Destiny 2 (Video Game Campaign Review) – A Giant Leap Forward

Destiny 2 is a first-person shooter developed by Bungie and published by Activision. It was released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and it will shortly be released on Microsoft Windows too. This video game is the sequel to 2014’s Destiny and the various expansions which followed. The story of Destiny 2 focuses on an attack on the Last City, humanity’s safe-haven protected by Guardians. The attack is made by the alien race known as the Cabal who are led by their emperor, Dominus Ghaul. Ghaul infiltrates the Last City and strips all Guardians of their Light. As the player, you must set out on a journey to regain your Light, find a way to defeat Ghaul and take back the Last City.

My Knowledge and Expectation of Destiny 2

I have been playing Destiny since Day One and I was hugely impressed by how that game got progressively better over time. Bungie took the criticism from the fans and, with each expansion, improved different aspects of the game. With that in mind, I could not wait for the next instalment in this franchise. In fact, this has probably been my most anticipated video game in 2017. I had a lot of faith in Destiny 2 to continue the upward streak from Destiny and its subsequent expansions, especially from a story perspective.

Dominus Ghaul and the Red Legion in Destiny 2

My Thoughts on Destiny 2

Compared to the campaign that launched with Destiny, Destiny 2 is a significant improvement. The campaign in Destiny 2 is much more cinematic and has a larger focus on coherent narrative. I really liked this campaign. Obviously, the gameplay cannot be massively improved from Destiny because it is pretty much perfect for a first-person shooter. The gameplay is as stellar as ever in Destiny 2 and I loved how vehicles were a part of the gameplay experience for this launch campaign. Indeed, it reminded me of the glory days of Halo (which is basically everything before the train wreck that was Halo 5. God that campaign was awful).

I also thought that much more effort was put into the cut-scenes for this campaign and it really paid off. Apart from looking beautiful, they also added to the story that was being told in Destiny 2 both from a dramatic and comedic perspective. You feel the dramatic weight of the hopelessness facing the Guardians in some cut-scenes and you can also appreciate the more humorous moments when they occur, especially when Cayde-6 (Nathan Fillion) is involved.

Cayde-6 holding a chicken in Destiny 2

Cayde-6 = Legend

Certainly, Cayde-6 became one of my favourite characters in Destiny. He was brilliant comedic relief in that video game and he continued to entertain me in Destiny 2 whether he was stroking a chicken, interacting with Failsafe or poking fun at Zavala (Lance Reddick). Nathan Fillion does a great job in voicing Cayde-6 and I am looking forward to seeing more of this charismatic character in the future.

Still, the element of the campaign in Destiny 2 that I loved above all else was the score. The music in this campaign was fantastic and it really elevated the emotional impact of the story, especially after The Last City is lost and the Guardians lose their Light. The music that plays during that part in the story is outstanding and the score was consistently great throughout the campaign.

Gameplay in Destiny 2

The Flaws of Destiny 2

As you can see, there are a lot of positives when it comes to the campaign in Destiny 2. It is a huge leap forward in terms of storytelling but, obviously, there are things which I think could have been better. For one, the loading times in between the cut-scenes were a bit too long which did have a detrimental impact on the flow of the story. I also thought that the boss battle at the end of this campaign was a bit underwhelming.

However, my biggest complaint with the campaign was the fact that a symbol appeared every time before we had a cut-scene that focused on the Cabal. I should say that I really liked how we had cut-scenes which focused on the antagonists as it fleshed out characters such as Ghaul. Yet, the symbol that appeared before these cut-scenes removed the mystery. We never see this happen in films or TV shows and it weakened a campaign that was aiming to be more cinematic. Still, in general, it does succeed at being cinematic. The campaign in Destiny 2 is a much better launch campaign than Destiny and it gives me a lot of faith in Bungie to deliver even more in the future expansions and instalments of this franchise.

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (Video Game Campaign Review) – A Story Lacking Soul

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare is a first-person shooter developed by Infinity Ward and released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It is the thirteenth primary instalment in the Call of Duty franchise with the campaign centred on a battle for the Solar System which the Settlement Defense Front (SDF), the main antagonists, are attempting to take over. The primary villain of the video game is Admiral Salen Kotch who is played by Kit Harington (Jon Snow from Game of Thrones). But, we, the gamer, play as Captain Nick Reyes of the Special Combat Air Recon (SCAR), part of the United Nations Space Alliance, who attempts to stop the SDF in its attempts to rule the Solar System.

My Knowledge and Expectation of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

Call of Duty is a franchise which has had its ups and downs. For me personally, the last Call of Duty game which I really liked was Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. Since then, I have been hugely disappointed with recent offerings from the series. I did not like Call of Duty: Black Ops II and I thought it was a huge step down from Call of Duty: Black Ops which is my favourite game in the Call of Duty franchise. I also detested Call of Duty: Ghosts, so much so that I could not muster myself to play Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare or Call of Duty: Black Ops III.

