An Extra Life

I finished the Destiny 2: Lightfall campaign today, having more or less taken my time. It was a bit of a narrative mess, and the gameplay itself wavered between incredibly fun and annoyingly frustrating (though weighed much more on the fun side). All the same, I enjoyed it, maybe because it’s more or less what I expect from more Destiny, maybe because I find that expectation to be inherently fun (most of the time).

The other thing that I really enjoy about Destiny is that it’s one of the main ways I socialize with my brother. See, we live on opposite sides of the US and timezones and full-time jobs make finding time to do things together difficult. But we both play Destiny (and both have been for almost, cripes, nine years now) and, hey, why not talk crap while fighting evil alien space gods?

Destiny is one of several games we’ve played together online (see also: Borderlands), and it’s also one of the best ones for that socialization space. I chalk it up to the emotes, animations you can make your character do at any point which, more often than not, gets another player near you to respond in kind. ‘cuz if you see someone dancing you’re gonna dance back at them. There’s something there about human nature that’s beyond me, but it does help you connect with your teammates who are, often, otherwise complete strangers who you can’t hear even as you team up to fight bad guys.

That social aspect of Destiny is amplified when it’s someone you know. Most everything in the game can be done with two people, up to and including the new campaign. Meaning we can run commentary on what happens, talk about Pacific Rim, and, on occasion, actually help with the fights (like warning each other when they’re standing in the final boss’s instant-death-zone). This is, of course, something my brother and I can’t do in real life, owing in no small part to the lack of evil space aliens and magical paracausal superpowers.

And there’s where the fun of shared spaces like Destiny really lies. I’ve always enjoyed the extra life games give you, from getting to be Mega Man or a Pokémon Trainer as a kid to getting to be Nathan Drake and Aloy as an adult. Getting to engage in that fantasy with someone else has always been icing on the cake; playing through Halo with my brother is always a good time. Destiny, with its RPG influences, lets you cultivate a character and playstyle that feels uniquely you, so playing the game with someone else genuinely feels like getting to inhabit two specific avatars. And then those avatars get to go and save the whole damn galaxy.

In that moment, we’re just two kids in the playground again. And honestly, that’s more than enough for me.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s