Feature Article

Destiny 2 Review Diary - Day 7: The Rat King

Gearing up for the review (and the Raid).

Destiny 2 is out now on Xbox One and PS4. I've played enough to put up a review in progress, but I still have a lot more to play before I can give my final review. Here I'll be detailing my day-by-day activities and impressions as I gear up for the Raid next Wednesday. Check back for impressions on the story, Strikes, PvP, and more, and keep an eye on our Destiny 2 news and guides roundup for everything else.

Editor's note: We've updated this article with a new entry. For previous entries, please scroll down. -- Kallie Plagge, September 12, 2017 3:00 PM PT

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Day 7: The Rat King

I had to apologize to the four other people in my house this morning, because at midnight, I was straight-up yelling. After two hours of trying, we finally did it. We got Rat King.

These are mild post-game spoilers, sort of, but these are the basics: Rat King is an Exotic sidearm that gets more powerful the more people in your Fireteam are using it. To get it, you have to complete a series of quest steps that culminate in completing the week's timed Nightfall Strike with five minutes or more remaining. It's not particularly easy.

Ben, Jean-Luc, and I wanted to get Rat King before the weekly reset at 2 AM PT on Tuesday, since we'd successfully run the Nightfall already and figured we had a shot. We started at 9:30 PM and stopped counting our many attempts after three (because the third time's the charm). The thing is, sidearms are generally considered a weak and undesirable weapon type, and none of us intend to use Rat King regularly--but we really wanted the satisfaction of getting it. And at midnight, we did it, and it was the best.

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Those are the kinds of moments that are going to keep me coming back to Destiny 2. The story might be basic and uninteresting, and certain characters' "witty" dialogue might be a bit much at times, but I (and most people I know) don't play Destiny for a spectacular narrative. I'm happy to have a more fleshed-out world and actual context this time around, since it's just enough to prop up the things about Destiny 2 that work well.

This will be my last entry before the final review, since I'm now making the final preparations before heading into the belly of the beast tomorrow. Expect the full review later in the week, once I've made it through the Raid. (Also, wish me luck.)

Day 6: Nightfall

After a weekend of playing, jumping up 30 or so Power levels, I couldn't sleep last night. I'm fully in just-one-more-thing mode. Just one more challenge. Just one more round in the Crucible. Just one more hour and maybe I'll get the gear I never knew I needed. I'm at 269 Power as of Monday afternoon, and there's still so much to do.

On Sunday, I teamed up with GameSpot's Jean-Luc and Ben to run the Nightfall Strike. If you aren't familiar, it's a much harder version of an existing Strike mission with a time limit and other changes meant to throw a wrench in your Fireteam's plans. We went in pretty confident--we all easily cleared the recommended 240 Power for the Nightfall, and we had a good Hunter/Hunter/Titan comp--but we failed. Twice. Because we weren't reading the directions.

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We broke for dinner after two failed attempts only to realize we'd missed a key modifier that would have made the Strike a breeze. (I won't spoil it here if you haven't done it, but it involves a bit of reading and strong team communication as you go.) But the process of collectively understanding a strategy in a group, and the excited yelling that went with it, was the most fun I've had in Destiny 2 so far.

I definitely feel more accomplished, or maybe more rewarded, than I did in the first Destiny. Grinding and repetition still exist, but the benefits you get from grinding are more immediate; getting to the late-game stuff isn't the frustrating slog it used to be. I'm technically Raid-ready at 269 Power, and I've only been properly "grinding" the most lucrative activities (like Heroic Public Events) since Friday.

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But it doesn't feel like Baby Mode Destiny, either. There's one post-game quest that requires you to beat the Nightfall with five minutes remaining, which Jean-Luc, Ben and I were sure was impossible after running out of time twice in a row. (We'll probably try again tonight, before the weekly reset hits, now that we've run it THREE TIMES.)

My first impression of Destiny 2 was that it was just more Destiny, and that's technically true to a point. But in nearly every aspect of the game I've seen so far, something is different enough to dramatically change how accessible and engaging the "same" formula can be. There are certainly moments and missions that you have to just get through, like a couple Strikes with uninspired objectives, but they're not so obtrusive that they leave a bitter taste going into the endgame stuff.

