I’m not exactly sure when I first started playing Destiny, but it certainly feels like an eternity since I last played.
When Destiny arrived on the scene, I was excited. Bungie had made great strides in multiplayer game design with Halo and subsequent sequels. I knew I wasn’t going to get much of a story because let’s face it, Bungie is garbage when it comes to that side of things, so I kept my focus on their non-solo prowess. I picked it up, and I got sucked into a years-long affair with the game. I built up my characters, making one of each class, race, and gender, and we tackled the worst this ambiguously scary universe had to offer.
When I got my grubby mitts on Destiny 2, I thought it was going to be a heck of a ride. What I actually got was... less than that. The first few levels without having the Light as a crutch were provocative and a bold take for the series, but it was done in service of a villain that in the end was not all that interesting. Let’s look at the various things I beat up to this point:
- I stopped machines that were lords of time (not Time Lords).
- I stopped a would-be god-king from launching an assault on Earth from the remains of the moon.
- I stopped a renegade space pirate from using the lords of time’s tech.
- Most importantly, I stopped a real god-king from killing everyone.
- Oh, and I guess I stopped an infection or something? (Rise of Iron was kind of phoned-in.)
I beat a friggin’ god, and you’re trying to tell me that the most challenging foe I have ever faced is a regular Cabal general who is slightly more clever than the rest of his peers? Pacing is the problem that Destiny is facing right now. Bungie simply put out the wrong stories first, leaving us with what could have been a series of side missions from the first game as the main campaigns of the sequel.
If they had lined it up so that Ghaul and the main story of Destiny 2 was DLC in the first one and The Taken King came out in a later installment, while still incorporating its much-needed changes to gameplay and storytelling, then I think Bungie would not be hitting a wall right now. That coupled with greater transparency with both lore and meta-game mechanics, as well as less predatory practices involving lootboxes and the like would have allowed Destiny to blossom into a classic series. Instead, we have a bit of a mess. A beautiful mess, but a mess nonetheless.
The narratives are simply not important or interesting enough when they’re compared to the first Destiny’s story. The Taken King may have temporarily saved Destiny, but it may have doomed it in the long run. All I can hope for is that the third entry in the series will raise the stakes and introduce a villain worth our time. Until then, I’m going to continue avoiding my Destiny.