At the Destiny 2 preview event I got to play one of the new Strikes that will appear in the game. It?s called the Inverted Spire and it takes place on a new planet called Nessus. The Vex have infiltrated this planet and are well on their way to converting it into one of their mechanical behemoths. If you?re unfamiliar with what a Strike is, basically it?s a longer mission that requires three Guardians to cooperate in order to beat back the enemies and defeat the big boss at the end. Oftentimes special loot can be acquired by taking part in these more elaborate affairs.
As with most Strikes you?ll progress through some story elements, fight waves of enemies, and end the whole ordeal with a bullet spongey boss. However, the Inverted Spire, despite having a familiar tinge to it, was really exciting and fun to play through. In addition to new and varied environments (the planet is being taken over by the Vex machines), the level design is top-notch and feels more Raid-like in its execution. There are some jumping puzzles, some cool new portal launchers that send your guardians flying across vast chasms, and some truly awe-inspiring environments to behold.
Probably the most striking area, and one of the most difficult, is a huge drilling site. There are massive blades that are cutting into the planet and these swing around the environment at different elevations. My team and I had to take special care to avoid them while fighting off the various enemies that were streaming out of every nook and cranny. Getting hit by one of the drills meant instant death, and our entire party wiped more than once by being too careless around them.
Although most of the Strike is spent fighting familiar foes, the Goblins with their glowy soft spots and the typical Hydras and Cabal, there was a smattering of new baddies as well. These included variants of Cabal with enhanced shields and vicious four-legged creatures that would often attack in a pack. All of the traditional enemies have received glorious graphical upgrades, so what was once old feels a little new again.
The boss was a multi-tiered battle with three distinct phases. Once we dealt enough damage he stomped the ground, shattering the platform we were standing on sending us falling hundreds of feet below to another floor. The enemies changed and different patterns emerged until we got the boss down to about 1/3 health and then he once again destroyed the ground below us and we fell to a third and final destination where we had to come up with new strategies to finally defeat him. It was a fun and exhilarating battle and a nice change of pace from many of the Strikes in the original Destiny.
Strikes are definitely easier when you?re playing as a team with your friends. At an event such as this, I played with complete strangers in an extremely loud environment. Although we all wore headsets, the microphones were switched off so we had no way of communicating with one another. This made several moments more frustrating and difficult than they needed to be, but we managed to carry on – well two of us did. One guy kept falling to his death over and over again and finally put the controller down in disgust and just left our play session. Luckily the folks running the event quickly grabbed a bystander and he joined up with us to help complete the mission. Even at a press event one can encounter dropouts!
The Inverted Spire was a fun experience and hopefully a good sign of other Strikes that will be in the final version of Destiny 2. It all feels somewhat familiar with the same basic formula, but it?s just as fun as ever and looks better than it ever has before. I?m curious to see how many Strikes will be included in the finished product! While I didn?t see anything revolutionary here, the same impeccable gameplay and enjoyable mechanics have me excited to play more of Destiny 2. Is it September yet?