To shoot or to loot? Why not do both?? But what makes a good shlooter good? And is Destiny 2 one of them?
Shlooting for a Living
Good day my backiest of loggers!! I think it’s time to get down to brass tacks and finally talk about the lavishly, lootish Destiny 2 instead of just dragging it out. You know, like The Witness! Zing!! But, considering I’m almost finished with it, maybe I’ll let it shine just one more time, give it a soft farewell and bid it adieu as it passes into the ethereal plane of the completed game pile.
I’m kidding! I’m kidding! I wouldn’t make all of you lovable backloggin’ peoples suffer through that any longer than you have to. I mean, I’ve suffered enough for all of us and I wouldn’t wish that upon even the slackeriest of backloggers. No, let’s actually do this D2 fans! Actually, that’s a different game. A game I’d really like to have in my collection one day… hmmm.
Distracting tangents aside, naturally, while playing Destiny 2, I’ve been thinking about it. Kinda hard to avoid while it’s right in front of your face for multiples of hours at a time, am I right? No, I’ve been thinking about not just shooting and looting (though that’s a part of it), but what it is about Destiny 2 that I like, what I dislike and why the heck it just makes me want to play Borderlands. Which by all accounts should be the lesser of the two considering all of the features and polish Bungie was able to apply to the formula since Borderlands’ release.
Then that leads me down the ponder path of what makes a loot shooter, henceforth known as “shlooters”, good. And more specifically, what was it about Borderlands’ loot system that Destiny 2 is missing, or what did it do differently that made it so appealing. I honestly think it was more than just it’s loot system that instantly hooked me in Borderlands, but let’s start there.
The Ole Shloot and Grind
First off, the most obvious statement we can make when describing a good shlooter, is that it has to have good loot. That means, a large variety of randomly generated armor, weapons and accessories with a diverse set of stats, perks and rarities for you to hunt down and find. And the rarer the item, the better. There’s also the added bonus of finding those uniquely named items that have fun and powerful abilities that you can’t find anywhere else. Those are my favorite.
Ok, Destiny 2 definitely has that. And in spades. But so did Borderlands. What I’m finding with Destiny 2 however, is that although you’ll find a treasure trove worth of weapons and armor they all just feel kinda samey. Except for their rarity and colors. They will have some built in perks as well, but because they’re hidden behind yet another menu screen, it’s tough to compare them at face value. At this point I just equip it because it makes my numbers go up. Very rarely do I get excited to find and equip an item. I’m sure this will change once we reach the end game and start finding the rarer and more unique “exotic” loot, but at this point I just don’t have the motivation to grind it out.
Borderlands on the other hand was very upfront with all of its gear. It said exactly what it did right on the item so you knew what you were equipping and could weigh the benefits of higher damage/defense versus its perks. It was all riveting and tickled my gear hoarding tootsies. Even the low level and more common loot. Sure you’ll still find a standard submachine gun that has little or no perks, but that was probably more rare then the crazy stuff! I mean, how many games let you fire a gun that shoots other guns that explode??? So, I guess the point is that the loot in a shlooter has to be explicit with what it does and how it’ll improve your current loadout. It also needs to be easily comparable to what you already have. Otherwise, how would you know if its worth keeping? And finally, the “stuff” that the loot does, needs to be more exciting than just “change the numbers”. We’re playing a shlooter for Torgue sake! Not filing an expense report!
Oh and one more thing, how many dang hand cannons exist in this forsaken universe!! Did the Traveler stockpile them all during his travels across the universe and dump the lot of them on Earth? Give me something different, that’s all I ask!
The Ability to Shloot
The other half of the shlooter formula is it’s actual shooting! And it’s more than just shooting, it’s all the gameplay mechanics built around the shooting. Which includes its character classes, their unique abilities/magic/skills, and the things you’ll be doing with them to make the looting part more bearable. I mean, you gotta do something for those three hours of grinding!
Destiny 2 does all of this! In fact, it’s shooting feels fantastic! I would even say it’s leagues above how the shooting felt in Borderlands. But when it comes to your character classes and the abilities you acquire through them, it all just feels a bit stunted. When I pick a character class, I want to feel like an individual and I want to stand apart from my other team mates with a diverse and unique set of skills that can help us tackle all situations. It doesn’t feel that way in Destiny 2 though, instead it just feels like all the classes are the same, with their abilities doing the same types of things. They just happen to look different. And when it comes to these abilities, nothing really excites me about them either. They have their occasional uses, but you’re almost forced to force yourself to use them.
Borderlands, knocks the diverse class thing out of the park though. Each character is absolutely unique with a wide selection of exciting abilities. You really do feel like a powerhouse in that game and you’re given pretty much everything you’ll need to take on any situation the devs throw at you. It just has personality! So much so that you’d be inspired to replay the game just so you can see what the other characters have to offer. Honestly, I couldn’t see myself doing that with Destiny 2.
To sum it up, just saying you have character classes and throwing a handful of abilities to achieve while leveling up isn’t enough. Those classes need to have diversity and work both as a one man army and as a team. Oh and it doesn’t hurt to be super flashy and over the top. You need to give us some reason to reach max level after all!
Shloot, I Should Have Thought of That
What it all boils down to, is that, the reason Destiny 2 always makes me want to play Borderlands, is because I miss its charm. On the surface Destiny 2 has all the right components to make a great shlooter. And truthfully, it is a great shlooter. But it also feels very by the book and its pizazz is scarce. What it actually does, is try to cover all of that up with a fancy “space opera” story that I could care less about. Honestly, I could have cared less about Borderlands’ story as well. But that isn’t enough. What I’m here for is the loot, the cool characters and flashy abilities. I’m here for the personality and I think that’s what Destiny 2 really is lacking.
I still have a lot left to do in it though, so we’ll have to see if it can wow me further. I have hope for it, because despite what it’s lacking, I really am having a blast playing it. The itch to find that scrumptiously powerful gear is still there, I’m just hoping it doesn’t disappoint in the end!
There Are 86 Metals on the Periodic Table
Well my friends, that’s going to do it for today! It may seem like I’m a bit down on Destiny 2, but that’s not the case at all! It may be missing some of the things that I loved about Borderlands, but in no way is it a bad game. I assure you, I’ll be sinking many, many, more hours into it in the coming weeks. And I’m sure I’ll have more things to say about it as well.
Until Monday backloggers, have a great weekend!!
The Witness (Xbox One)
Moero Chronicle Hype (Switch)
Destiny 2 (Xbox One)
Total Backlogged Games: 729 …The level on a scale from 1 to 10 how much I under judged the length of The Witness!!
Total Completed Games: 21 …How my IQ feels after finishing some of these puzzles
Want to contribute to the website or the podcast? You can send your written or audio submissions to the below emails!
Written: [email protected]
Audio: [email protected]
Want to know what other shenanigans I’ve been up to? Then follow me on Twitter @BacklogOdyssey
And you can keep tabs on my backlog by checking out the Backlog Odyssey Backloggery game list!