Destiny 2 Destiny 2: First impressions of the open-world European Dead Zone region

Destiny 2 is almost upon us, filled with new areas for the heroic Guardians to explore and tons of interesting activities.

One of those areas is the European Dead Zone, a vast wasteland in which the humans, Fallen, and Cabal battle for control. We spent a few hours in the EDZ to bring you this detailed preview!

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The ruined city of Trostland

Destiny 2 Destiny 2: First impressions of the open-world European Dead Zone region

Destiny 2's story begins with the Guardians losing their home, the City, to an invasion by the Red Legion, a ruthless army of Cabal aliens led by Dominus Ghaul. With the City lost to the Red Legion, the Guardians will be forced to explore new locations as they regroup and rebuild.

The European Dead Zone is the primary playable location on Earth, a vast wasteland of ruins located near a fallen Shard of the Traveler (the mysterious moon-sized celestial object that gave the Guardians their powers). The main point of access in the EDZ is Trostland, a classic European town fallen into decay. You'll find a landing zone at the southern tip of Trostland, allowing easy access to the area from orbit.

Destiny 2 Destiny 2: First impressions of the open-world European Dead Zone region

Trostland is built around one central feature: a once-beautiful church that has long fallen into ruin and overgrown vegetation. A futuristic communications relay adorns the top of the church's tower, despite a number of tiles having fallen from the roof of the steeple. Although the building is largely intact, some of the walls have holes resulting from collapse or explosion. None of the walls are fully closed off, so patrolling enemies will occasionally take potshots at players as they idle or explore the church.

Inside the church, we discover strange symbols on the wall. After scanning them, our Ghost reveals that some belong to the Fallen. Their actual meaning is unclear initially, but we'll discover more symbols to scan in the surroundings outside as well. A staircase leads down into the labyrinthine basement, which in turn connects to subterranean tunnels.

Devrim Kay, Faction vendor

Destiny 2 Destiny 2: First impressions of the open-world European Dead Zone region

Back inside the church proper, several large cables lie along the floor, extending outside the building. These cables lead all the way up to the interior tower of the building. Holed up at the top of the tower is an important non-player character named Devrim Kay. In addition to maintaining the area's communications relay for the Guardians and surviving humans, he watches over the surrounding area and snipes at enemies from the tower window.

Officially a Dead Zone Scout, Devrim is the faction vendor of the EDZ map. He speaks with a British accent, has a sardonic personality, and provides a pleasant dose of smarmy humor during your interactions. Devrim will assign various mission to players, called adventures. These are story-based sidequests that you can take on during downtime between campaign missions.

Destiny 2 Destiny 2: First impressions of the open-world European Dead Zone region

The first adventure Devrim assigns is called A New Frontier, which you'll initiate from a panel on the ground floor. In general, the local adventures involve establishing communications relays for the Guardians, setting up boosters, and destroying enemy jamming devices.

One memorable adventure sees our protagonist exploring the area beneath the church. As you progress deeper through the tunnels, you'll finally end up in the neighboring salt mines. The mines go extremely deep, and you'll encounter plenty of Fallen resistance along the way. The mission ends with a long ride up a mining elevator, Fallen soldiers and Shanks firing at you the whole time.

Destiny 2 Destiny 2: First impressions of the open-world European Dead Zone region

Naturally, you'll receive various gear as rewards for completing Devrim Kay's adventures. As a faction vendor, Devrim also sells a selection of gear to visiting Guardians. But the vending mechanics have changed a little in Destiny 2. To get better stuff from the Devrim, players must turn in EDZ tokens to increase their reputation level. Once you've leveled up your reputation enough, Devrim Kay will offer level 20 goodies for the takin.

As for the EDZ tokens, you'll get them by completing various tasks on the EDZ map. These include defeating the high value targets (named, extra tough enemies) who spawn randomly and completing public events. You'll sometimes find them in treasure chests as well.

