‘Destiny’ franchise creating unfortunate precedent

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Bungie is back at it again.

For some, this will be a good thing, but for most this simple statement will bring up enormous, ominously flashing red flags.

Bungie, of course, is the illustrious development company behind the “Halo” franchise and, more recently, the “Destiny” franchise. At the beginning of this month, Bungie, with help from the deep pockets of Activision, brought the much-awaited sequel to their new franchise, and oh man is there a lot to talk about with this one.

Full disclosure, I dedicated the better part of a year and a half of my life to playing the first installment in this franchise. As time went on, the game’s shortcomings became more and more prevalent, eventually leading to my leaving the game for good.

That is until the sequel, “Destiny 2,” was released.

Much like the first game, the marketing behind “Destiny 2” was fantastic, promising much-needed, fundamental changes to the core gameplay of the first “Destiny.”

First of all, “Destiny 2” most certainly is a better game than the first. Bungie took many of the criticisms of the previous game and made an attempt to remedy these problems, which is a good thing at surface level, but ultimately comes off as a reboot of the first game rather than a full-fledged sequel.

There is a lot more to do in the game, the campaign’s story has wonderfully animated and acted cut scenes along with a cohesive story, the leveling is more streamlined and feels easier, the new subclasses for each individual class of characters are a lot of fun to play and the reworks of old subclasses bring new flavor to some tired ideas.

Unfortunately, the more glaring fundamental issues with the first game are ever-present throughout the game’s campaign as well with the additional content once the story is completed.

Simply put, the game is way too easy, almost laughably so. The brain-dead enemy AI of the first game is absolutely unchanged, forcing Bungie to fabricate difficulty by simply throwing a stupid amount of these borderline useless enemies at players while additionally giving them bigger health bars and more lethal damage.

Not only are the enemies just as stupid, but the enemies themselves have changed very little from the previous game. There are five races of aliens to fight in “Destiny 2,” and not only do all of them feel mostly the same, but all five races were present and dealt with in the final version of the first game.

Taking this into consideration with the needless padding of missions, increasingly egregious micro-transactions and a visually stunning, yet horribly frustrating and monotonous end game raid, Bungie’s promises of change start to look more and more like tomfoolery. Sure, they did enhance the game in a lot of much-needed and appreciated ways, but the core of what “Destiny” is, runnin’ and jumpin’ and shootin’ alien scum, is still in dire need of an upgrade.

Due to these faults, the cries of “This is ‘Destiny’ 1.5!” begin to ring truer and truer, and this kind of laziness and apathetic behavior from triple-A developers delivering the biggest game of the year is incredibly frightening for the industry going forward.