‘Destiny 2’ got off to a rocky start, but it’s turned into a game that everybody should play

Dave Smith
destiny 2 shadowkeep

Bungie


  • If you're looking for a video game you can really sink your teeth into, "Destiny 2" might become your next big addiction.
  • The game has evolved drastically since its launch in late 2017.
  • Whether you've taken a break from "Destiny" or you've never played Bungie's sci-fi shooter before, "Destiny 2" is absolutely worth giving a try.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

There are a lot of incredible video games worth playing right now. But if you're looking for a game you can really sink your teeth and time into, there's no other game I can recommend more than "Destiny 2."

"Destiny 2," which is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, originally launched in September 2017, but the game has evolved considerably since then. At launch, there wasn't much to do, activities didn't offer many rewards, and the rewards you would get were often repetitive since every gun had static perks. It had promise, but it was ultimately pretty boring. Players were furious that the sequel had seemed to take so many steps backward since the original "Destiny."

Much has changed since those early days. Through six different expansions (now called "seasons"), and dozens of game updates that helped players live out their power fantasies of becoming a superhero in space, "Destiny 2" has grown into a game that doesn't run out of activities, or surprises. And it's about to get even better this fall, with the ability to pick up your game on other platforms (so you can start on a PlayStation 4 and continue your character on PC), and the move to make the base game of "Destiny 2" free to everyone.

I've poured hundreds of hours into "Destiny 2," and I still find myself staying up late most nights chasing after the game's many rewards. If you've never played "Destiny," or you've taken a break from the game since it launched, here's why it's the perfect time to jump in right now.

It's a game about being a superhero in space. What's not to like?

Bungie

In "Destiny 2," you're a Guardian from Earth, someone who's been given supernatural abilities and the power to resurrect themselves countless times. The game is about navigating your existence as a Guardian, exploring the universe as a protector of Earth, but also about making yourself even more powerful by defeating enemies and finding new gear.

You can customize your character to a great degree, and creating multiple characters lets you experience the game in different ways. Since your Guardian can be a Warlock, Titan, or Hunter, creating a new character gives you subclass-specific armor and abilities, which gives the game incredibly deep replay value.



You'll never run out of stuff to do.

Bungie

A lot of video games have this problem: They give you an incredible sandbox to play in, but you run out of stuff to actually play with, which would keep the sandbox feeling fresh.

"Destiny" never has this problem. The game is all about getting more powerful through the acquisition of weapons and armor that make you more potent at killing hostile alien creatures — the crux of the game. Bungie, the game's developer, is constantly adding new gear and environments for people to play in on a weekly and monthly basis, which means the sandbox is constantly expanding and growing deeper at the same time.

There are activities for every type of person: If you want to casually do stuff solo, you have missions, quest lines, adventures, and patrols. If you want to play with friends or random players, you have strikes, the Crucible (for player-versus-player matches), and coordinated activities like Blind Well and Menagerie. If you want a deep experience with difficult gameplay and even some puzzle-solving, "Destiny" also offers six-person raids, which are the most difficult activities in the game that also happen to reward the best items.



Activities feel incredibly rewarding.

Bungie

There are tons of activities in "Destiny" — but no matter what you choose to do, you're going to be rewarded for it.

There are daily and weekly milestones for completing certain activities. These daily and weekly challenges offer powerful rewards that can level up your character, making you more potent in said activities. Powerful rewards also have a chance at dropping exotic items, either weapons or armor, which are the rarest and best collectibles in the game, which often give you major advantages while playing.



Rewards feel really good.

Bungie

You'll be rewarded for any and every activity you complete, which gives you a chance at landing excellent legendary and exotic items.

Exotic weapons and armor are the best in the game: They're extremely rare drops that can come from any activity, and they usually offer an ability you can't find elsewhere in the game. We've ranked the best exotic weapons currently in "Destiny 2."

But even non-exotic items, like legendary armor and weapons, are worth chasing because they can roll with random perks. And there's always a "god roll" version of an item to chase after — a perfect hand cannon for Crucible matches, for example, or a perfect bow for world activities — because the assortment of random perks can synergize so well that your gun feels vastly different than the same gun, with different perks. So there's a ton of incentive to keep playing for rewards, and to actually examine the rewards you get.



The basics of the game — combat and traversal — have never felt so good.

Bungie

Sorry, other video games: There is no better first-person shooter out there than "Destiny 2," period. Every gun feels unique and different, from how it looks to how it performs and even how it sounds.

