First impressions are absolutely everything. This fact is abundantly true in video games, but what happens when a game has a second chance at a first impression? Bungie had this unique opportunity when their jaded but loyal fanbase was joined by new players for the release of Destiny 2.
This article requires three primers
- Destiny 2’s trailer.
- There will be some spoilers from the first hour or so of Destiny 2. If that isn’t what you’re about, make sure to read this after you reach the first social space!
- Super abridged premise: a huge white ball (the Traveler) showed up above Earth and made everyone and everything super awesome for a while, but things are progressively less awesome now.
Out of the frying pan
Right off the bat, we’re handed a bad situation. Earth’s Last City is under attack by a slew of brutish alien invaders known as the Cabal. This particular group of Cabal refer to themselves as the Red Legion. Our extremely organized protectors are taken off guard, and it’s up to us to defend our home. Covered in fashionable armor with our charming companion Ghost floating by our side, we rush to battle.
The entire first mission plays like any other mission in Destiny: fight some enemies, move forward. We’ve got access to abilities that allow us to obliterate our foes, as well as navigate areas with style and grace. One aspect that has always defined Destiny is how fun it is to control your Guardian. Along the way, we encounter members of the Vanguard. They nod to us as equals as they each use their palpable strength to fend off an onslaught of attackers. We have a chance.
That’s telekinesis, Kyle!
Jumping and moving around in Destiny will leave a positive impact on your experience, regardless of what class you choose. The same is true for this portion of Destiny 2’s introduction. Movement is an important aspect of why this game’s intro is the best, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
By the end of the mission, we’ve disabled the shields of the biggest ship that attacked us. However, it seems that we’re too late. The Red Legion commander (Dominus Ghaul) is blathering some real evil-sounding stuff… and then, it happens. The Traveler has a giant machine attached to it, and it activates. Suddenly, our Guardian quickly collapses and the energy is seemingly drained from their body. Utterly powerless, the Guardian is then thrown off the ship by Ghaul and dismissed without a second thought.
Time to grow up again
Upon regaining control, it’s obvious that we can barely walk – let alone jump, or sprint around. We can’t raise our weapon, or even throw a punch. Our once pristine armor is now dented and charred, with pieces completely missing. What’s worse is that our Ghost is nowhere to be seen or heard, unable to alleviate the dire situation with a quip. Physically hindering our progress was a stunning way to depict just how far from power we’d fallen. Movement is slow and painful, no matter how hard you push on that analog stick. This is just what your Guardian is now – weak.
Meanwhile, we’re given a glimpse into what the Cabal has in store for the Traveler back in the Last City. While I won’t get into how this scene goes, I can say that it’s reminiscent of any conversation between The Emperor and Darth Vader. The Cabal have the upper hand, and we can do nothing but watch. Scenes like this is a beat that Destiny’s storytelling missed the first time around. The Red Legion already has more depth than most of the original game’s enemies, and we’re only 20 minutes in.
Days pass in-game, and our Guardian reunites with Ghost – who has a few dents of his own. Stumbling upon some fallen Guardians who weren’t as lucky as ourselves, we find some working weapons. Soon after, the Guardian is attacked by some Cabal War Beasts. Normally, enemies of this caliber would be no problem. However, in this weakened state, they pose a problem. As the fight begins, Ghost reminds us that if we die, he will not be able to revive us as usual. We scrape by, and continue forward.
I’ll keep gettin’ back up
Bungie took us from the top of our game, and pushed us into the rubble. It’s up to us to work our way out of it. To go from all-powerful to barely functional was a great way to set the stage for Destiny 2. Bungie managed to make their 3 year old IP feel brand new by making every comfort in Destiny vanish without a moment’s notice. Of course, the drop of this power feels even more substantial to long-time players who just watched their silent protagonist struggle with a few demonic puppies. This, the same Guardian that demolished the fabled Black Garden.
Have you tried Destiny 2 yet? What did you think of the introduction? I’d love to hear what you think!