About a month ago, I mentioned that I’d pulled a copy of Destiny out of a bargain bin for rather less than the price of a cup of coffee* and that it had been good for a solid 15 hours of running around and playing Insert Bullet A into Alien Menace B.
* Coffee is ridiculously expensive these days.
You would think that my next step would be to try out the expansions for Destiny, but they are only available in a $60 package that very rarely goes on sale, if Storeparser.com is to be believed. That struck me as a bit much.
On the other hand, the Destiny 2 + Expansion Pass bundle showed up in the Big Xbox Live Sale for a hair under twenty bucks, or roughly four cups of coffee if we’re going to stick with a caffeine-based currency system, and that seemed like a fair price.
Now, one of my few complaints about the original game was that the story was, well, thin. Really thin. Butter, too much bread, blah blah. There were a few cut-scenes, and an awful lot of exposition from your floating companion, but nothing about it was all that memorable.
I say that because it’s been a month and I can’t remember a dang thing about the story except that there’s a mysterious robot chick who shows up about halfway through the plot to tell you that you’re super dumb, and then shows up again at the end to give you a gun and disappear. I imagine mysterious robot chick probably shows up again in the expansions, but I didn’t buy those. She doesn’t show up at all in the sequel, so I guess she wasn’t that critical to the plot.
Destiny 2, however, has a pretty solid single-player campaign, and it’s mandatory to play through before you can start participating in most of the side activities of the game. Having the expansion pass meant that I also got a pair of 2-3 hour story expansions, so I had plenty to do after the initial set of credits rolled – and, actually, I had quite a bit to do before I could participate in the expansions, because I had to get my gear level up to the recommended level for them and that took a lot of running around and grinding for purples.
All-in-all, I clocked in twice as many hours with Destiny 2 as with the original, and that’s pretty good value for money. I didn’t KEEP playing after finishing the expansion stories, however, because I looked up what one does at endgame in Destiny 2 and it turns out that you do a lot of group content in hopes of slowly raising your gear level so you can tackle tougher events to raise your gear level even more.
There’s nothing particularly wrong with that, mind you – that pretty much describes every MMO, after all – but there is a particular facet of Destiny 2’s design that makes the process of making your numbers bigger feel rather meaningless. That is to say, if your gear level is below the gear level recommended for an encounter you will both do less damage and take more damage, but if your gear level is ABOVE the recommended level it really doesn’t confer any benefits…
…in other words, there’s no way to enjoy one of the best things about MMOs, which is going back to low level zones and kicking the pixelated crap out of the stuff that terrorized you as a newbie with a guild tunic and a Rusty Short Sword.
Anyway. I stopped playing at that point, but that’s just me. If you want a game that lets you shoot alien dudes and monsters until the numbers flying out of the impact points stop and loot goes flying, Destiny 2 will give you that in spades and I recommend it.
Actually, I’ll go a step farther. Destiny 2 features a mildly-insane AI named “Failsafe”, and she is possibly my favorite video game character ever. So, I recommend everyone play Destiny 2 at least until you can go through the Failsafe missions. You can stop after that, if you like.
I never feel like the FPS format quite works with the RPG format. There’s just too much of a disconnect for me between pointing a massive rocket launcher at someone’s head and an unfeasibly tiny number popping out of them when I fire it because I’m 20 levels lower than them. I can suspend that particular aspect of disbelief when it comes to more abstracted RPGs (or even melee combat in third-person action RPGs like Diablo et al) but the moment you go real-time first-person (as opposed to old-school turn-based “gridders”) and throw guns into the mix, I feel like things should behave more “realistically”.
Good to hear Destiny provided a satisfying experience up until its “ending”, and you didn’t feel like you “needed” to delve into the endgame. FFXIV does this quite well, too.
FFXIV definitely does the “you’re done with the story, you can stop playing until we make more” very well – maybe a little TOO well if they want to keep getting their monthly subscription fee. 🙂 I actually bought the most recent expansion when it came out because I wanted the pre-order theme, and some day I will actually give them 15 bucks for a month and play through it. I understand bards can actually move in combat again, so that’s a big thing for me.
Destiny is actually a little like the Borderlands games, in the way that you can be under-level for an opponent and need to run away until you find a bigger gun, but it’s a little rougher because your overall item score includes your worn armor – so you can have great weapons, but the lousy hat you’re wearing will limit the damage you’re doing. In practice, it throws enough gear at you that you should never HAVE a lousy hat, but it’s still pretty weird.
It didn’t really become an issue until the last couple of levels of the “Warmind” expansion, which had a recommended gear level of 340 – which is also the soft cap for gear. Since I was playing through the main game and then the expansions back-to-back, I was somewhere around 320 when I was ready to start these missions, and I wound up needing to go and do a lot of random events before I could get back to the story. It’s a bit of a speed bump and stands out in what is otherwise a pretty smooth experience.