game masters

Gaming: 'Destiny 2' first impressions

Bungie delivers on the hype. Plus: The best soundtrack in gaming?

19:15 September 6, 2017
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1/4

I’ve spent a few hours with Destiny 2 now, and I can’t wait to get back to it. But I have managed to drag myself away from the game for long enough to pen some thoughts on my first impressions of one of the biggest launches of the year.

Yes, I’m impressed

If Bungie’s goal with the introductory missions was to create a sense of awe and excitement, well, they’ve certainly accomplished that. Having played the initial Homecoming mission during the beta, I thought that I’d be a bit bored having to go through it again, and be itching to just get past it. But as soon as I was engaged in my first firefight with some Cabal Legionaries, the sheer fun of the gunplay took over, and all thoughts of trying to rush things were quickly banished.

For many years, thanks to their seminal Halo titles, no other console games could quite touch Bungie when it came to how good the shooting action feels.

It’s the result of a combination of incredibly crisp controls, superb aural and vibration feedback with every shot and hit, and great weapon design.

Running around and shooting enemies just never gets old in a Bungie game done well, and Destiny 2 once again makes the developer untouchable in this realm.

After the fall

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Beta players like me have of course spent many weeks wondering what will happen after the cliffhanger that ends Homecoming. I’m keeping this spoiler free, but suffice it to say that what came next was one of the highlights of my gaming year thus far. The first entry in the franchise was faulted for initially not doing enough to draw players into a brand new universe, and it’s criticism Bungie obviously took to heart.

The setup for what will come next is done brilliantly, meaning that there’s more urging you to keep playing just one more mission than the gameplay or the hunt for loot. Both of which, let’s be honest, are good enough on their own to do that. But the more reasons to play, the merrier, I always say...

That soundtrack…

I want to take some time to give special mention to the soundtrack. Destiny 2 has already managed to unseat some very, very strong competition to take top spot in my list of best music in a game, period.

You of course expect a big AAA title to have good or at least serviceable music, all the more so when the developer in question is Bungie. But with Halo maestro Marty O’Donnell no longer with the company, it wasn’t all that obvious that we should have been expecting something quite this amazing.

I mentioned above that the post-Homecoming sequence had quite an impact on me, and the score plays a big part in that.

Bungie obviously knew that they had something special here, and have just released the full soundtrack on YouTube, along with a teaser trailer.

The full soundtrack is also available for purchase, and it comes in a variety of formats, including lossless audio (it comes with an exclusive in-game emblem too).

Composers Michael Salvatori, Skye Lewin, C Paul Johnson, Rotem Moav and Pieter Schlosser really have set a new standard for scoring a game, and their compositions are beautifully brought to life by some truly talented musicians and singers (including the magnificent Kronos Quartet). The recordings, done at Ocean Way Nashville, Bastyr University Chapel, and Skywalker Sound, are of an incredible quality. Just take a look at some of the footage in the soundtrack trailer and you’ll see that Bungie took this game’s music very seriously, something that everyone who plays it will be grateful for.

I know some gamers prefer to play with the sound off or with something else running in the background, but this is time you really want to either turn up the volume on your sound system or invest in a good set of headphones.

Back to the farm

That’s all for now. Keep checking out Game Masters for more impressions and a full review in due time.