Destiny 2 Beta Gameplay: What’s Different and What’s Not?

Destiny 2 Beta Gameplay: What’s Different and What’s Not?

The Destiny 2 Beta launched yesterday, for those of us who play on PS4 (Xbox One’s Beta launches today and PC’s will be sometime in August). I spent about a good 6 hours playing Bungie’s next entry into the iconic franchise Destiny and I’ve got to say, overall I was pretty happy with what I found. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed Bungie games and I feel like they made some subtle and some not so subtle improvements to the game. While not everything was a step in the right direction, the story telling of the game seems to have markedly improved, so let’s begin there.

Destiny 2 Story and Setting vs. Destiny 1

Without getting into too many spoilers, which is an extremely hard feat, the Destiny 2 beta begins with an outstanding opening cinematic full of humor, action and outstanding voice acting. If Destiny 2 has improved in anything over its predecessor, it’s surely here. Once again you play a Guardian who uses the Light of the Traveler to protect your people from threats beyond. Destiny 2 is markedly darker than Destiny 1, and it all has a very Empire Strikes Back mood. You really feel like you’re in for the fight of your life, and things look beyond bleak. Knowing that it is a game, and that you are a Guardian is some comfort in the dark, but will it be enough…?

If we’re all completely honest, Destiny’s story has never been very compelling and has been mildly interesting at the best of times, but something here had my hairs raise and I felt more immersed in the Destiny universe than ever before. As I pushed through, the set pieces and score all had me on the edge of my seat and I felt that I was really a part of a resistance push. It’s very early, and we’ve yet to see a whole lot of the game, but I’m extremely optimistic about this aspect in particular. I really hope there are more interesting characters and we don’t spend more time outside of the game researching the lore than within.

Destiny 2

Destiny 2 Gameplay vs. Destiny 1

The gameplay of Destiny 2 is very similar to Destiny 1, which was definitely expected by most, myself included. There are, however, subtle changes within each Class’s subclass, as well as some changes to the way Crucible works. For starters the Super abilities of each Class are somewhat different than the previous installment. Although some are the same ability, they have new aspects that make them behave differently and it is very clear that Bungie wanted to change this facet, but not so much as to piss people off. For instance the Golden Gun of the Hunter can fire up to 6 times, but is active for a drastically shorter time making you more likely to get a kill, but less likely to get many kills. Also, in Crucible, you only get about 1 Super a game now, instead of 2 or sometimes 3, and generally everyone’s Super is ready at about the same time, which turns the map into a shit show for about 15 seconds.

Destiny 2

Weapon Categories

The next element Bungie tweaked is the handling of the weapon categories: Primary, Special and Heavy. They were broken down as follows:

Destiny 1

Primary Weapons (white ammo)

Special Weapons (green ammo)

Heavy Weapons (purple ammo)

Destiny 2

Kinetic Weapons (white ammo)

Energy Weapons (green ammo)

  • Auto Rifle
  • Hand Cannon
  • Pulse Rifle
  • Scout Rifle
  • Sidearm
  • Submachine Gun

Power Weapons (purple ammo)

You can see from these changes in the Destiny 2 beta that now you can have 1 Kinetic Weapon and 1 Energy Weapon equipped, even if they are the same type. Shotguns, Fusion Rifles and Sniper Rifles are now lumped in with the Rocket Launcher and more powerful weapons, effectively removing them from more regular use. I feel this was a step in the wrong direction for the game, and I really hope it’s one that changes before launch. Because of the lowered frequency at which you gain Super, what this means is that you will have even less varied combat unless the drop rate for purple ammo is much higher (currently in Crucible you get an extremely low amount). This certainly makes for more balanced combat, but it also makes for more repetitive combat as well.

Destiny 2

PvP Crucible

During my time in the Crucible I found that some weapons seemed more powerful than others. For example, in the right hands, the Submachine Gun you are given will out perform nearly any other weapon in a straight up 1v1 scenario. Hand Cannons are second to these, and in the right hands are deadly, which has been the case in Destiny for some time. Next is the Pulse Rifle which is eerily similar to the Battle Rifle in Halo 2 and gives me that nostalgic feeling whenever I use it. Behind that is the Auto Rifle, which is still very good, but because the range seems shorter and players seem to move faster it isn’t as powerful as it was in Destiny 1. Finally, the Scout Rifle and Sidearm are both just equally ineffective.

There is also a new game type called Countdown in Destiny 2, that feels a bit like Counter-Strike or Call of Duty, and is an attack and defend variety of gameplay. Players only have one life per round, however they can be revived after some seconds, and they must arm or defuse a bomb. These rounds are extremely fast and frankly I’m not sure it fits the type of combat in this game. I’m sure that some players will find it a breath of fresh air, while I found the load time between rounds nearly as long as the rounds themselves. It’s definitely not my favorite, but then again, it’s hard to complain about options.

To get an even better idea of the PvP in action, check out this gameplay montage, fresh from my time in the Destiny 2 Beta:


Final Thoughts

From the hours I have spent playing Destiny 2 Beta, I believe that any fan with the series will be mostly happy with what they are getting in Destiny 2. Polished graphics, an intriguing story, great world design and intense PvP all at first play are as good or better than Destiny 1. In fairness though, I was pumped for Destiny 1 after the Beta and the game severely let me down, as well as many other players. By all accounts however, The Taken King really improved the game and with the same team that led that expansion’s development leading the way in the sequel, there is reason to be optimistic.

