The EDZ Leak Finally Sold Me on Destiny 2
And it sold me a lot harder than any of Bungie's Marketing
Note: This article is entirely spoiler-free.
Destiny 2 looks great, but its marketing has been far less aggressive than its predecessor and not nearly as memorable as those of Halo yore. The beta's vertical slice left me impressed, to be sure, but after the series' maligned premiere, Bungie's left the game to stand on its own merit. And based on what I've seen...it's exceeded my expectations.
I'm a huge fan of Destiny. If I wasn't, I wouldn't be here writing about it. But in the back of my mind, I've always been worried about the franchise. Vanilla Destiny launched in a bad state, and it took many, many updates and DLC packs to fix it. Ultimately, it became an incredibly enjoyable game--one I've sunk thousands of hours into.
But the reminder that this enjoyment was built upon layers of improvements always made it a fragile experience. There's a sense of wonder that immerses players in seamlessly brilliant games like Breath of the Wild or GTA V. But in Destiny, no matter how fantastic the combat, worlds and raids were, they were always present in the context of their previous, inferior iterations.
So Destiny 2 promised a fresh start, a welcome prospect. Bungie knows what makes their game tick, and as the player, I hold it in the light Tocqueville held America: as a grand experiment whose future is bright, but not predestined.
When the first trailer dropped, and Bungie revealed the game days later, I was excited. The trailer looked great, the gameplay looked beautiful and the opening mission was fantastic. Additions like the new gun system, Guided Games and Lost Sectors were welcome, and fit perfectly into what I felt made its predecessor so enjoyable.
But until you get your hands on the game, it's impossible to say you love it. Even after playing it on PC at E3, and again on PS4 and Xbox during the beta, I never felt truly sold on the game. It remained something I hoped would be brilliant, but remained a gamble. There was nothing about Destiny 2 that wowed me in a way the first game hadn't either.
Many people who critiqued the beta and despaired of the game missed that what they played was--and you'll find this in many of their comment sections--just a beta. It was a vertical slice that wasn't entirely representative of the full game. And the problem is that, no matter how much I loved the beta…I figured that only the full game could ever entirely convince me.
Then, the Destiny 2 footage leak emerged. Gameplay from the European Dead Zone showed the open world, patrol mission, Adventures and even a Lost Sector. I have no interest in discussing the contents or what I saw. If you want to see it, you can, and if you'd rather not have the game spoiled, I won't be the one to do it.
Simply, my experience:
The open worlds look…like open worlds. Not like arenas stitched together. They looked like seamless, engrossing, open worlds. Enemies were scattered naturally throughout, and the battles felt far more vicious and scary. Public events were challenging.
The gameplay…is incredible. If you've played the beta, you've already experienced it. But the Lost Sectors feature actual level design. Not hordes. Not mobs. Not scattered enemies for you to mop up at will. The enemies are placed intentionally, in ways that make the players think far more than they've ever had to. Shooting enemies in the wrong order, or starting the engagement from the wrong location will be a brutal disadvantage.
Destiny 2 solves its predecessor's often bland mission design extremely well. Keep in mind, I'm not even talking about actual missions: I'm talking about open world activities. Based on what I saw, if many of these side-activities or Lost Sector encounters were part of campaign missions, you'd be impressed. They aren't, and I can only imagine the actual campaign to be even more impressive.
In short, enemies are terrifying, encounters are thrilling, and the gameplay complements an incredible, engrossing open world. This leak represents a broad slice of the game and I'm thoroughly sold.
This is what Destiny is meant to be.