Day 3: PvP? Yeah You Know Me

I didn't do a lot of PvP in Destiny 1. I had a few bad games one night and, frustrated, decided that the Crucible just wasn't for me.

I was terrified to enter the Crucible in Destiny 2.

After exactly one game, I realized that I was very, very wrong about PvP. I went in with my trusty Graviton Lance and new, crazy-cool Exotic gauntlets with a SKULL and SPINE running down one arm, but absolute garbage for the rest of my armor… and I actually did very well. I was surprised, mainly, because I switched to my Gunslinger subclass to take advantage of my gauntlets' passive abilities, and I've put no time or upgrade points into it whatsoever.

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Level advantages are disabled in the Crucible, which means you can hold your own even at level 1, with a low Power level, against higher-level players. I'll keep messing around in the Crucible to see just how balanced it is (and to get some sweet loot, obviously), but I'm having a ton of fun with it so far.

I'm signing off for the weekend as I dive completely into Destiny 2, but check back Monday for more updates. Clans just launched, so I'll be checking that out along with more Strikes and some general Raid prep. We also have tons of guides and the latest news, including how to get certain Exotics, in our Destiny 2 hub, plus a new weekly Let's Play, Destiny's Children.

Day 2: Ups And (Server) Downs

So, my progress was kind of derailed last night by server issues on PS4. I'd wanted to run some Strikes, but a bunch of us around the GameSpot office were locked out of the game. I spent about an hour intermittently trying to sign in before I gave up.

I thought a lot about what makes Destiny fun, or specifically, I guess, what makes it a game I want to keep playing. I like grinding in games, and I like a feel-good combat feedback loop. A certain kind of repetition is therapeutic for me. I stopped playing the original Destiny because the repetition wasn't balanced by anything else; I didn't really play with other people, and running the same Strike for the hundredth time by myself was a special kind of lonely.

Thankfully, I now have tons of people to play with (when the servers work). That's one of the missing pieces, found. But I think that Destiny 2's core changes--the greater variety in activities, the once-hidden lore now brought to the surface, the increased focus on character and personality--has made playing alone better, too.

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I finished the last story mission this morning. Overall, it's a pretty standard save-the-world story with some cheesy moments, but it capitalizes on Destiny's most interesting narrative trait: its lore. I won't spoil anything, but I was satisfied and maybe even a bit emotional about the ending. A little worldbuilding goes a long way.

I've reached max level, 20. I also found a stronger version of the Graviton Lance, my beloved pulse rifle, and am no longer indebted to the annoying NPC Asher. (Sure, there's a lot more "character" to the characters, but some are better than others. My favorite is the deranged AI, Failsafe.) Crossing my fingers that I'll actually get to some Strikes tonight.

Day 1: The Replay Day

My review in progress is based on my experience at a Bungie event a few weeks ago, where I'd played Destiny 2 on a dummy account. My first day with the game at launch--with my own account and character--has mostly just been replaying the story missions and side activities I've already completed. It's… actually kind of nice.

I played the original on Xbox One and switched to PS4 for Destiny 2. I wouldn't call myself a hardcore Destiny 1 player, but I did play through Year One and all the expansions and spent a decent amount of time grinding. Leaving behind my old character wasn't as hard as I'd anticipated, though. I like having the opportunity to start fresh with a game that's already more compelling than its predecessor, one that I can see myself committing to in a more substantial way, without having to worry about catching up to the people who have been playing regularly this entire time. And surprisingly, replaying the story isn't the slog I thought it would be.

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Part of that is due to using my own character and knowing that the loot and gear I get is mine to keep. But for the first time in my history with Destiny, I'm also properly invested in the story and characters. The dialogue can be a bit cheesy at times, but the characters are more three-dimensional and have more personality. There's also plenty of lore peppered in thanks to quips from your Ghost and items you can scan in the environment. Because the story missions (and in many cases, the side Adventure missions) give the proper background to contextualize your actions, it feels like you're doing something of substance, rather than running through missions as a means to an end.

I also tried the story and side missions with a Fireteam of myself and one other person, which worked seamlessly--neither of us lagged, and from what we could tell, we were watching the same cutscenes at the same time with no delays.