Fighting the Fallen

Destiny 2 Destiny 2: First impressions of the open-world European Dead Zone region

The primary enemy group you'll encounter in the EDZ is the Fallen. They are a nomadic race of insect-like humanoids with four arms, glowing eyes, and two rows of sharp teeth. A few of Destiny 2's Fallen enemy types include:

  • Dregs: The lowest class of Fallen, they are highly expendable.
  • Marauders: A new unit for Destiny 2, these guys wear purple cloaks and possess stealth cloaking technology. If they go invisible, you'll see a mild outline until they get close and reveal themselves for the kill. Marauders fight with shrapnel launchers at a distance and wrist-mounted blades at close range.
  • Wretches: Another new enemy, wretches have only two arms, which they use to wield a deadly electric shock spear. Wretches are fast and powerful, but they can't survive a lot of damage.
  • Shanks: These flying robotic drones are quite common. They have a glowing horizontal eye and fire energy blasts from a distance. Although Shanks go down quite easily, their fire can still defeat unsuspecting Guardians if ignored.
  • Servitors: A spherical flying robotic enemy, servitors are much more dangerous than shanks. They that fire purple blasts and can temporarily shield nearby foes, so destroying them is a priority. Servitors also teleport to avoid damage, making them a lot harder to hit than most enemies.

Some of the Fallen soldiers in the EDZ ride pikes, a form of hoverbike. Naturally, if you can kill a rider without destroying the vehicle, it's yours for the taking. Destinations are a bit far apart in the EDZ, so it's always nice to catch a ride.

Destination map and public events

Destiny 2 Destiny 2: First impressions of the open-world European Dead Zone region

Public events are a type of encounter in which groups of players work together towards a common goal. In the original game, these appeared at certain times with little warnings, prompting players to organize outside of the game before attempting them. Thankfully, public events are visible from the destination map in Destiny 2, as are adventures and other mission types. You can set any mission as a waypoint in order to aid navigation.

Before a public event begins, it appears as a glowing flag. If any player approaches the flag and activates it, a countdown timer will begin. Once the event starts, players in the zone have a limited time to complete it. Some of these can be completed solo, but they're a lot easier with the help of other players. If everyone bands together and succeeds, they'll receive a treasure chest with gear and a vendor token as well.

Destiny 2 Destiny 2: First impressions of the open-world European Dead Zone region

One example of an EDZ public event is Glimmer Extraction. As the event begins, Devrim Kay informs us that the Fallen are deploying glimmer drills into the area. Players must expel a total of four mining crews, destroying the drill and killing the extraction captains. Other public events we played include one in which the Guardians must interrupt a conflict between Fallen and Cabal soldiers, and another pitting the good guys against a six-legged Fallen walker tank.

So far, the public events seem like a fun activity type to participate in on your way to other missions and destinations. It's always good to team up with other players, and you'll generally receive a worthwhile reward for your troubles. Once you reach level 20, you'll gain access to elaborate heroic public events as well.

Your Destiny awaits

Destiny 2 Destiny 2: First impressions of the open-world European Dead Zone region

Having spent several hours in the European Dead Zone during our preview, it looks like a strong open-world region with which to indoctrinate Destiny 2 players. The run-down buildings that surround Trostland and dot the surrounding areas are quite beautiful, especially thanks to the region's palette of blue, purple, and green colors. When the orchestral music kicks in, it really conveys a sense of adventure and importance.

Even outside of missions and events, exploring the region will reward you with out-of-the-way treasure chests and loads of interesting environmental details. And the adventures we played, while not exactly essential to the overall plot (they are side quests, after all) still offer plenty of challenge and variety. I can't comment on the subsequent regions you'll visit or the story that holds everything together just yet, but I'm certainly looking forward to revisiting the EDZ when Destiny launches in September.

Destiny 2 will arrive on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on September 6. The PC version comes a short time thereafter on October 24. The standard version of the game costs $59.99. Preorder on Xbox to get an exclusive rifle, Ghost, and salute when the game launches.

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Disclosure: Travel to the Destiny 2 preview event was provided by Activision.