I won’t go as far as to tell players to pre-order based on what I have seen so far, but I would say if you’re a fan of Destiny and you have yet to tire from the intense fast-paced gameplay Bungie has been putting out for years then I have no doubt you will enjoy Destiny 2. It’s hard to say if the sequel will bring any players who lost interest in Destiny back on board. Burn out is a factor, and although Destiny 2 is fun, I haven’t seen anything yet that will address that and keep me engaged long term. We all know the gameplay is going to be tight. What remains to be seen are the regular activities and new content planned and how Bungie intends on cycling all of that to keep the game feeling fresh for players.

Destiny 2

Playing the Destiny 2 beta? What are your thoughts on the game so far? Don’t be shy, share your opinions in the comments!

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Senior Editor at Fextralife. I enjoy gaming, playing and watching sports, cooking yummy food, watching a good movie and hanging out with Fex.

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3 comments on “Destiny 2 Beta Gameplay: What’s Different and What’s Not?”

  1. Avatar Argetlam350 says:

    Things I like:
    -Ghaul. OG Destiny’s biggest problem is that there was no real defining enemy besides the supposed ‘Darkness’. We never really had a truly interesting enemy to the City until Oryx came along so Ghaul is a step in the right direction in having a clear defining main antagonist. So this hopefully means a better story experience.
    -The 4v4 change. I didn’t think I would enjoy this but honestly this is way more entertaining then the 6v6. Now if only hand cannons didn’t reign in it I’d be happy.
    -Graphical update and enemy update.
    -Titan armor. One thing I hated with Destiny is that as a titan I wanted to look big and intimidating, like a damn tank but very few armor pieces gave that intimidation look. Now we have that bulky look and I love it.

    Things I am Disappointed:
    -The new weapon system. While I don’t find it overally terrible it llooks more like Bungie decided to try and appease everyone and thus we get this odd duel primary system where one is kinetic and the other has elemental properties because so many kept complaining about no elemental primaries in Destiny and then moved shotguns, fusions, and snipers. It’s not terrible but it just feels like Bungie trying to appease everyone rather then just being a new weapon system.
    -Bullet spong boss. Now this might change on full release but the one strike boss we have is one thing that was hated in Destiny when it first came out and now it seems it is back. That would be a bullet sponge boss. Literally this boss nearly consumes all your ammo to take down.
    -Lack of heavy(power) ammo. I want to test out some of the power weapons to see how they perform but in the strike it is nearly impossible because power ammo is like an endanger species.
    -Super changes. I’m on the fence really. I enjoy some of the changes like striker becoming a mobile ability but others not so much. Like how voidwalker now is really easy to get away form. Then just disappointment like Sentinel. I thought I would be captain america being able to throw that shield around but instead I feel like a mixture of the sunbreaker ability where I could hit people with the hammer if they were close and blade dancer, but with terrible handling.

    Overall my biggest concerns come from the fact that at the moment the beta makes it look like that the game caters more to the PvPers then PvE players. How the supers charge really slow, the movement speed reduced to prevent skating, the idea to move shotguns and other secondary to the new power slot to reduce the running lone wolf gameplay. This bleeds into the PvE and causes some frustration IMO. That and I’m not a happy camper that seemingly the other original planets are just up and gone so far. No Mars, No Moon, No Venus, No Reef. Why exactly are these gone? Of course that is from what they have shown of the map and talked about with the story not the beta so I’m going off topic.

    The beta doesn’t really do anything for me and leaves me scratching my head that they are going to want a full price game out of this when it feels just like the original game just with a fresh coat of paint and some adjustments. It’s nice to see them fix the things that were wrong with Destiny yet with a lack of feeling of innovation to it why should I buy? Ultimately I’m going to pass this by and wait for some price drops or wait and see what Anthem will offer.

  2. Avatar Fallenangel700 says:

    Isn’t that how most sequels go?

    I rented the original Destiny from the library about a year ago. While I don’t regret playing it, I’m REALLY glad I didn’t pay for it. I found it to be a generic RPG FPS with a bad story and dull settings. And I wasn’t about to pay for 4 dlcs just to get to "the good part."

    Sounds like they’re fixing the story part, so that’s good. Plus, the settings and areas in the trailers look really cool. However, it sounds like they haven’t changed the gameplay much, and that’s likely going to kill my interest.

    I think I’ll give the beta a shot like last time and see what happens.

  3. Avatar Back_Lot_Basher says:

    Considering that Destiny represents a new evolution in the strategy of fusing subscriptions into the price by disguising them as DLC (yes, paywall, I’m looking at you), this is now a $200+ game for anyone who wants to play vanilla and content packs on day 1. I don’t think I’m the only person who has figured that out. Destiny 1 got a huge bump in RPG players who were eager for a sprawling space epic that they could sink hundreds of hours into just to explore the story and world. Those players will not make the same mistake again, so I expect sales to soften.

    Personally, every shred of logic in my body says give this a pass and pick up an inevitable all-inclusive package. This, of course, depends on how much of what they’re selling is hype.

    However, you are correct on one thing – existing hardcore fans will buy this in droves, grumble about this or that, and still enjoy the aspects they love. I just think the numbers of loyal fans Bungie claims to have is way overblown.

    That teaser intro mission smells like movie trailer to me, and I’ve learned not to trust those. Can’t wait to see just how epic and cinematic the whole thing really is.

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