Destiny 2, which is out now on PS4 and Xbox One, is a great game that I’ve already lost too many hours of my life to and will only continue to sacrifice more of my time to over the coming
months years. I just thought I should get that out of the way, just in case this article is misconstrued as a hit piece on the game. Destiny 2 is pretty much the game I and many others wanted the original Destiny to be, as it fixes a number of that game’s issues and doubles down on the things people loved, such as getting loot and playing cooperatively and competitively with friends.
Still, even though Destiny 2 is in many ways an ideal sequel, it still has a few issues that hold it back from true greatness. Fortunately, many of these problems are relatively minor and could be fixed quite easily in a patch but as of this moment, these are my biggest problems with Destiny 2 — a game that will simultaneously make you wonder how you ever put up with the first game and make you wish that Bungie had been a bit more ambitious in their design goals.
11. Making You Wait For A Sparrow
I don’t think Bungie made very many objectively wrong decisions with Destiny 2, but gating off Sparrow vehicles until after you finish the story missions definitely qualifies as one in my mind. The original Destiny gave you a speeder bike to tool around with almost from the get-go and yet for some reason, Destiny 2 makes players wait to drive a Sparrow until after the credits roll. Am I missing something here? Why couldn’t I have had a Sparrow earlier than this? Yes, you do have a slight chance of getting one from Bright Engrams before this, but most players won’t be this lucky and in practice, this means that it takes way longer to get around the game’s environments than is necessary.
The big problem is that the game doesn’t telegraph this either and I would have spent far too long wondering if I missed an important Sparrow quest had I not heard that you have to finish the campaign first in order to get one. As such, I actively avoided doing most of the open-world activities in favor of just plowing through the story so I could actually get a vehicle. It’s not a big deal, but definitely an area where Bungie was ostensibly asleep at the wheel (if Sparrows had steering wheels this would be a great pun).
10. You Can’t Do Patrols And Adventures At The Same Time
The next few points on this list are full-on nitpicks, which should serve an indication of just how good Destiny 2 is overall. As already stated, Destiny 2 is a game that makes so many improvements to the original game that it’s genuinely hard to keep track of them all, but there are still a few areas where I’ve noticed room for improvement. For one thing, I don’t understand why you can’t have Patrol and Adventure missions active at the same time.
Patrol missions are largely the same as they were in the original Destiny, in that they give you small tasks to complete in the game’s open-world environments. Adventures are generally more substantial than patrol missions, which is why I don’t get why I can’t stack the two. I should be able to hunt for “X number of dropped doodads from enemies” while doing another activity, as this would be a great way to stack rewards. Fortunately, this is a really small issue and one that could easily be fixed with a patch.
9. Social Spaces Need More Activity
This is one of those criticisms where I really have no idea what could be done to address it, but I just know that it feels like not much has really changed in Destiny 2’s social spaces compared to the original game and that’s kind of disappointing. The game’s first social HUB, the Farm, is a beautiful environment to hang out in, but there really isn’t much to do there due to the limited number of NPCs to interact with. Things are improved once you return to the Tower after completing the game’s story, as there are a lot more NPCs and Vendors, but it’s still basically the same place we all spent hours upon hours hanging out in in Destiny and there isn’t anything to do there outside of trading in resources for Legendary engrams and picking up some missions and new gear.
I just wish that there was more to do in Destiny 2’s social HUBs outside of dancing and pushing a soccer ball around and even though Bungie has taken steps to make the world of Destiny feel more alive in general, the developer needs to do more than just adding a single NPC to each open-world environment to truly make Destiny feel alive and vibrant.
8. Displaying A Player’s Level Is Useless Information
This feels like the most inconsequential nitpick in the world, but Destiny has a funny way of amplifying the importance of the small details. In case you aren’t familiar with the way leveling up works in Destiny 2, the cap is set at level 20 and after that, you just become concerned with increasing your power level, which is dictated by the power levels of your equipped weapons and gear. In other words, any level under 20 is meaningless and even reaching level 20 really doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, as your power level is what’s actually important.
I wonder then why whenever you encounter another player, the game displays their level rather than their power rating above their heads. It doesn’t exactly take long to reach level 20, so telling me that all the players around me are level 20 is pretty much useless information to me if I’m trying to, for example, find players in the 260-280 power level range to help me do the raid. This would be an easy fix for Bungie to make and I really hope they do because telling me a player is level 20 means next to nothing at this point and will effectively be pointless information the longer the game is out.
7. Your Fireteam Doesn’t Show Up On The Map
This is another small issue that only seems to frustrate me the more I encounter it. Basically, when you’re in a fireteam with other players, they won’t show up on the map. Yes, it’s incredible that we even have maps in Destiny 2 since they were non-existent in the first game and for the most part, they are one of the sequel’s best additions. Still, it’s weird that you can’t see the location of your fireteam on the map, which means that if you’re far away from each other, you pretty much have to ask them where they’re located and fast travel to the closest fast travel point.
Another small annoyance that ties into all of this is the fact that when you join a friend mid-mission or even in the open-world, you don’t actually spawn at their location, which means that you have to spend time trying to find them. Thankfully, their location shows up in the HUD so you still know where they are at all times, but it’s still frustrating that when I want to jump into a friend’s game, I have to then spend time actually trying to get to them before we actually start playing together.
6. The Lack Of New Subclasses
While it’s good to see that Bungie didn’t simply recycle environments from the first game and call it a day, it feels like they largely took this approach when it comes to Destiny 2’s class system. It’s already disappointing enough that there are no new classes to add to the trio of Titan, Hunter, and Warlock, but there aren’t even any truly new subclasses to speak of. Granted, each class has one subclass that has been tweaked quite a bit and given new abilities, but it’s still weird to see a full role-playing game sequel not have any, well, new roles to play.
