The Destiny 2 Beta Gave Me A Great Big Bummer

In this case, the title says it all.

I am the ultimate broken record when it comes to Destiny. I have always loved it, even when it was the newest of games, and despite the extra grindy bits, I loved vanilla Destiny, too.

Over the years, I became more and more excited for the proper sequel Destiny 2 would be. But, recently, the more information that is revealed, the more wary I become.

Still, I kept an open mind about the beta.

Fast forward to yesterday morning when I was finally able to play the beta for myself.

The entire experience left me wanting. And I’ve never been less excited about the game.

Right off the bat I noticed some strange things. The textures, for one, were hit and miss. If you look at the image above, the lighting and particle effects are gorgeous. The color saturation is heady. But if I got too close to certain objects or designs, some of those textures weren’t so good. Later in the game I took two screenshots as an example during a strike:

and

.

In the first Destiny, I’d never seen textures quite so questionable. I even called over my co-op partner to look at them to see if they appeared the same to him as they did to me; they did.

Never mind that while in orbit at one point, the area below our ships looked blocky in a way that appeared unintentional. That surprised me given the visual polish of the first installment.

Appearances aside, I had some very real issues with the gameplay itself.

The jumping felt off. It sounded off. The movement felt loose and often imprecise. I switched it up to my preferred triple jump and even then it felt wrong. I couldn’t seem to find a balance. And, given that I’ve been playing the original Destiny on a regular basis, I had its predecessor firmly in my mind. Destiny has always had some of the smoothest and sharpest navigation and gunplay; why would Bungie change that up? Like, at all?

Which takes me to my next point.

The gunplay felt off. I tried out different weapons. Nothing felt as smooth or as sharp as anything I used in the original game. I thought perhaps if I adjusted the sensitivity, it might help. I adjusted to no avail. The gunplay felt loose and like there was little impact. It felt like my shots (even with my exotic hand cannon) weren’t nearly as effective. My power weapon was a grenade launcher and I felt even that wasn’t connecting as well as I’d hoped.

It seemed to take longer for my abilities to recharge. That was disappointing enough, but when they did recharge, I felt like they didn’t have the power they used to. To be fair, the melee seemed fairly solid, but the grenades didn’t seem to have the punch they once had.

And then there was my super.

My super was…disappointing. I went with the new Arcstrider subclass for the Hunter, and it felt flat to me. With the Hunter’s old Arc Blade subclass, your super felt like it connected with each enemy. For the Arcstrider, I felt like the hits were lucky if they landed, and when they did, it felt superficial.

And hoo boy those enemies.

Enemies felt more aggressive in general and they hit far harder. My co-op partner and I regularly play Destiny and do the Nightfall each week. We seldom die during the Nightfall.

When we did the strike from the beta (The Inverted Spire), we both died a handful of times. It was really strange. The shielded enemies take more hits to un-shield, and the enemies felt more bullet spongy in general. Either damage has been reduced, or enemy health has been increased, or both. Even lower level enemies were often troublesome to take down with a number of well-placed critical hits. We were both mystified.

A friend wrote to me and asked me what I thought of the beta and I told him some of the above. He had similar feelings. I spoke with another friend who often joins in with my regular partner and I, and he also had many similar feelings. My co-op partner and I were very much on the same page. Literally everyone I talked to who played the beta felt underwhelmed and concerned.

A couple people mentioned, well, this is what a beta is for, to work the kinks out. Normally, I would agree. However, this game will likely go gold in just a few weeks. What we are playing now would largely be the final product (before any day-one patches). That concerns me. I want so badly for Destiny 2 to be an excellent game. But the core of the Destiny experience (for me) has always been the gunplay and traversing the environment. With those two things off right now, it has me thrown. I will still play the final game, of course, but I am genuinely rethinking buying into the expansion pass. I just don’t understand why they would tweak the gunplay or movement at all.

I thought I’d be playing the beta nonstop over the coming days; I didn’t even want to play more after I’d finished the story mission and the strike. Neither did either of the people I was playing with. We were all a bit flummoxed.

But you know what we all wanted to do after?

Play the original game. If for no other reason than to get the weirdness out of our recent memory.

I’m not sure I will play the beta again before it’s over. And that’s a sentence I never imagined I’d write.

I have faith in Bungie, and I’m hoping some serious tweaks are made before the game is released. But as of right now, I feel very let down by the experience of the beta.

If you have played the beta, what did you think of it? What did you enjoy? What criticisms did you have?

With that, I will leave you with one of my favorite screenshots of the beta. Winner winner ramen dinner.

Categories: games

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16 replies »

  1. Oh man, sounds like I need to play the open beta when it releases. Because if the game is as you say I’m g on a be right their with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope you get a chance to play it. It definitely feels different. I’ve heard the titan feels the best out of all the classes, but even then, it apparently feels off.

