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  • Daniel James

Gunslinger Hunter Review (Beta)

With the reveal of Destiny 2 and its brand-new subclasses, players eagerly awaited the game's beta. But since IGN's gameplay reveals, players became increasingly worried: there was an abundance of Titan and Warlock footage, and very little of Hunters. Worries arose that the beloved class would take a backseat in Destiny 2.

I've played this class since Day 1, and it remains my favorite of the classes available in the original game. So it should come as no surprise that this was the first subclass I loaded into the beta with.

So, does it hold up? After four hours of grinding the Inverted Spire Strike and the new Crucible, it's really a mixed bag. Ultimately, it remains a quintessential class for the game, with excellent options for skilled gunfighters, but dubious usefulness across a game as broad and varied as Destiny.

In the Crucible, solid perks that extend gunfight duration and utility will frequently reward skilled gunfighters, but a lack of objective based abilities may prove problematic for objective game modes.

Golden Gun now fires six shots, but is unable to one-shot roaming supers, meaning you'll easily die to any other super. In PvE, the Golden Gun super is easily shut down by every other super, and the continues lack of increased health--that nearly every other super enjoys--means you'll even be vulnerable to traditional arms fire. Even the Titan bubble will waste your super, since your time to fire is so short, that the Titan can easily just pop the bubble and use it as cover for speedy egress.

It's virtually useless at shutting down rival supers, which I did with my primary weapon far more frequently and reliably. Additionally, it only lasts for a few seconds, meaning your ability to fire off those shots is limited to crowded engagements

A Gunslinger Hunter | Destiny 2

This relegates the once versatile super to a role like the infamous "Fist of Panic," as a get-out-of-jail-free card for bad situations. With all modes now 4 v 4, it's mediocre at clearing enemies and useless at holding territory. Targets moving at all are impossible to hit, as lining up the shot takes longer than the super allows.

Despite that, Hunters can expect great, albeit incredible specific utility from the returning throwing knife and reimagined Shadestep.

While I still haven't fully mastered them in the Destiny 2 Beta, I've run with throwing knives on my Gunslinger since Year 1 of Destiny. I expect to continue packing them after being impressed by their performance in the beta.

Destiny 2's combat centers around the spontaneous gunfights between players. With reduced player speed, fewer evasive abilities and much smaller maps, it's harder to disengage from gun battles. In many cases, running out of ammo, or being overwhelmed by multiple enemies means instant death.

Skillful use of throwing knives though, can quickly turn these battles into a Hunter's favor. Like the Titan's shoulder charge, a knife does just short of a single bar's damage.

With Destiny 2's new, more punishing combat, you'll frequently win gunfights, just to die instantly to another player drawn to your location by the gunfire. At the very least, a well thrown knife can even the odds, breaking another player's shields while you reload, escape, or even head for a second kill.

It's a versatile tool that complements the subclass's play-style well, that a skilled player will be well-rewarded for wielding.

Complementing this ability comes the Shadestep. Introduced with the Nightstalker class in the Taken King expansion, it became incredibly popular. Shadestep allowed players to dodge fire, making it invaluable to snipers. In fact, it proved so useful that all Hunters have Shadestep in Destiny 2…kind of.

If you head into the Destiny 2 beta hoping Shadestep will let you disengage from disfavorable gunfights, you'll be disappointed…and dead. It's really more of a spiraling bunny hop, that lands you a few feet away. You'll rarely land far away enough to reach cover, and it's so easy to read that other players will have no problem picking up where the fight started.

It took a while for me to realize Shadestep's true value. In the Gunslinger's character options, you'll choose from "Gambler's Dodge" and "Marksman's Dodge."

Marksman's Dodge | Destiny 2

Gambler's Dodge | Destiny 2

Gambler's Dodge instantly reloads your knife, while Marksman's Dodge reloads your primary weapon.

Gunfights frequently come down to dealing out damage, and running out of ammo mid-fight is near-certain death. A skillful dodge allows you to finish off an enemy with a throwing knife, or reengage with a full magazine in your primary.

A well-timed dodge has saved me repeatedly, but it also requires skill. More often than not, I would attempt to dodge, only to miss my knife, or my shots. You'll still lose gunfights you deserve to lose. The new Shadestep is not an escape tool, it's merely a second chance to finish the fight. It's intended to bridge the gap of your equipment's shortcomings…not yours.

Now for the bad: Many players wondered if Hunters would still be viable in PvE, with the new Dawnblade and Sentinel classes. The short answer? No.

Golden Gun | Destiny 2

The long answer is that in PvE, where the bulk of Destiny's class abilities are meant to shine, the Gunslinger just comes up short. Most enemies shoot projectiles, making Shadestep laughably useless. And throwing a knife into a horde of ads isn't the clever retort it is in The Crucible.

Golden Gun remains a reliable tool in executing boss damage, but without an exotic like The Dark Below's Celestial Nighthawk, it's hard to see Gunslingers being viable in a mechanics based Raid, or even a Nightfall. Nothing a Hunter can do provides much utility for groups, with its gunfight oriented PvE abilities. Even from the most selfish perspective, the abilities don't do much to aid the player either.

In conclusion, the Gunslinger Hunter remains a reliable class for the Crucible, with excellent perks that will aid skilled gunfighters. But the class' selfish gene make for a Super that will do little in competitive environments, and a class that performs extremely poorly in PvP, where the bulk of the game actually is. This iteration of Gunslingers will have to be sustained by niche Exotics that could eventually widen its utility.

While I can't answer for the final game, I'd be leery of choosing the class for your primary character. On launch day, I'll bring my character forward, collect my veteran emblems and then I'll move on. I don't imagine I'll return for a while, and I'd strongly recommend that Bungie reconsider the subclass' role.

#Destiny2 #Beta