This is a major reason why Destiny 2 feels so similar to the first game because gameplay-wise, not much has truly changed. I feel like Destiny 2 gets away with this for the most part because the core gameplay is still so well-tuned and engaging, and the quality of life improvements in other areas of the game make this much less of a concern than it would be in other games, but I still feel like Bungie dropped the ball a bit here by not offering any new ways to play as a Guardian.
5. The Lack Of New Enemies
Guardians aren’t the only characters who have remained largely unchanged, as Destiny 2 also recycles most of the same enemies you’ve already been shooting for the past three years. While there are new enemy types interspersed throughout, there are no actual new races of enemies to fight in the game, which means you’ll be shooting the same Cabal, Fallen, Hive, Vex, and Taken all over again. Out of all the races, the Cabal are probably the best off (which is appropriate given that they’re the main enemies in the game), as you’ll encounter all new types like War Hounds and Gladiators, as well as tweaked versions of familiar troops like the shielded Phalanxes and hovering Centurions.
Without spoiling anything, a new enemy force is teased at the end of the story missions, so hopefully we’ll see them pop up in a future Destiny 2 expansion, but this is further evidence that Bungie’s priority with this sequel, given their limited development time, was to focus on quality of life improvements rather than creating wholly new content. Again, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but is disappointing if you were hoping to see more from the Destiny universe.
4. The Story Is Better But Still Not Great
One of the biggest problems with vanilla Destiny is that its narrative elements were scrapped and stitched back together not long before launch, resulting in a disjointed story that was incredibly obtuse and not engaging in the slightest. To their credit, Bungie took steps to improve things with both The Taken King and Rise of Iron expansions by giving the game’s NPC characters more personality and stripping away some of the narrative’s more baffling elements. Destiny 2 tells probably the most straightforward story yet, with a clearly defined goal for the game’s protagonists and a villain with motivations that actually make sense.
Still, even with these improvements, the story is nothing to write home about and you probably won’t find yourself very engaged with what’s going on. The world that Bungie has created is as fun to explore as ever but much like the first game, the story missions themselves are the least interesting part of the game and once the credits roll, you’ll be relieved to have gotten through it all.
3. The Story Missions Are A Slog
As I just mentioned above, Destiny 2’s story is serviceable but is more just there to give you some semblance of a reason for shooting thousands of aliens in the head. The main problem with the story missions is that Destiny 2 arguably only starts to get really good once you beat the story, as the game locks off access to a bunch of activities until after you defeat Gahl. Of course, this isn’t anything new for games of this nature and wouldn’t be so bad if the story itself was fun to play through, but most of the missions blend together into rote “kill things, move to next area, kill again, press a switch … rinse and repeat.”
A couple vehicle segments and a particularly inspired level set on a giant ship orbiting the sun throw some variety into the mix, but knowing what was waiting for me on the other side, the story missions were more of a chore than anything for me to complete, which is a shame considering how much time and effort Bungie put into it. End-game content by its very nature demands that you have played through a game first in order to access it, but I’m also tired of the formula used by Destiny and similar games where you have to wade through a bunch of stuff you don’t want to do in order to get to the “real” game. I don’t know what the solution is here, but I just know I’m not really looking forward to the inevitable story missions I’ll have to slog through when the game’s first expansion hits.
2. The Lore Is Still Inaccessible In-Game
Remember the Grimoire card system from the first Destiny? You’d collect various cards throughout the game by fulfilling certain tasks and each card would tie into the game’s lore. It would have been a good system had Bungie actually allowed you to look at your cards in-game; instead, you could only see them by logging into Bungie.net, which means that the vast majority of Destiny players never even bothered with Grimoire cards. The obvious solution would be for Destiny 2 to make these cards accessible in-game, right?
Instead, Bungie has taken the system out altogether, which is a decision that I frankly do not understand. Although I have my issues with the way both Destiny and Destiny 2 present their stories, I’ve invested so much time in this universe that I am genuinely curious to learn more about it. If there was an in-game database filled with background information about Destiny’s characters, enemies, worlds, and other bits of lore, I would definitely take time to read through it while playing. Instead, I still have to go look up that stuff separately and now I don’t even get to collect cards I’ll never look at anyway. Okay then.
1. The Shader System Is Garbage
It says a lot about Destiny 2’s overall quality that the biggest problem with it right now is the way cosmetic options for your characters work, but oh boy did Bungie really screw up the game’s shader system. I’ve already touched on this in a previous post, but in case you weren’t aware, Destiny 2 changes the way shaders (a.k.a. different color designs for your weapons and armor) work and from what I’ve seen so far, it’s an objectively worse system than that found in the original game. Now, if Bungie had simply changed it so that you could now apply shaders to individual pieces of gear, I think this would be a big improvement over the original Destiny, as it allows for more customization options. But while you can assign different shaders to different pieces of gear, the big problem is that shaders are now consumable items that can only be used once.
Why is this a big deal? Well, the whole point of Destiny is that you’re constantly getting new gear, which means that you’re frequently swapping out which items you equip. What good is applying a shader to a piece of gear that’s going to become obsolete after less than an hour of play? Sure, the game showers you with shaders, but we’re now left with a situation where many players aren’t even bothering to apply them because it’s just a waste of time when their load out is constantly changing. This effectively has resulted in shaders being much less fun to use in Destiny 2 and when you take into account that these items are now part of the game’s microtransactions pool, it’s no wonder that many in the Destiny community are furious with Bungie and Activision for changing a system that didn’t need to be fixed.