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  2. Seeing as your thoughts are radiating throughout as those who have played the game. I’ll pass once it releases; just wanting to hear more regarding the reviews. Based on your informative blog post; it doesn’t fare well for the Destiny sequel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If some fairly major tweaks don’t happen, I am a bit concerned how it will review. Bungie has always proven good at listening to their audience, so I’m hopeful, but SUPER reserved.

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  3. Based on my short time in the beta, the game looks a lot like Destiny but it definitely feels different. What’s frustrating most to me is that there’s no patrol-type area to casually try out different weapons and subclass options. Overall, I feel like I’m moving slowly and I haven’t adapted to the weapons or the movement. One big positive for myself is that the subtitles are so much better than in Destiny (which was a pretty low bar to clear) and subtitles are in PvP which, while a small detail, let’s me in on Lord Shaxx’s commentary. I too will most definitely be playing the final game and I’m curious how customization changes the feel of the game but Destiny 2 will definitely be a transition.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is another thing that baffled me, too! Why no patrol area? I loved just messing around and testing weapons and builds like you said. The weapons and the movement in the first game are maybe (to me) the best gunplay and movement out there. Why on earth would they change anything?! It baffles me.

      I’m so glad to hear the subtitles have improved! I didn’t even know there were subtitles in PvP! Yes, Shaxx is a chatty and judgemental dude.

      I just hope Bungie takes any of the feedback they are getting on board and tweak things accordingly. I’m one nervous guardian.

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  4. I share some similar thoughts to you on the beta. While I certainly don’t have as much experience with the first game as you do, I too felt that things were a little off. You are right, the movement felt loose and somewhat imprecise. Perhaps a little slower as well?

    The gun-play was hit or miss for me as I thought some weapons felt great while others were seriously lacking. The grenades definitely need a buff and you are right that they should shorten the time it takes for abilities to recharge. Also, from an art perspective I thought some of the weapons looked excellent while others were downright ugly. The first game was visually stunning the vast majority of the time so it was a shame to see less consistency during my time with this beta.

    I’ll still be getting the game as I imagine there will be a lot to enjoy in the full release; however I’m with you in feeling a little underwhelmed with what I’ve played so far.

    Oh, and one more thing, I was surprised by how little content there was here. I understand them not wanting to reveal as much as they did during the beta for the first game, but I thought we would at least get to check out a social space or get a small taste of some exploration gameplay.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It definitely felt slower to me, too. Of course, part of that was the ability to tweak agility in the first game and now, with flat stats, it can’t be adjusted (unless a weapon has the agility perk, but that’s a big if). I felt very sluggish at times.

      I’m with you on the weapon design. Bungie has made some amazing weapons (I am always a huge fan of the flavor text), but even the exotic I picked up (the hand cannon) had a weird look. I know that’s just superficial, but it was strange. It was like the chamber was a large glowing testicle. So…if that’s what they were going for…yay?

      I’m still getting it, too. I’m just…a lot less excited.

      I was, too. I mean, even if they opened a social space I think that would have helped. We aren’t even picking up engrams or leveling so why not even have a patrol zone for us to play in?

      I’m just baffled. I’m space baffled.

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  5. After so much anticipation I too felt that the mechanics were off. The graphics were surprisingly poor. I poured thousands of hours in D1… I am to say the least concerned. I hope the guys at Bungie are listening.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m right there with you. I, too, spent well over a thousand hours with Destiny and the beta felt off in some fundamental ways. I definitely hope Bungie is listening. They have been great with their audience through the first three years, I can only hope they take some of the feedback about the beta to heart.

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  6. just played through the beta and you are right regarding movement, gunplay, and supers. But I almost enjoyed the changes as they made the mission more tactical. The enemies seem tougher and your weapons less powerful. I think this might be do to reducing auto aiming and the area for crit damage on enemies. On my second run as a titan I chose a handgun, which if aimed at the head took down all but the shielded enemies in 2 hits. Supers are now only for yellow bars and emergencies given the long gen time. I found myself playing a lot more from cover in the beta. I was dissapointed with most of the weapons, scout rifles, but did find some useful, hunter exotic handgun and titan exotic auto. Final additional thoughts: very underwhelming content, no real sense of what D2 will be, and as you mentioned, left with no elevated sense of desire or anticipation for the release. A missed opportunity to refranchise the day 1 crowd.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you enjoyed the changes, but I’m definitely not on board with them. I like that modifiers make the Nightfall and strikes more tactical, but I don’t want every aspect of the game to become needlessly more thought out. I don’t want to play a version of Destiny where the enemies are more bullet-spongy and I am less powerful. That changes the dynamic of the game (to me).

      I also liked the hunter exotic handgun! And I agree, there was no real sense of how the game will be. With the first game’s beta, I felt it gave a solid idea, but this left a great big question mark. Not a great thing for a beta that’s trying to sell you on a game, for sure. I agree it’s a huge missed opportunity.

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