I played the original Destiny only at the end of it’s life, shortly after the arrival of The Taken King expansion, I had however seen all the negative points hit on by reviewers concerning the story, it was bland, uninteresting and short, a fact I learned first hand when I blew through the entirety of the campaign in little more than a day of play.
So, armed with a healthy heap of hope and optimism, I booted Destiny 2 up and began the net leg of my journey.
The first time I played through it, the beginning sequence was amazing, you sit through a great cut scene that brings all the guys back together to face a new evil (Some Cabal led by an inexplicably powerful faction-leader called Dominus Ghaul.) but the enemy is too powerful and does what The Taken King, an alien god, and all his ghost warriors couldn’t do, they immediately take the last city and force all those living within to flee to the countryside while they set about stealing The Traveller to gain it’s power.
In hindsight, this beginning sequence (Which is about 45minutes long and completely unskippable, meaning that starting a new character in this game is more tedious than doing the same in Baldurs Gate 2.) is pretty lazy storytelling and gives us a taste of what’s to come, don’t get me wrong, it would have been quite compelling if they had filled in any of the glaring plot holes, such as the fact that Ghaul is a completely unknown entity who somehow has a plan to specifically steal The Traveller without ever letting us know how he even knows the traveller exists. Also it’s explained that the Cabal conquer systems by destroying their sun? That seems like bad economics to me, but hey, I’m not a space lord.
So we find ourselves among plucky rangers who scrape a living outside of the walls of the last city, they of course are all amazing super-people who sure give us a run for our money until we delve into a corrupted piece of The Traveller that broke off when it fought The Darkness during the collapse. I actually thought this was a really cool idea, to maybe show us some other side of The Traveller, vocalise some kind of personality, even if it is corrupt. I was of course let down, the corrupted shard serves as a clumsy deus ex machina to give us back our light (read: super powers) and allow us to be the kick-ass hero we have somehow become in this world. Literally nothing else is done with the shard except a few offhand remarks about how “oooh it’s so corrupted, I wonder why it’s being so nice.” Another of Destiny 2‘s wasted opportunities.
So we’re super-guardian again and we get a distress call telling us that one of our super-friends is in trouble (Zavala) and that we need to go to Titan in order to rescue him from the ancient remains of a city-sized oil rig. Yes, in fact it is as cool as it sounds. You get to Titan and spend a good while fighting your way across decks and jumping all over the ripped-open industrial landscape in what I thought was very good use of the third dimension, which the Destiny franchise has always been good at utilising.
We meet up with (rescue) Zavala who tells us that we need to go out and gather some info about the Cabal, in a consistent pattern of doing everyone’s job for them, so we kick some Vex and Taken arse before finding out everything about the superweapon aimed at the sun, the last ditch distress call sent out by the Cabal at the end of Destiny 1 must have been a hefty dossier considering the amount of information and intent Ghaul has on The Traveller...hmm.
Then we get a delightful and somewhat inexplicable piece of exposition in the form of Ghaul trying to get The Speaker (The Traveller’s Herald) to tell him how to make the Traveller love him, in the ultimate example of a Nice guy being Friend zoned and essentially trying to get someone to fall in love with him by kidnapping and torturing his best friend.
Back to the action and we head off to Nessus, an amazingly colourful planet that features some of the best scenery and fighting-spaces in the game, it’s truly a pleasure to play through the missions, which find us trying to locate Cayde-6, the obligatory Nathan Fillion vehicle, who plays the part basically how Nathan Fillion plays all his parts, snarky, puny and vaguely roguish. So we do his job for him to, namely locating some old Vex technology.
We then take a side trip to Io in an effort to find Ikora, who is basically sitting around pining for The Traveller in the same way as Ghaul, I tell you what, that big inscrutable orb is quite the heartbreaker. We slap some sense into her and speed back to the rangers’ farm where the gang are all together again and begin plotting to shut down the superweapon known as “The Almighty”, or “The worst name for a superweapon ever”.
Of course after the meeting, everyone turns to us and looks on expectantly, it seems that their excuse is that we have our light back, which doesn’t make much sense since in the background stands that “corrupted” shard of The Traveller, not half an hour’s ride away. But no, it all falls to us and off we ride, seeking to murder one of Ghaul’s generals to gain access to “Big Whoop” or whatever it’s called.
We splatter the alien ship with him and his cronies in a pretty cool and tough fight and shoot off into space and onto the deck of Big Whoop, and what proceeds is a pretty amazing series of fights across radiation scoured space-scapes until we finally launch a few hundred grenades into Big Whoop’s vitals and blow the whole thing sky high...or space high.
Afterwards we are treated to another cut scene, or what I like to call “Ghaul’s Wild Ride” because at this point, all semblance of every piece of plot they have set up kind of comes crashing down, Ghaul’s best friend gets all angry that he loves The Traveller more than him and decides to kill The Speaker, who he believes to have been corrupting Ghaul away from his way of thinking, which is to forcefully take The Light from The Traveller, when from the beginning, Ghaul has wanted to gain it’s favour, but as he does this, Ghaul then kills him and decides to take The Light anyway, so in the end all the so-called “history of undefeated conquest” that the two shared comes to naught.
Meanwhile, the super-friends and their pet guardian (That’s you) are setting up to counterattack into the city, what follows is yet again an amazing sequence of fights in and around the sprawling city that we’ve never seen before, I really have to give credit to the level designers, every step of the way they have been cranking out amazing sequences.
After destroying what seems to be half the Cabal in town, we rock up to Ghaul’s personal command ship and watch as he successfully takes The Light, corrupts it (word of the day anyone? It seems The Light can be corrupted by a stiff wind.) then goes on to beat fifty shades of grey out of us in an epic boss battle that really had me on edge.
Of course we blast his arse back to the stone age, but in true Deus Ex Machina fashion, he ascends upon his death into a vaporous god-form before being smote into dust by a newly resurgent Traveller, who then stands there, glowing and smug, effectively invalidating everything we did.
The City is reclaimed, The Traveller lives after centuries of dormancy and we are now free to begin the epic grind that truly is Destiny 2.