But exploring the various planets in "Destiny" is just as fun as mowing down hostile aliens. Each subclass in the game — Titan, Warlock, or Hunter — moves differently, and the armor you wear can also change how traversal works.

For example, a piece of exotic leg armor for Titans called Lion Rampants can let you glide for long periods of time, while an exotic Warlock helmet called Astrocyte Verse can let you "blink" — or jump, disappear, then reappear — long distances.



It scratches that sci-fi itch.

Bungie

If you like Marvel or superhero movies, or sci-fi fantasy shows like "Game of Thrones" or "Stranger Things," "Destiny" is for you. It presents you with a plethora of worlds and alien environments that will wow you just stepping foot on them. It also offers a ton of mystery and intrigue, through backstories that are uncovered through lore you discover around each planet.

There's so much to see and do at all times, but "Destiny 2" rarely forces you down a narrow path: Instead, it gives you the canvas to create your own stories. You have missions and quests, plus other activities you can play alone or with friends. My "Destiny" experience can feel entirely different from yours, depending on our interests and which activities we like.



It's easy to play with people — your friends, or complete strangers.

YouTube/Bungie

While the game offers plenty of opportunities to team up with random players you encounter, it's extremely easy to find a group to play with for more coordinated activities, like the game's six-person raids.

While most in-game activities feature matchmaking, where you'll be teamed up with players in a minute or two, Bungie also created an excellent Destiny 2 app that has a tab dedicated specifically to help people find fireteams to do stuff with. You can filter fireteams by activity and join them in-game in just seconds. You can also make posts to find your own groups, for whatever activity you're trying to complete. You'll never feel alone, or like you can't get help.



The game is constantly growing through updates.

Bungie/Activision

Bungie releases major updates to the game about once every three months or so, but the game gets constant updates through secret quests and time-gated events that seem to appear every couple of weeks. Plus there is an ongoing rotation of seasonal events, like the monthly Iron Banner tournaments, which keep the game feeling fresh since they offer unique rewards.

In this current summer season, which Bungie calls the "Season of Opulence," players have a new six-player activity called the Menagerie, and a new area to house all of your "Destiny" accomplishments called the Tribute Hall (which comes with its own quests). Soon, "Destiny 2" will add its "Solstice of Heroes" event that will let players build nifty pieces of armor through activities and quests. It's going to be a busy summer before Bungie releases its next big expansion to "Destiny" this fall, called "Shadowkeep."



The game is about to get a massive influx of players, since the base game is going to be free.

Bungie

Starting this fall, "Destiny 2" will offer a free tier for the first time.

"Destiny 2: New Light" will let people experience the first year of "Destiny 2," which means the base campaign, and the first two expansions ("Curse of Osiris" and "Warmind") are free. This also means the content that was released during this time is also free to play and experience, including all of the raids released in the first year of "Destiny 2." This Reddit post has a good breakdown of everything "New Light" does and doesn't offer.

"New Light" will be a great opportunity for people to dip their toes into "Destiny." But if you do like the game, it's totally worth investing your money for the full experience. I own a lot of video games, but given how much time I've spent in "Destiny 2" (hundreds of hours), I can say it's easily one of the best values you can get out of any video game.



The people who make "Destiny 2" are listening to their community's feedback, through Bungie's forums and the Destiny subreddit, and have been implementing the best ideas to improve the game.

Bungie

It feels really good as a player to know that the people actually making the game you play are listening to fan feedback.

That's part of what's kept me interested in "Destiny" over all of these years. Yes, the game is constantly growing, and there's a ton of stuff to do at all times, but that's because players have gradually molded the game into something they want to play more of. Through constant suggestions and constructive criticism on Bungie's forums and Reddit, Bungie has implemented many of the best ideas to make the game more fun, deep, and playable.

Players wanted to see lore in the game; Bungie added the ability to read any and all lore, right in the game, instead of having to visit a website to read about the world of "Destiny" (this was the case previously). Players wanted a place to house their many accomplishments, and enjoy a no-pressure shooting gallery to test out weapons; Bungie added the Tribute Hall this month, which offers all of the above. Players wanted more secret missions, and surprises; Bungie has added a handful of secret questlines that reward unique gear. The list goes on.

Considering how far "Destiny" has come since September 2017, I'm looking forward to seeing how the game will change and grow in the years to come.