A loud expo floor isn’t always the best place to play a game that relies so much on communication and coordination with teammates, but that’s just what I did with Destiny 2 at E3 last week. With so many eyes on me both by those at the booth and the bystanders staring over my shoulder at screens, it was difficult to concentrate and focus. At least I had headphones and could kinda sorta chat through my mic?
Yelling and eyeballs aside, it was pretty damn great.
I’m not a huge FPS kind of gamer. When the first Destiny came around, I played the majority of it as an online single player finishing missions and quests alone. I was okay with it. When I did play with friends it was less about winning and precise attacking and more about goofing around and enjoying the experience. No one ever really gets offended if you don’t pull your Destiny weight.
But we all know there were some things missing from the original gangsta experience, and a lot was held back to make sure that the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions worked comparably. Now, Destiny is finally pure in its current gen form, and it makes due on all those original promises.
It’s not super easy to demo an MMO on a show floor — communication, teamwork, getting to know the environment are all important — so Bungie chose instead to have us play around in the Crucible with some more traditional PvP battles. My squad of four (the New Normal in the game) entered the Countdown map, which felt like the perfect size for 8 players, and set up our push. It was never claustrophobic, nor did it feel empty or with great distances between objectives, so kudos to the devs for understanding that map design is directly proportional to number of players in it. Across the specific battles, our goals shifted back and forth from placing to protecting bombs. The specific angle in this mode was that death was mostly permanent, unless a teammate would find your glowing orb-like soul and revive you with one of the limited number of team respawns.
I died a lot. Like, a lot.
No, really. I died A LOT.
In nearly every match I was the first player out, much to the annoyance of my team. And when they would come back, they’d typically fall into a trap or get ambushed. It got to the point where I think they opted out of rescuing me a few times just to conserve their prosperity. There wasn’t anger, just annoyance (by them). Once I managed to understand the process a bit more I was able to survive a tad longer, but not by much. At least post death I could enjoy the stunning visuals of the scenery, watch the great animation and effects, and scope out the environment a little more.
I ended up enjoying my time with it, and we (thankfully) won the overall total. Playing with strangers isn’t the optimal way to evaluate a game like this, but we made it work.
My time with Destiny 2‘s E3 demo felt like it was more serious and demanding than the original. Yet at the same time it was still Destiny, and to say that it was a true sequel might be a bit misleading. It’s more tweaked and polished and “finalized” than the original game, like a Destiny 1.5 rather than a full Destiny 2. But I think that’s okay; I think that Destiny is still a long-term experience and not meant to be broken up every two years with massive change.
If this is the ultimate vision of Destiny, then I’m game.
Destiny 2 recently took home a SideQuesting Best of E3 2017 Award