Hands-On: Destiny 2 – European Dead Zone

Hands-On: Destiny 2 - European Dead Zone

* PS Nation was invited to an event in Seattle, Washington by Activision and Bungie for a hands-on preview of Destiny 2. Travel, food, and lodging were paid for by the studios.


This hands-on will only cover the European Dead Zone (EDZ) and will contain no other story impressions or details.

The EDZ is the largest destination that Bungie has created in the Destiny franchise. One of the biggest knocks on the original Destiny (D1) was how vast, yet lifeless, the world was.

Over time, through expansion, this got slightly better but you could tell there was still something missing. That is no longer a problem. You can tell the second you drop into the EDZ for the first time that you’re not playing D1 anymore.

The first thing you’ll notice upon spawning in is a really cool looking church that’s either surrounded by a public event or a familiar foe: The Fallen. Also, you’ll have members of your fireteam with you as well as other players in the world fighting alongside of you.

I don’t know the exact number of players that can be on your instance with you but it has to be over twenty at least. Your Ghost directs you into the church and you need to climb up to the highest point. This climb isn’t difficult and you’ll be making it a lot since you have a new friend to interact with in the tower of the church, Devrim Kay.

Devrim isn’t a Guardian but he’s a close friend of Hawthorne, who we’ve heard about in the trailers. He’ll will serve as something similar to the vendors that used to reside in the now Cabal-controlled tower.

Devrim explains where you are and what’s going on, but I’ll leave that to you to find out. He also serves as your guide to the EDZ. A new milestone will then show up on the bottom of your screen directing you to complete a new task.

This new world is alive in more ways than D1 ever was. Your map director can be pulled up simply by holding the touch pad down. You will now see all the stuff you can do in the EDZ and man oh man, it is a lot. Regional Chests, Lost Sectors, High Value Targets, Public events – ongoing or ones that can be summoned, adventures, and story missions are all visible on the map.

As you progress through the EDZ you will unlock multiple landing zones you can choose to spawn into from orbit, from The Farm, or fast travel to while on the current planet – no more going to orbit to respawn somewhere. You can set a waypoint and travel to your next destination that way also.

Everything is alive and open. Adventures can be kicked off whenever you want. Just walk up to the point and activate it. Public events are going on in every region of the EDZ but the coolest things are the Lost Sectors.

You will be making your way on an adventure, or maybe heading to a public event, or maybe just messing with your new weapon you just got. On your way you see this dot on the wall with two arches above it. This is a signal for a Lost Sector.

Something very close is awaiting your discovery. Some are very easy to find, others take some work. I would compare this roughly to finding a random cave on the Cosmodrome in D1, but instead of some dumb chest with some upgrade materials, you get a vast area to explore and figure out.

There isn’t any real puzzle to the Lost Sectors but there are some pissed off enemies that you’ll find that are going to protect their loot chest. None of these proved too difficult yet they felt rewarding as I progressed in the game.

One of my coolest experiences was a co-op experience with the guy sitting next to me. We were working on a adventure that wanted us to go all the way to the other side of the map.

As we headed over to our next destination we completed multiple public events, beat up a few high value targets, found numerous chests randomly scattered throughout the world and even completed a few Lost Sectors. All of this was during our current adventure. But the best part was that ALL of it dropped loot.

Let’s talk about adventures a little more. I would compare these to the patrols from D1. However, they’re much longer and more challenging along with being fully narrated.

You could be making your way through a new adventure while Devrim is telling you a story about what happened to the area you’re in and then Hawthorne might chime in to make fun of Devrim saying something like “stop making it sound like you were the only one doing all the work”.

This is much different than what we got used to in D1, which pretty much consisted of “kill this or that and put your Ghost over here and protect this for three minutes”.

Public events have gotten a big overhaul as well in the EDZ. On your destination map you can see ongoing public events, events that are just about to start, or ones that will start in a few minutes, as well as events that can be activated by grabbing a flag to begin them.

You can trigger a heroic public event by solving a quick puzzle during the regular event. I’ll leave that to you and your fireteams to figure out. Along with public events come flashpoints.

Flashpoints are a milestone given to you weekly as you progress through the campaign. These are targeted towards the solo players as they aren’t extremely challenging but require random help from other players in the world. You have the potential to get high end gear from this activity.

I was very impressed by the openness of the EDZ. It took me a little while to realize I was doing public events with fifteen other people, or running a story mission where randoms can help if they are around. It truly feels like a real open world game now.

You can do whatever you would like whenever you want to. You can fast travel and get to that public event quicker to help you and your friend get loot. I’m concerned with the replayability and the idea that Lost Sectors and public events may become repetitive and boring. However, all of that can be wiped away if the rewards are worth the investment.

Published by Activision and developed by Bungie, Vicarious Visions, and High Moon Studios, Destiny 2 will be released on September 6, 2017 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

* All screens used in this preview were provided by the publisher.

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