Thursday 31 October 2019

Heat Induces Royalty

Big changes in the world of Destiny 2 – a move to Steam, new Shadowkeep expansion, and a free-to-play New Light option all arriving at the same time. Other than a bit of a wobble on launch day it all seems to have gone very smoothly, and a terrible cynic might even wonder about the connection issues. As news stories go, “oh no we’re having a few issues due to SO MANY BILLIONS OF PEOPLE trying to play our game” is a bit like saying “being too much of a perfectionist” is your biggest weakness in an interview.

After a pleasant diversion in Prey I’m fully back on the gear treadmill of Destiny. I haven’t actually finished Prey, I must get back to it, but it had slightly reached the tipping point where exciting new twists and revelations were less “ooh, how very intriguing!” and more “oh, another McGuffin to collect…” It’s a strong story and I’d like to see how it finishes, but the underlying gameplay isn’t quite as compelling as Making Numbers Go Up in Destiny. Shadowkeep isn’t terribly radical in what it adds – a new zone (the moon), a few new activities (not straying too far from the tried and tested “shoot a load of minions then shoot a big boss” formula) – but it’s enough to hook me back in. There’s a bit of story, sort of, that seemed to boil down to (spoiler warning!) “there’s a pyramid on the moon and it’s a bit spooky”. I ran around, collected some duff looking armour, and… maybe went into the pyramid? Not entirely sure. That seemed about it, though there’s probably more in raids, dungeons, events or something, either already there or to come. Apparently the moon featured in Destiny and events call back to that, but Destiny 2 has never been very good at filling in background for us PC types who never played the original so the main thing I think of when travelling to the moon is Weebl’s On the Moon series. The spooky atmosphere of ghostly apparitions is slightly undercut by cries of “I am Insanity Prawn Boy! I am on the moon!” while searching for the Toast King.

It’s not terribly important as it’s not exactly a story-heavy game, suffering the standard massively-online-tension of marrying a world-changing narrative with hundreds of players running the same content week after week. The game even lampshades things now and again, when public events are introduced by commentary along the lines of “The Fallen are trying to bring in weapons again, you would’ve thought they’d learn by now”. Bits of stories crop up in various places, overtly in cut-scenes, less obviously in bits of lore, conversations, side-missions, obscure corners of maps and such. Some of it seems quite interesting, but lacking that context from the original game I’m not hugely invested. Fortunately there’s very little like the Guild Wars 2 quests that force you to stand around while NPCs monologue, it’s all quite skippable if you just want to get on with the DAKKA! Now I just need to find that Nazi moon base…

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