Destiny 2 Closed Beta Hands-On Preview Impressions

The first Destiny debuted just under three years ago and after a few major expansions, Bungie is finally moving forward by pressing the reset button with Destiny 2. The game still has a couple more months before release, but the Destiny 2 closed beta has started and I thought I would share some of my impressions thus far.

Those who participated in the various betas for the first game may be a little disappointed here, as the Destiny 2 closed beta definitely goes with a much more bare bones approach. From the very start, you have the option to choose between your three classes of Titan, Hunter, and Warlock, but you do not get the chance to customize your character one bit. This is one of Destiny’s signature features, and they seem to be holding it back for the sequel’s official release.

Instead, you get saddled with a basic version of each, which is auto leveled up very highly, putting everyone in the beta on an even playing ground. As a result, there is no sort of leveling system in the beta, which makes sense due to people always being disappointed that their beta progress doesn’t carry over at all.

Once you pick your class, you get some very impressive opening cinematics that are definitely a step up from the first game before being thrust right into a story mission by yourself. This is quite easy and linear, but it really feels a lot more cinematic and story driven than the first game already, which is very exciting. This segment itself isn’t very long, but it is really neat how you run into some live players near the end very randomly as well.

After making it through this mission and defeating the boss, you will head into orbit and have three options of gameplay to choose from. Unlike the much more open beta for the original Destiny, the only playable mission based option is The Inverted Spire strike. I ran through this a few times, which can be done with random players or friends. However, the first time I tried to play I got put at the very end of the level before the final boss with a non-moving teammate that somehow had more kills than anymore when all was said and done, even though we couldn’t see them moving. Hopefully some glitches like this are worked out before the full game releases.

Even with this, I had a lot of fun once I was able to get it working, with this strike really showing how much grander in scale Destiny 2 is going to be than its predecessor. One part in particular that amazed me was almost a platforming like segment where you have to avoid giant blades. I hope to see more areas in the game like this that will require thinking and precision rather than just linear forward movement all the time.

The beta also offers two different Crucible options to choose from, Quickplay and Competitive. Quickplay is strictly the Control type of playstyle on a new map called Endless Vale. My time with this mode was a lot of fun, though the core gameplay of Control is just what you would expect from any prior Destiny experience.

On the other hand, Competitive lets you try out the brand new Countdown match on the new Midtown map. Countdown is a blast, literally, as your teams alternates either setting explosives and trying to stop the opposing team from defusing it or trying to defuse an explosive if they activate it. In addition, there are limited revives available, so one team can win a round if the entire other team is killed as well. There is no question this is going to be a favorite mode among games, with it feeling a bit like Counter-Strike in some ways.

Due to the beta being very limited, there’s no real opportunity to get a feel for the equipment and weapon changes in great detail here. You do get to see how the new Kinetic and Energy weapon slots work, though that doesn’t really play too much of a role in just the beta.

While the Destiny 2 beta may not have been as meaty as the ones for the first game, it still managed to get me even more hyped for the game. If Bungie can manage to make the story missions and strikes as fun as the ones in the beta, while also offering a solid variety of game options in The Crucible, they should have another winner on their hands.