Bungie's second installment in their Destiny series is a fun, vastly improved, next chapter in a video game we're well familiar with.
Destiny is what Bungie, creator's of the massively wonderful video game HALO: Combat Evolved did after handing the property wholly over to Microsoft and moving on. Meshing the MMORPG economics and tomfoolery of WarCraft and EverQuest with the FPS brilliance of HALO 2 (the very best of the HALO pvp universe.) You could now farm and grind to level up your character! Become "Legend" with a highly customize-able "Guardian." Bungie got enough right that their audience, myself included, gave them 3 years to work out many of the bugs.
Destiny 2 is a clean start on a new platform, without the encumbrance of supporting late-late generation consoles. Nothing feels particularly new about this game, but everything has been polished and put where it belongs. I am not yet sure Bungie's mastery of the MMORPG aspects of their game yet matches their long history of great FPS play, but they have closed the gap. The game is now playable without a huge investment of time.The gameplay, as per normal, is wonderful.
Story is where Destiny really, really suffered compared to Bungie's HALO series. From the fall of Reach to the Battle of New Mombasa, HALO and the Master Chief were epic. Destiny started with a confused fizzle and struggles to rise from those ashes. There is SPACE MAGIC. Now, the story focuses on three main characters voiced by Lance Reddick, Gina Torres and Nathan Fillion. Destiny 2 cutscenes and story are now entertaining rather than insultingly bad. The story still makes no sense, but you can root for these guys. SPACE MAGIC.
There is a 90 second to 2-3 minute portion of "story" where you stumble about in a weakened and confused state. Getting lost can turn this into 5-10 minutes of staggering around. When I want this I pay a bartender for it, not a video game.
This gameplay, excepting the stagger sequence, is exactly what the FPS world wants. If you love HALO style FPS games this is the game for you! PVE is so familiar and like the prior edition, you will be surprised at how unsurprising it is. Enemies are a bit harder to kill now, but you adjust quickly.
PVP is wonderful! It better be, once you finish the story, and the raid is done, PVP is what you got! Bungie makes us wait months for new DLC! They have balanced the hell out of the game with the new weapons system and minor physics checks, tho. It is a wonderful, natural place to kill and be killed.
The biggest changes to Destiny 2 vs Destiny 1 are in PVP fireteam size. Crucible, the PVP arena, has shifted from 3 and 6 player teams to 4. Lots of people find this annoying. This is intended to promote more team-centric play styles. Bungie seems to have embraced the idea of becoming a tournament play platform.
The HALO nostalgia engine is in full effect. Destiny 2 has a sound track ridiculously evocative of early HALO games. Early armor combinations also appear very SPARTAN to me. Unfortunately, these reminders all serve to demonstrate how this is NOT HALO. Destiny suffers from the protagonist being a nameless individual who never speaks, i.e. you. HALO had the Master Chief. I'll never root for you like I did the Chief, sorry. I don't feel very special when I save the galaxy because my dog needs to be walked.
All in all, if you grudgingly liked Destiny you will grudgingly like Destiny 2. If you LOVED Destiny, you will LOVE Destiny 2. If you hated early Destiny and thought they screwed up all the MMO parts of the game… you were right and Bungie has learned a lot!
Destiny 2 is available for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC.