Guardian Down

The other week I did a 5k run that I thought I survived quite well, given it was a record distance for me. As it turns out… my body doesn’t agree.

I’m suffering from a knee injury that has left me limping for most of this week. It’s odd because I was able to walk just fine the day following the run, aside from the usual aching muscles. But on the commute home I had to stand very awkwardly due to a crowded train (that’s Southern Rail for you). That seems to have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

It’s been quite a while since I felt pain this bad, and it hurts most when putting pressure on it.

Still… being couch-ridden isn’t so bad. Not when you have a Playstation 4 and Destiny 2, which is probably the biggest game of the year so far (spoilers from this point on).

destiny2-gameplay

I’ve written before about how much the first Destiny has helped me mentally, particularly after the Brexit vote. It’s a game that asks you to be brave when you ought to feel weak. It gives me a sense of gleeful defiance to enter frightening situations and face them with courage. It’s a frame of mind I try to employ in real life. What would a Guardian do?

I realise that sounds cheesy, but I don’t care. I’m happy to be a geek… and to be one of the 1.2 million Guardians currently logging onto Destiny 2.

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While I feel like the first Destiny had a disappointing launch and had to fix it’s problems with a couple of expansions, Destiny 2 starts strong and gets stronger. The story is as engaging as it has ever been, particularly when it’s unfolding all around you as you play the game. Don’t get me wrong… I love cutscenes. But seeing characters acting around me is just as exciting, if not more so.

The story is far simpler this time around. Instead of getting weighed down with half-explained lore, the stakes are more grounded… a big bully comes to your home and wrecks everything, leaving you for dead. You and the other surviving Guardians must rise from the ashes and fight to reclaim everything you’ve lost.

It’s not an original idea by any means, but it’s effectively done. I found it to be incredibly powerful seeing the Tower under assault. This has been a social hub for players for the last three years… our safe place. It was tragic to see my favourite spot reduced to a burning pile of rubble. It was pulse racing to fight alongside NPCs that previously only stood around a table. And ultimately… failing to protect the place we liked and effectively having our character killed off?

Wow.

ikora

The first hour of D2 is unexpectedly moving. I’ve replayed it to the tune of I See Fire by Ed Sheeran, which has basically become my theme tune for the game. The remaining 8-ish hours of the campaign see you regrouping, meeting up with old comrades, establishing a new base of operations, and ultimately reclaiming your home in a thrilling climax.

Aside from that, there is a large amount of side quests and unlockable endgame content that I find really really satisfying. It’s odd to even call them sidequests because they seem to have the same amount of care and attention as the main campaign missions.

And that’s not even the best bit. Like D1, the greatest strength of D2 is how community-focused it is. The game constantly encourages you to play with other players. It incentivizes and rewards it. Being part of a clan lets you contribute to a greater pool of EXP to unlock bonuses and perks for all members. But even if you’re playing alone, it’s easy to stumble across other players in the world and temporarily team up to take down fearsome creatures. All of it reinforces one simple ideal…

We are strongest when we stand together.

players

There’s a lot more to say about Destiny 2, but I’ll leave that to the experienced game reviewers. I prefer to write about how I personally engage with it. It’s fun, moving and satisfying and I’m really having a blast with it 🙂

See you out there, Guardians.

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