E3 2018: hands-on Destiny 2’s new mode Gambit

I got to play a match of Destiny 2‘s new PVPVE mode, Gambit. Gambit takes some simple concepts, throws them into a bag and creates a fast-paced, action-packed fight to the finish line between two teams of four and will appeal to those who enjoy the PVE side of things but still want to get in on some PVP action.

In Gambit, the first team to kill a Primeval wins. To get this big baddie to spawn you need to fight waves of enemies until you can hand in 75 motes. These motes will appear as drops when you kill an enemy or when shooting a stronger target. Be quick to collect these motes as they will disappear if left alone for too long, and they will also vanish if you die while carrying them. Getting these ephemeral tokens back to your base will start counting towards the motes needed to bring the Primeval into your arena, as well as a few other bonuses.

While you are killing NPCs in a small arena, the other team of four is doing the same. If you hand in motes in multiples of 5, you summon a blocker in the opposing team’s base camp. The blocker is literally that: an impediment that spawns in the opposing base, shooting anyone near the middle of the base and preventing motes from being dropped off. These blockers stay around until they are killed and a small force of them can quickly cause a problem when returning to base with a pocket full of motes. Every 25 motes, you also get to send one teammate through a portal to the opposing arena where they get supercharged and go to town killing Guardians full of motes before disappearing back to their side.

Saving up for a medium or large blocker sounds like the obvious choice, but the mode lives up to its name thanks to a clever risk vs reward system running through everything you do. While getting a bigger blocker is preferable, there is a risk in running around with ten or so motes and getting killed by an NPC or an invading player. That magnitude of loss puts your whole team on the back foot as it is about 1/8th or so of the total you want to deposit. The same goes for invading. You shouldn’t invade with motes on you, but you might just catch someone with a full bag and slow the enemy team down immensely. Or you can focus on the NPCs in your arena and kill the stronger enemies faster or maybe kill a high-value target before it runs away. Working out when to invade the enemy’s arena, when to bank motes and when to group up and try to resist an invasion will take a fair amount of practice and teamwork to excel in Gambit, and it will be something fun for players, regardless if they prefer PVP or PVE. As someone who falls in the latter category, I can see myself spending time in Gambit to get some PVP gear and rewards without getting too frustrated after being mincemeat for those who spend hours perfecting their PVP loadout and skills.

Besides playing in Gambit, the new bow weapon was available in the mode and the one we could use was pretty satisfying. A meter shows how much power is in your draw and even without looking down the sights you can still pull of headshots, chewing through enemy health at an alarming rate. It felt like having a sniper rifle that wasn’t completely useless at a closer range. The bow feels deadly and looks smooth and stylish as you run around popping arrows into the heads of even the biggest enemies. If you enjoy being rewarded for accuracy in gunfights, this could be your new favourite weapon.

Destiny 2 Forsaken come out on the 4th of September.

If it has the letters RPG in it, I am there. Still battling with balancing trying to play every single game that grabs my interest, getting 100% in a JRPG, and devoting time to my second home in Azeroth.

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