they’re present. It’s a wave based encounter with the NPC Zavala interacting with the players. It’s the bare minimum of possible teamwork, designed in a way to work with one or many guardians. Long enough to get a taste, but short enough to not get in the way of progression. Then on to more fighting and cinematics.
After the final cinematic for this section you start fresh. New and returning players are all equal. This makes me feel very strongly that the intro really could have been split into two, one for new, and one for returning, to keep the story and immersion smooth and believable.
While I like the way this section was done and the journey to the farm has strong meaning I feel it failed. At this point the player is supposed to feel vulnerable and helpless. You’ve lost your light, your ghost is busted and can no longer resurrect you. Your whole world has come crashing down, everything about your second life is gone. The player should feel the threat of death. Something a Guardian has never really felt before but it was missing. There are two fights along the way. Neither ever made me feel like I could die. This may be different for new players but veterans should easily overcome the challenge without danger of death. Most of it is walking along the path. Your supposed to be running from the city for your life not taking a leisure stroll in the country. It had the potential to be different and impactful. A dialogue with your ghost beforehand to select a difficulty setting would have been ideal. You can bring in the new players without making them feel overwhelmed because they do not know the game systems. With this we arrive at a cinematic with Hawthorne and move to the Farm.