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The coolest thing that came of of co-op, though, was the discovery that dialogue does indeed change if you import a Destiny 1 character rather than making a new one. My friend had imported his character (we're both Hunters), and certain conversations were slightly different between the two of us. Where my Ghost gave me a basic introduction to the Taken, for example, his reminded him of the time they beat Oryx and questioned why the Taken would have returned.

At the end of Day 1, I'm at level 15 and have a pretty sweet exotic pulse rifle courtesy of mad scientist Asher. (It's called the Graviton Lance, and it's a nice first exotic.) I otherwise kind of hate Asher.

Though I've only replayed things I've already done, I'm still excited about Destiny 2. I can't wait to find my next exotic weapon, but I'm also looking forward to completing more Adventure missions and learning more about the world. My next step is to finish the story, reach level 20, and run some Strikes, so check back soon for more impressions.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

kallie

Kallie Plagge

Kallie Plagge is GameSpot's Reviews Editor. She loves Pokemon, anime, and Grunt Birthday Party.
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Avatar image for corsaro
Corsaro

as bad as I thought destiny 1 was I am genuinely surprised at how good D2 is, have yet to try the raid with so much crap to do now, I like that you can also collect exotic "skins" for weapons, not sure if exotic pieces of armor get alt skins though

Avatar image for gaminsincepong
Gaminsincepong

Dont need a review. Its great. Buy it.

If youre on the fence about it, its better than D1 in every way. There is a LOT of hate going around because its suprisingly good, and trolls want to see it fail. If you like shooters, its a good one.

Avatar image for Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

This whole diary format is kinda annoying. When is the review ever gonna go up.

Avatar image for Bread_or_Decide
Bread_or_Decide

The game publishers really found a way to dupe games journalism, reducing their effect on sales.

By the time you give a score it'll be too late. They sold to the easily fooled.

Avatar image for cyril_ryser
cyril_ryser

@Bread_or_Decide: one hundred percent agree!

those review embargoes are BS in its purest form.

GS do you realize you actually create value when you provide a review given by a qualified person, because some people value qualified opinion, because it helps them make an informed decision on whether to purchase a game or not.

A review more than a week after release is worthless. You guys don't get what people come here for and it's getting weird.

Avatar image for pnova
PNOVA

A sign that most of you haters is when you can't stand for a site to make articles about a big game that just released. Calm down, grow up. Maybe you shouldn't be playing video games anymore. Go do something else and stop crying on the internet, it's pathetic. It's not going to be the good old days when you used to play Halo when you was in grade school, 10 year old, and watched cartoons.

Avatar image for Mogan
Mogan

@pnova: I think the sign is that the Destiny articles have more comments that most all the other articles, but most of those comments are people *****ing about all the Destiny articles over and over.

Hate and crying keeps the lights on at Gamespot. : p

Avatar image for deactivated-5bd1e31726b43

Day 256..... Pew Pew Pew die you alien scum!!!! Same as Day 1

Avatar image for jpme226
jpme226

Even if Bungie didn't get early releases out to these folks, it seems really silly that it takes more than 6 days for a review of the game. Especially a game whose "open world" pales in comparison to something like a GTA or Fallout title where there are zillions of places to visit and at least half that many marginally interesting (at worst) things to do or otherwise check out. The original Destiny was an incredibly repetitive let-down in so many ways and as I read this review "diary" it seems to me that D2 is essentially more of the same, with a few enhanced bits to make the multi-player raiding bunch happy. Destiny had a ridiculously lame story, horrible UI, unbearable load times and after about 12 minutes of play, you had seen.it.all. One would have thought that if the new version was better than that at all, the reviewers would be blown away and have a review out, but if you have to play for 40 hours+ before getting a "sense" of the game??? Looks to me like this review "diary" is nothing more than an attempt to apply galactic amounts of lipstick on one more HALO clone pig.

Avatar image for gaminsincepong
Gaminsincepong

@jpme226: OR maybe they choose to do a more thorough review, like almost all the other sites, so they can form a complete opinion. And if ur chomping at the bit to play but undecided, go rent it. Easy peasy.

