The original Destiny made for plenty of good times with friends, but there was plenty about it that needed fixing. Happily, this adventure solves a lot of its predecessor's problems. Destiny 2 tells a much less convoluted and more entertaining story that's easy for players to understand. More than that, the missions -- both primary missions and side quests -- are better integrated within the world. There's much less repetition, and missions are now accessible from within the worlds in which they take place, which means fewer loading screens and a better sense of immersion and context. Plus, players can now access an in-game map and even fast-travel to specific locations on each world to save time. And the worlds available at launch -- Earth, the moons Io and Titan, and a distant planetoid named Nessus -- are gorgeous, exotic, and detailed, a pleasure to explore not just once but each succeeding time, as well.
Multiplayer has also evolved. Public events on each world are now easier to find and participate in and provide tiered goals. Competitive play in the Crucible offers a pair of fun new modes called Countdown (an objective-based match) and Survival (teams share a pool of lives). Strikes offer the same everyone-can-play fun as in the original game, and while raids are still limited to teams of friends rather than strangers (perhaps the biggest disappointment in the sequel), Bungie has at least made it a bit easier for solo players to find and join a group of pals in need of an extra player. What will likely keep people coming back, though, is the perpetual promise of bigger and better loot, leading to higher levels of Power. This part of the game is evolutionary and will likely change with the release of expansions. That said, the growth systems at launch -- you can modify weapons and armor, grow your abilities in the class of your choice, and raise your primary level to 20 and Power level to 300 -- should prove plenty compelling to keep people playing for quite a while. It's not flawless, but Destiny 2 is an undeniable step up from its predecessor.