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:
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.