Avatar image for Mogan
Mogan

@jpme226: I don't know if they mentioned it anywhere before, but the reviewer is waiting to run the raid before finishing the review. The raid is out today, so sometime soon we ought to see a final verdict (not that we really need one at this point).

It'd probably have helped if Gamespot has real clearly laid out their plan to play the whole game, from character creation through the raid, before finishing the review, but people here are making way too big a deal out of this just so they can complain about something.

Avatar image for pnova
PNOVA

@jpme226: Halo 5 is trash.

Avatar image for deactivated-5bd1e31726b43

Good God you could mistake this for a Destiny fan site....

Avatar image for Mogan
Mogan

@Legend_of_Link: You know, if you look at the Recent tab, on the front page, it's just a few Destiny 2 articles and a bunch of other stuff. But if you flip over to the POPULAR tab, it's all Destiny 2 articles, except for 1 about PewDiePie, something about Apple's Keynote, and an article on the new iPhone.

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Creepywelps

@Mogan: There have been six Destiny related posts in the last 24 hours on the recent tab... Nice try tho.

Avatar image for zmanbarzel
ZmanBarzel

@creepywelps: Of the 16 articles I see on the Recent tab — most recent: "Destiny 2 raid launches today," 88 seconds ago; oldest: "iPhone X announced and release date," 7 hours 44 minutes ago — only four are related to "Destiny 2." If I click the "Show Me More" button, only nine of the 32 articles (dating back 19 hours, 44 minutes) are "Destiny 2"-related.

Avatar image for Mogan
Mogan

@creepywelps: There are four for me. 2 are newer than my post.

Avatar image for damn0
damn0

this thing is getting ridiculous, not only here on gs, also ign has a diary, polygon has one as well, even GI. the only review I read so far is on destructoid (a 7,5)

D2 doesn't have so many features to take a wopping 7 days? 10 days? review time. it's a straight shooter tied to a very simple game mechanic, still it deserve a dozen days to write a review?

there are already enough reasons to abandon this very piece of garbage

Avatar image for Mogan
Mogan

@damn0: She's waiting to run the raid for giving the final verdict.

But really, there's a whole review up there. I don't think anybody really needs a number to get the important information about Destiny 2 out of this diary.

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erik2005

10-14 days for a review?! What's going on? I'm pretty sure everybody bought the game by now... and it's a 7 out of 10.

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edviges

Am I the only one around here that is a little bit tired of Destiny 2?

Avatar image for Mogan
Mogan

@edviges: Of playing it? Maybe. Of hearing about it on Gamespot? No.

Avatar image for golfer_chin
golfer_chin

How long did it take them to review Wicher 3? 1-2 days.

Avatar image for Mogan
Mogan

@golfer_chin: They got that game days before it launched, and there was no raid to wait for.

Avatar image for golfer_chin
golfer_chin

The reason of these "review in progress".... The game is nothing special and will score a 7 or 8 out of 10. They can't say it now as a lot of game population rely on rating to make their purchase decision. Buy it now at $59, or buy it months later when prices are less than half.

So, you have this "review in progress", made beautifully, sort of, to help boost initial sales, some gamers "WILL" be tricked into buying now.

Then finally a bomb drops when giving a final score.

If you want to know how it rates, go to metacritic. Ignore user reviews tho as lots of assholes give 1 or 0 which brought the score way down.

Avatar image for commander
commander

I review a game in half a day, maybe a day. If you need 6 days to review a game you'll need to hire some better staff lol.

Avatar image for Mogan
Mogan

@commander: If you reviewed a game like Destiny in half a day, you didn't do a very good job.

Avatar image for golfer_chin
golfer_chin

@Mogan:

The reason of these "review in progress".... The game is nothing special and will score a 7 or 8 out of 10. They can't say it now as a lot of game population rely on rating to make their purchase decision. Buy it now at $59, or buy it months later when prices are less than half.

So, you have this "review in progress", made beautifully, sort of, to help boost initial sales, some gamers "WILL" be tricked into buying now.

Then finally a bomb drops when giving a final score.

If you want to know how it rates, go to metacritic. Ignore user reviews tho as lots of assholes give 1 or 0 which brought the score way down.

