The story has taken a drastic turn. Here I will examine the transistion from Destiny to Destiny 2, the story of Destiny 2, and what looks to be coming in future DLC. A word document of this is available here.
First and foremost, I did enjoy the story and so did many others. This is important given the drastic
shift and the back peddling on the vague promise of keeping our guardians. It sounded like a great idea,
you can keep your guardian as we move forward through this ten-year journey, that maybe didn’t have enough
buy in. The how to transition from the heights of Destiny 1 to the beginnings of Destiny 2 is a pretty tall order.
Story to the rescue. They created a beautiful narrative around you going back to level 1, adjusting the classes and introducing new systems. At its core it’s a great design but the execution failed. It really is just a new game with the same looking characters, because that’s all that moved over. I’m not saying that we should have been able to stay as we were, just that it was handled badly.
In the introduction part of the game we needed to be able to have a pretty advanced loadout. I mean we’ve been away doing guardian things and presumably have our weapons with us. This is regardless of whether the player is new to the game. Even if they didn’t play Destiny 1, the character is not a new guardian and would have better weapons. This not only helps the transition but also gives new players a taste of what’s to come and it isn’t like they’re going to have them for long anyway.
Moving onto the tower attack, we’ve talked about why it’s silly to only have a pistol, but even with that, why is there only one weapon in the armory? Really, one. You don’t get to keep them. Let the player have fun exploring their future options. The area shortly after with Zavala was great. The Cabal are devastating our beloved tower social space and Zavala is there defending it. It’s even better when you get to do this with other guardians as it’s still a public area. After helping Zavala, the player finishes out the introduction, which ends very well, with Ghaul restricting your light and kicking you off his ship. It’ a good opening set of events.
The next part is just plain bad. There’s no getting around it. The player has been stripped of all their light and can actually die. Expect that there is no fear of death. Possibly of the newest of players, those who have never played an FPS, but for everyone else it loses its purpose. This should be an emotional time, a trail for the guardian. From a story standpoint this doesn’t have the impact I feel they wanted. They end it better when you get your light back, it has a bit of an emotional high point and was enjoyable.
The EDZ introduces us to some new NPCs. They add nicely to the mix we already have. The story was straight forward, get your light back, reestablish communications, and leave for Titan. Here we are also introduced to the newest social space, the Farm. Here we find the first disconnect. It’s a social space, cool, for guardians, huh? But, I’m the only one with my light, right? Wrong, though the story won’t tell you why. The crucible is up and running. Guardians die now, who would go to the crucible and don’t we have more important things to do now. Like kick Ghaul out? This will get more discussion in the game wide section as it goes beyond just story.
Titan brings us another new NPC, though she feels kind of lack luster. Not really used beyond the few missions here. I’ll address this more at the end with the other planetary NPCs. Here we also get more of the Hive. They’ve infested Titan like they did the Moon. Though it shouldn’t have been a surprise that the Hive would be elsewhere in the Solar system. This is where we hit the second disconnect. We assume the information that the CPU was needed to decode is about the Almighty. This huge new threat, kind of out of nowhere, because we don’t have enough going on. The story has been moving forward about rallying together and collecting our tattered forces. Then it turns a one eighty to finding the rest of the Vanguard to stop this new threat. Who cares about all those poor lightless guardians? The drop is a bit much and the solar system destroying thing a bit much here. It would have worked better later as a hidden surprise threat as we assaulted Ghaul.
So off to Nessus, following a transmission and we meet Failsafe. She’s got a great split personality and Cayde-6 is in trouble. No less than expected when he’s let out of the tower. His charm comes full force and is between him and Failsafe it’s a great time. The story here is a bit short, land, find, save, and leave.
Off to Io to find Ikora. Here we got more juicy lore about the Traveler and what it was doing before the Darkness showed up. We meet Asher Mir and once again the Taken. The Cabal have been up to big things on Io, releasing stores of the Travelers light. This was a surprise as it was never mentioned elsewhere that this was possible. The Vex have completely convert Mercury, the Cabal have been on Mars for a while, and the library on Venus doesn’t mention that heavenly bodies affected by the Traveler retain light within them. It’s cool, but not consistent, is Io special? Also, the Taken are more of a cursory include than a part of the story. It’s as if they needed to include all the old enemies along the way.
We got the band back together! Now it’s time to stop the Almighty. First, we have the Vex even allowed the Cabal to setup shop at Mercury and devastate the planet? They have a big claim on it and every reason to protect it. Taken by itself, the story leading up to and including the destruction of the Almighty was pretty good. It flowed well and had cause and effect.
All of this build up brings us to the finale. Our trek through the city to find Ghaul. It’s a great final push and the only disconnect is that it’s a public area. Being public is great and fun to experience with other guardians, but again your supposed to be the only guardian with light. Which is highlighted by the Vanguard’s attempt to fight without theirs. Any cursory mention anywhere before in the story could have fixed that. There are emotional highlights that work well and display the need for our light.
Finally, we get to Ghaul for the showdown. This has been building up and really shines. Ghaul has been going about taking the Light in his own way instead of the Cabal way. Though in the end he takes it anyway but ultimately is rejected by the Traveler. Having awoken back up the light is restored and resonates to the furthest reaches of our galaxy. It was a good ending and open for more to come.
Overall, it is a complete story. It has a few holes and things that don’t quite mesh. To the newcomer it works well, but for the veterans it leaves many questions. This is a recurring theme in Destiny. Build up an NPC or story bit and just leave it hanging. Maybe it will get something added in the hidden lore (Grimoire Cards) or elsewhere that isn’t noticeable unless you dig.
Going forward from here it would seem that the first DLC expansion will focus on some cleanup after the Red War. There are still legions of Cabal in every part of our solar system. Oddly Shaxx is heard saying in the tower that the Red Legion are burning every corner of our universe. Not sure if this is a miss quote or not meant to be taken literally. The universe is kind of big and we care only about surviving in our tiny corner. I expect to see new redone areas of planets we’ve already been too, with sadly a short but sweeping cleanup of the remaining Red Legion factions.