Destiny 2 Strike Hands-On: Digging Into The Inverted Spire [Preview]
During the reveal of Destiny 2, Bungie gave us a hands-on look at a few of the sequel's game types, including story and competitive multiplayer. We also got to dive into one of Destiny 2's new Strikes, "The Inverted Spire." While Bungie didn't explain much about when this Strike would take place in the scheme of Destiny 2, it does take place on one of the new planets (Nessus). It also happened to be the most enjoyable element of Destiny 2 we got to play, and showcased just about everything that made Destiny such a blast to play.
With the Strike, we gave the Hunter a go, and teamed up with Titan and Warlock players that we'd only just met. Unfortunately, the Hunter build for the Strike wasn't the new Arcstrider, but the Gunslinger from the first game. Not that there's anything wrong with the Gunslinger subclass, but for an event that was all about showcasing what was new, not getting to try out the latest spear-wielding class was a bit of a letdown. That didn't stop us from doing our best to lead our Strike team to victory on this strange new world.
The Strike starts off innocuously enough, with our trio searching landscape for the Cabal and whatever it is they're trying to steal from the Vex. It's not unfamiliar narrative territory for the Destiny series, but the new plateaus and areas across Nessus — which is an actual planetoid in our solar system — make for some compelling visuals. One thing that's always struck us about Destiny's design is the willingness to use color palettes that aren't otherwise seen in day-to-day life here on Earth. Nessus, with its sea foam sky, rust vegetation and Vex architecture, is more than up to the task of keeping those vibrant alien worlds alive in Destiny 2.
Despite our teammates having some trouble with the light platforming across Nessus, we made our way through the first section of the map with relative ease. Our Guardians were sufficiently powered up to dole out plenty of damage, though again, it's unclear when in Destiny 2 the Strike itself will take place. These hands-on demos were carefully developed to give us a curated experience — which is why all weapons were identical across all modes, and there was no subclass swapping — thus ensuring optimal results even for less committed Destiny players. Even with that in mind however, the pacing of "The Inverted Spire" was very close to perfect, with a great balance of small and large shootouts, exploration, and a compelling boss fight.
Before getting to that final fight however, we had to make our way through a mining operation the Red Legion had established to uncover Nessus' secrets. The massive drill wasn't just a location, it was also a threat to our vitality. As the arms of the machine spun and dug, we had to carefully navigate the hole while fending off Cabal thugs. One hit from a spinning blade on the machine would render a Guardian useless, so we had to do well to manage threats on all fronts. At least we could put an end to the Red Legion's incessant shooting. The drill had no qualms about continuing about its business as if we were nothing but more earth to be swept from its path.
Once through that area and into what lurked below, we came face to face with the Vex protector of a vault. The Modular Mind was basically a gigantic Minotaur, but instead of being one prolonged conflict, the battle was split into three smaller engagements. The different iterations of the fight, each of which took place on an even lower level than the last, were based around the different weapon energy types in Destiny. While we had to keep moving out of the Modular Mind's path of destruction, we also had to pay keen attention to the color of its aura. That keyed us into whether or not we'd use Kinetic, Void, Arc or Solar weapons to take it down quicker.
Though having the Arcstrider may have been a helpful subclass to have handy for the ground troops, getting close enough to use it on the Modular Mind may have been asking a bit much. So as it turned out, having the Gunslinger pre-loaded wasn't that bad of an idea after all. All three of us Guardians proved up to the task with the tools Bungie had given us, and we managed to take down the Modular Mind with some solid teamwork and an endless barrage of bullets. Sure some of us spent a bit more time reviving other Guardians, but in the end it's the teamwork that won the day.
"The Inverted Spire" Strike showed off more of that same strong cooperative gameplay Bungie established in the first Destiny. The locations were new, and the pacing was strong, but if you didn't know this was a whole new game, you'd have been hard-pressed to know there was much different about Destiny 2 from this segment. Of course, that's not exactly a knock against Destiny 2. Strikes were the jam the first time around, and giving the Cabal the business on a new planetoid was as satisfying as ever. We're glad there's new Destiny-related content coming, and we're glad that it already feels like the best the first game had to offer; we just would have liked to have seen more of what's new in action.
Destiny 2 will be out on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on September 8. The PC version does not have an official release date yet.
This preview was completed at the Destiny 2 Gameplay Reveal event. Travel and accommodations were provided by the publisher.