Having spent several weeks with space orbs and triangles, Liam and I have returned from our intergalactic escapades with a spot of news: Inventory Space episode two is a go! It's a video series in which we spend our precious free time with live service games to see how much they demand from our schedules, and whether we're truly able to experience the best of them without crumbling to dust.
So, please join us, as we tackle Bungie's FPS behemoth Destiny 2. Was it worth our time? And crucially, is it worth yours?
Our second episode zeroes in on Destiny 2, an FPS whose looting and shooting has popularised similar level grinds in other video games. Just take a look at Suicide Squad's recent gameplay reveal and take note of all the air that'll leave your lungs as the dev team outlines the live service model. Guns encased in coloured borders. Armour showered with numbers. An arbitrary level tied to your Shark Man that you want to up. That's thanks to Destiny, that is.
Unlike our first episode on World Of Warcraft, where I had history with it and Liam had none, episode two sees both of us returning to Destiny 2 as lads who'd logged serious hours with it back in the day. We were excited to return to an FPS we'd left behind, hopeful the passage of time might have given it the spruce needed to win us back. Over a few weeks, we'd rejoin the game midway through a season, then experience what it would be to transition into a brand new expansion with Lightfall and see if it made any difference to the new player experience.
And as a quick sidenote, we structured episode two a bit differently to our first. It still documents our time with the game from start to finish, but it's less rigid than our WoW vid. There's also more of me to balance things out (sorry), as poor Liam did lots of the legwork in the last episode and we wanted to make this one feel like more of a joint thing. Anyway, that's enough from me - back to space orbs.
Our journey began with a flurry of pop-ups, pointing us to expansions and missions and raids in what we could only presume to be a bulletin board finally being set free. Still, we were excited to begin the game afresh and see how things had, hopefully, changed for the better. What we hadn't anticipated was the sheer joy of Bungie's shooting. Crisp and punchy, it was an absolute thrill to shoot fucked up 'lil guys. Seriously, it reminded us that Destiny makes guns feel so good on the fingers.
Bungie had rejigged the starter experience too, making it more of a tutorial island that gave us a selection of fast-paced missions and a stream of rewards to get us reacquainted with the game's rhythm. It reminded us a bit of World Of Warcraft's first isle, which was a sort of microcosm of the game as a whole. So far, so good.
Over time, though, we began to feel a bit lost. Even though the game pointed us to its latest Witch Queen expansion, we found its older stories buried and forgotten on unblinking planets. And as we sampled a mixture of old and revamped, it became clearer that Bungie had struggled to repackage its older offerings. One early mission with Devrim Kay felt like a Frankenstein's monster of old mashed with new. Very odd.
The story was similar. Boy was it difficult to understand. We had no idea what was happening, especially as the game hadn't made it easy to kickstart things chronologically. So, we bounced between Beyond Light and Witch Queen, with Witch Queen being a real highlight. Cor, some of the set pieces! The action! The crimson cathedrals! Beyond Light? Let's forget what we made of that. Even if the stories weren't great, we'd been carried through by the game's shooting and moreish looting.
Despite pouring a lot of spare and - cheekily, given our self-imposed rules for this series - work time into the game, we hadn't really dug deep enough into any expansion to sample the endgame stuff. The grind, unfortunately, was inescapable, and kept us locked out of the best activities, like Raids and Nightfall Strikes. We found that free-to-play players get to sample some of the good stuff, but, ultimately, you'd need to fork out a lot of money to properly experience the game at all.
When Lightfall arrived we took time to reassess Destiny's starter experience, as the game had introduced Guardian Ranks: checklists packed into 11 ranks, a way to better steer new players towards things. We spoke to fellow RPS pal Rachel about her experiences jumping in as a brand new player, and found, surprisingly, that she'd had a great time?!
Bungie's storytelling had worsened, though. Some chimney-headed bush baby called The Witness banged on about The Veil and it made zero sense. Later, we'd talk to former Destiny head and current RPS pal Alice0 about Destiny's storytelling being buried in item descriptions.
We'd really looked forward to Lightfall and its promises of a neon city, and a new power called The Strand. A few sessions in, with Liam on the brink of death from a minor cold, we realised the expansion was a bit of drag. The Witch Queen's varied fights and interesting locales had been replaced by samey skirmishes and annoying level requirements. The city felt lifeless and there were lots of walls coloured like piss. More on that in the video.
So then, for newcomers, we didn't think Lightfall would make for the best opening experience. To get to the good stuff, you'd need to invest a lot of time in Destiny and it would need to be your everything game. For one final chat, we spoke to marketing whiz and longtime Destiny player Dan Jones from our parent company ReedPop, who explained what Destiny can be for someone who enjoys the grind and, most importantly, finds a sense of community within its live service walls.
Destiny is a tricky one. It's a brilliant FPS wrapped in a disjointed, often irritating MMO. Yet, we still had a lot of fun, despite it all. The overlap with World Of Warcraft was obvious in some respects, too, as Destiny is a special, inconsistent thing that's difficult to scratch if you've not got the time. If you do, though, and you've got a bunch of friends, it contains a wealth of superb sci-fi action you simply can't find anywhere else.
We really hope you enjoy the video! And if you do, please give it like and/or subscribe as it really helps us out. The Inventory Space duo will be back soon, hopefully. For now, we are going to relax for a bit and never think about space orbs ever again.
We made the video before Lance Reddick passed away. He was an exceptionally important part of the game for many, many years and his contribution to it as Zavala was huge. Of course, his legacy will live on, and we're thankful to have spent countless hours over the years in a universe bettered by him.