Avatar image for Mogan
Mogan

@golfer_chin: There are several other reviews already up, tons of quick looks and streams, a zillion players talking about this game online, and it's available to rent; more than enough information for anyone to make a smart purchasing decision. No one is getting "tricked" into buying Destiny 2 unless they want to be.

GameSpot's ultimate review score is largely meaningless, and you're only putting this inordinate importance on it to support your conspiracy theory that GameSpot and Activision are colluding to screw over gamers.

Avatar image for golfer_chin
golfer_chin

@Mogan: read my last paragraph.

Avatar image for commander
commander

@Mogan: don't be ridiculous, I've played destiny 1, I've played pretty much every big budget games since the eighties.

Sure older games took less time to review, but you basically had a pretty good idea after a couple of hours then.

Half a day would give me a pretty good idea about destiny 2. I've reviewed games already on this site (user review) with games I bought at release, people thanked me because there weren't any reviews up.

If you can't review destiny 2 in half a day or a day at most, you're not very good at reviewing games.

Avatar image for Mogan
Mogan

@commander: Half a day? Pfff. Whatever, old man. Give me half a day with Destiny 2 and I'll give you an accurate review of Destiny 3.

Avatar image for commander
commander

@Mogan: whoever said I was old, and it still doesn't change the fact that certain reviewers here are either stalling their reviews or are incompetent.

Avatar image for Mogan
Mogan

@commander: Somebody here is something, that's for sure.

Avatar image for commander
commander

yeah something a lot smarter than you apparently, or a lot older.

Avatar image for ecurl143
ecurl143

A day 6 review diary?

Can someone tell me wtf the world has come to these days?

Avatar image for golfer_chin
golfer_chin

@ecurl143:

The reason of these "review in progress".... The game is nothing special and will score a 7 or 8 out of 10. They can't say it now as a lot of game population rely on rating to make their purchase decision. Buy it now at $59, or buy it months later when prices are less than half.

So, you have this "review in progress", made beautifully, sort of, to help boost initial sales, some gamers "WILL" be tricked into buying now.

Then finally a bomb drops when giving a final score.

If you want to know how it rates, go to metacritic. Ignore user reviews tho as lots of assholes give 1 or 0 which brought the score way down.

Avatar image for pnova
PNOVA

@ecurl143: Moron, Destiny not call of duty. It's a shared world. A different kind of game. You can't review it in one day. This is not the 90s. If it was Overwatch you could review it after a couple of matches.

Avatar image for damn0
damn0

@pnova: wow. it's mechanic is 100% grinding if you want light. grind and repeat. it's one of the most basic gameplay loops, could've been reviewed after 8 hours of gameplay and still covered almost 100% of the activities

Avatar image for ecurl143
ecurl143

@pnova: wtf are you talking about?

Avatar image for Mogan
Mogan

@ecurl143: The world is now populated by a bunch of people who cry on the internet all the time about petty bull****. It's a sorry state of affairs, but that's where we are now. : \

Avatar image for juninhotorres
juninhotorres

I don't doubt Destiny 2 may be a great, perhaps even fantastic, game. but the number of ads, I mean, articles Gamespot has been publishing about it makes the upcoming review feel quite suspicious.

there are a lot of professional reviews out there, sure, and the 82 metacritic score suggests that the game is slightly superior to the first one, but the whole thing is getting rather silly.

Avatar image for Ohaidere
Ohaidere

I'm enjoying it so far with my brother. I enjoyed the last one as well. This generation has been sorely lacking in AAA coop games, so lucky for D2 I guess.

Avatar image for yoda101280
yoda101280

Okay seriously, 6 days and like 800 articles on this game and still there's no review up? I can't recall any game they've started reviewing before release (as they started in beta) and still don't have a finalized review. Considering the game is not that deep and not really all that different from the first in any major ways what exactly are they doing? The entire first page is filled with Destiny 'news'...

Avatar image for TrueLink
TrueLink

@yoda101280: Waiting for the raid and Trials -- the key endgame content.

Avatar image for yoda101280
yoda101280

@TrueLink: When is that

Avatar image for d3st1ny
D3st1ny

@yoda101280: In about another 400 articles....

Avatar image for TrueLink
TrueLink

@yoda101280: The raid is tomorrow; Trials is on Friday.