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Chris Kavan's Video Game Reviews (462)

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Strange Brigade 4/5
Satellite Reign 3/5
Watch Dogs 2 4/5
Divinity: Original Sin 2 4.5/5
Marvel: Ultimate Allian... 3/5
Star Trek: Bridge Crew 3/5
Metro 2033 3.5/5
South Park: The Fractur... 4/5
Sundered 3.5/5
Mass Effect: Andromeda 3.5/5
Life is Strange: Before... 4/5
God of War 4/5
Doom (2016) 3.5/5
Armada 3.5/5
Detroit: Become Human 4/5
Destiny 2 4/5
Horizon: Zero Dawn 4.5/5
Oxenfree 4/5
Murdered: Soul Suspect 3/5
Kirby Star Allies 3/5
Celeste 4.5/5
Dark Quest 2 3/5
Just Cause 3 3.5/5
Guacamelee! 2 4/5
The Incredible Adventur... 4/5

Next 25
 

Destiny 2   PC (Steam) 

Destiny 2: Ecclectic Boogaloo    4/5 stars

While the MeltedJoystick crew often scoffs at the notion of MMOs, it is also a fact that some of our favorite co-op games are actually MMOs, from Defiance to Dragon Nest, our group is no stranger to the genre. While we skipped Destiny (mainly because it wasn't offered on PC), when Destiny 2 was offered for free and the DLC discounted, we figured, why not? Bungie, who honed their skills on the Halo series, knows how to offer a complete experience and thought the game is not perfect, the company seems to have figured out how to shape a game that gives a pretty good opportunity for every style of player - while avoiding most of the pitfalls of a typical MMMO

Presentation: Destiny 2 looks and sounds phenomenal. The presentation is top-notch, from the characters and enemies to the diverse planetary environments. You can be deep in a alien jungle, jumping over ruins or exploring man-made structures on a vast sea - the game has some pretty breath-taking views to enjoy. Likewise, enemies are diverse as well - certain factions give you insets, alien warriors, shadows, cybernetic entities and, of course, a bunch of big, bad bosses to take down. The game does a great job of make each of these races stand out on their own, while giving a diverse range of different types within each faction itself.

Beyond the looks, the game has assembled a nice range of voice actors. Some are immediately familiar: the deep baritone of Lance Reddick and playful nature of Nathan Fillion, while other actors such as Lennie James, Bill Nighy, Frank Langella and Gina Torres stand beside veteran voice actors like Nolan North, Sumalee Montano and Neil Kaplan. Taken as a whole, the voice acting is comparable to any AAA title out there - and it actually even more impressive when you consider the MMO nature and ongoing narrative of this type of game. Besides the voice acting, the music is also very well done with each planet giving you their own type of music.

The game has some issue - loading times can be a bit much and the whole Annual Pass thing can get expensive for those who want everything the game has to offer. The DLC as a whole can be a bit much if you don't find it on sale (and they continue to release new content - maybe we'll have to go back again one day). Plus, the always-online nature means that the game could be shuttered at any time, so buyer beware. Still, at this point in time the good exceeds the bad and, if you can get it on the cheap, it totally worth your time.

Story: Because we skipped the first Destiny, the whole history of The Traveler, The Light, the Golden Age, Guardians and Ghosts can be researched by someone with more time on their hands than me. Needless to say, The Light and Ghosts renders Guardians pretty much immortal, and they work to protect mankind and The Traveler from threats.

In Destiny 2 that main threat is represented by the Cabal aka The Red Legion, massive, red-armored warmongers (reminiscent of the Roman Empire) who manage to cage The Traveler, hoping to snare The Light for themselves and cutting off said Light from the Guardians, rendering them mortal. Luckily, some select Guardians (represented by the player base) have managed to keep their Ghost and Light, and fight back against this threat. The Cabal is led by Dominus Ghaul, a one-time orphan left for dead who instead rose through the ranks of Gladiator to Primus to right-hand man - leaving him open to betraying current ruler Calus and taking over. His father-figure, the disgraced scholar known as The Consul, serves as his voice of reason.

But while the main campaign is dominated by the Cabal and the story to restore the light, DLC provides even more story. Two short expansions, Curse of Osiris and Warmind, involve the Vex, the cybernetic race, who look to transform Mercury into a massive simulation; and Mars, where a warmind AI dubbed Rasputin, and a Guardian look to hold back a Hive invasion. The larger expansion, Forsaken, involves a massive prison break, the death of a main character and The Awoken Queen, who, despite being dead, seems to have an undue influence on her brother, responsible for said prison break. It also gives the player the task of tracking down some of the more dangerous escapees on a plan of revenge while trying to unravel this plot.