Space Battle in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

Understandably, you may be confused as to why I chose to play the campaign in Infinite Warfare. The main reason why I was eager to play this campaign is the fact that people within the video game industry, whose opinions I respect, really liked it. Truly, the only way I would ever play another Call of Duty campaign after Ghosts was if it got really great reviews. For the most part, it did and I was also curious to see Kit Harington as the lead villain. Going into this game, I was quite excited.

My Thoughts on Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

However, on the whole, I was disappointed by the campaign. Don’t get me wrong, it is an improvement over Black Ops II and Ghosts but it doesn’t reach the quality of Call of Duty: World at War, Black Ops or the Modern Warfare Trilogy. One of the aspects of the campaign that I liked was the gameplay which was very fluid. Still, that has been the case in every Call of Duty game I’ve played so it wasn’t groundbreaking. I also enjoyed the variety of weapons in the game and I liked the character of Ethan, the robot. He provided some dry humour in the game which was needed in such a serious campaign.

Ground Assault in Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare

Nevertheless, while I liked Ethan, he was the only character I liked. I really struggled to connect with any of the other characters which meant that when the majority of the ‘emotional’ parts of the campaign happened, they fell flat for me. Indeed, the whole story was a bit soulless. I didn’t care about the plot or the stakes although I did the like the touch of voice recordings/death letters in the end credits. It humanised the characters but it was too late by that time. They could have done a much better job within the campaign to achieve this.

Moreover, the addition of side missions didn’t work for me. I would have preferred if the campaign was linear rather than being one where you can pick and choose what missions to do. Kit Harington was a waste in this game too. You could put anyone in the role of Salen Kotch and it would not have made a difference. All of this combined meant that Infinite Warfare fell flat for me. While I preferred it to previous entries such as Black Ops II and Ghosts, the problems I have with it leave me in a state of mind where I am not excited for future entries in the Call of Duty franchise.

Gears of War 4 (Video Game Campaign Review) – ‘The Force Awakens’ of the Franchise

Gears of War 4 is a third-person shooter video game for Microsoft Windows and Xbox One. It is the fourth main instalment in the series and the first not to be developed by Epic Games. Instead, The Coalition have taken over development of the Gears of War franchise with this particular campaign taking place 25 years after the events of Gears of War 3 which heralded the destruction of the Locust and the Lambent. The protagonist of this game is J. D. Fenix, son of Marcus Fenix, who has to deal with a new threat to humanity known as The Swarm with the help of his friends Del and Kait.

The Swarm in Gears of War 4

My Views on the Gears of War Franchise

For me personally, Gears of War 1, 2 and 3 (the ‘original trilogy’) are video games with fantastic campaigns (Gears of War: Judgement…’re decent but not as good as the games in the main saga). Within these games, the continuous story-line was engaging, the characters were really likeable, the weapons were varied and the gameplay was very unique to other shooters. All of this made Gears of War standout as one of the elite shooters in the video games industry. Moreover, the games in the main saga (sorry Judgement!) got progressively better both with storytelling, graphics and gameplay.

My Expectation and Thoughts on Gears of War 4

Because of this, I was really looking forward to the release of Gears of War 4 to see if the campaign could successfully build upon the standard set by the ‘Original Trilogy’. I have to say, what Gears of War 4 does is strikingly similar to what Star Wars: The Force Awakens did for the Star Wars franchise. In essence, Gears of War 4 is a passing of the torch to a new generation of heroes. It draws inspiration from the first game in the franchise while still being able to add new elements to make it stand on its own two feet.

Sound familiar to what a certain film did in December 2015?

J. D. Fenix, the son of Marcus Fenix, in Gears of War 4

Subsequently, while I find the campaign in Gears of War 4 to not reach the same level of quality of the ‘Original Trilogy’ (just like The Force Awakens), it is still a really good campaign and a worthy addition to the franchise which sets up exciting new narratives (just like The Force Awakens). Certainly, there are a lot of positive elements within this campaign. The graphics are the best in a Gears of War game so far and the gameplay is just as good and varied as it has been in every Gears of War game.

The Weapons and The Characters

Additionally, the new weapons in the campaign add a lot of variety, especially the Buzzkill which fires ricocheting saw-blades (which is….you know…awesome!) Still, the best part of this campaign was, for me personally, the new characters. I really like the dynamic between the new characters, particularly between J. D. and Del. Their dialogue provided some good comedic relief in times of peril.

J. D., Del and Kait in Gears of War 4

The game also finds a nice balance of mixing new characters and old characters together (just like The Force Awakens!) which enhances the story and the emotional pull for fans of the franchise like me. This is particularly evident in the prologue but it is a common theme throughout the campaign. It really pulls on your heartstrings and the way the campaign ends sets it up nicely for new stories even though the end was, in my opinion, quite abrupt.

However, that is a small nit-pick in what is otherwise a great first effort by The Coalition. Overall, the campaign in Gears of War 4 accomplishes the same feats that The Force Awakens did for the Star Wars franchise. It pays respect to what has come before while, at the same time, it stands on its own two feet by introducing new elements within its story and setting up exciting new adventures to tell in future instalments. If you are a fan of Gears of War, then you must play this campaign.