All told, the actual "story" can be completed in about 50 or so hours - though the game provides much, much more to do. Lost Sectors, daily missions, raids, pvp and more, meaning the game essentially has no true "end" until you get bored of things.

Gameplay: Destiny 2 is all about variety. Variety in characters, in classes, in abilities, in weapons, in armor, vehicles and in what you can do outside the base game. That is great for an MMO, as it certainly offers a lot and, for standard price they offer, it better be good. First off, Destiny 2 gives you three main classes: Titan, Warlock and Hunter - and each of these three classes has three elements (Void, Solar and Arc) to unlock their main abilities while you also have three weapon loadouts and six armor slots to play around with.

But, for reasons unknown, the game also limits you to three players on a team - not four - so the MJ crew split into two teams of two and did their own story missions - teaming up in teams of three at a time to take on some of the tougher daily challenges and attempting (and failing) to do the harder raids (most of which require a team of six). For the most part this worked out, though we were never quite on the same page every week when it came to story. Because I'm Mr. Tank in everything, of course I was a Titan Class.

The Titan is fun to play in my opinion - high damage, fun abilities to destroy enemies in your path and high damage absorption meant I was, for the most part, invincible. In fact, I distinctly recall setting up one of my main abilities in a certain way (that extends the ability when you kill a character) gave me a near infinite killing ability, providing I never ran out of enemies to kill. That was fun! As you progress in the game and level up, you gain access to advanced classes - something I never took full advantage of since the last were unlocked during end-game content and I just never went back to explore the full possibilities.

Destiny 2 really shines in its ability to provide a variety of weapons and armor to outfit your character. This includes three classes of weapons and armor. Your standard loadout consists of a kinetic weapon that deals standard non-elemental damage, an energy weapon that can deal Void, Solar or Arc damage and a Power Weapon that can turn the tide of any battle, but requires the much more rare Heavy Ammo to fire. Likewise, armor is limited to Helmet, Chest, Arms, Boots and one class-specific feature (for the Titan it is Mark) while you can also equip a Ghost and Vehicle as well. Weapons, Armor, Vehicles and Ghosts all have specific rarities, ranging from Basic (white), Uncommon (green), Rare (blue), Legendary (purple), and Exotic (gold). On the Weapons and Armor side, you can only have one Exotic equipped at any time - and these often provide powerful advantages with a wide range of offensive and defensive features.

Certain weapons have natural advantage over others - while Shotguns, Swords, Sniper Rifles and the like can be fun - each requires the more rare form of ammo and thus can be very situational. At least the game does a good job of providing you with upgraded loot based on your level, as I never found it hard to find better gear. The game also lets you spend certain items to find in order to upgrade existing weapons to your current level, which is also a boon. The loot system in Destiny 2 seems very balanced compared to something like, say, Borderlands. Yes, there is still a lot of luck involved, but you also have the mysterious Xur, who continually offers Exotics for purchase (and he's not that hard to track down). Yes, certain weapons and armor can only be obtained through PvP or some convoluted quests, but I leave those to the hardcore - I was fine with what I managed to find on my own.

There is a lot you can do in Destiny 2 on your own or with a few people - each planet has Public Events, where several people can come together to take down harder enemies for rewards, Lost Sectors to explore, with a mini-boss battle at the end, Adventures that let you replay certain story missions, Strikes (mini-raids for three people), Heroic Strikes (higher-power level versions of the basic Strike), Nightfall Strikes (even higher difficulty strikes with weapons and armor restrictions) as well as reoccurring daily missions. These all provide ways to gain better weapons, armor, upgrade material and improve abilities.

Destiny 2 also has an extensive PvP mode - both single and team-based. I admit, I completely ignored the single player portion, never even advancing the first mission an dabbled very little in the team based (we maybe played three or four times together). I know this is a huge part of the game, and community, but it's not my style at all. Of course, the game also revels in cosmetics and loot boxes for those so inclined, but, once again, I didn't care enough to pay attention to all that.

Replayability: This is game that pretty much survives on replayability (or at least coming back for more) and it delivers, especially if you like the PvP aspect, but even if you don't, there is a lot to draw you back in from daily missions to getting those elusive weapons, raids and much more depending on your style of play.

Overall: Destiny 2 has a lot to offer. It is fun if you're competitive or just playing with friends and a steady stream of new content keeps the game fresh though it can get expensive if you shell out for every season pass.

Presentation: 4/5
Story: 4/5
Gameplay: 5/5
Replayability: 5/5
Overall (not an average): 4/5

 

 


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