Rise of Iron Destiny gearThis is "Destiny," which launched on September 9, 2014 for Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.Bungie

The first "Destiny" game, for me, is associated with deep disappointment.

As a long-time "Halo" fan, I was excited to be there for the launch of the next big series from Bungie Studios. The beloved studio even entered into a 10-year deal with mega-publisher Activision, ensuring that its next big franchise would be exactly that: big. 

Expectations were high and, after a series of chances to play early versions of the game ahead of launch, I was cautiously optimistic. "The shooting is fun!" I said to myself. "Assuredly the story is just bare bones because I'm playing a beta version of the final game; there must be other areas to explore that are bursting with life."

Obviously I was wrong. 

When the original "Destiny" launched three years ago, it felt rushed and messy. The story was incoherent, its world was small and empty, and enemy encounters were cookie-cutter — my interest in continuing to play fell off a cliff around halfway through.

On Wednesday, "Destiny 2" arrives. In my brief time with it thus far, "Destiny 2" seems like a vast improvement.

Destiny 2"Destiny 2" is a game about meeting increasingly uglier aliens, then killing them.Bungie/Activision

After spending around five hours with it, I have a very different reaction than I did last time: hope.

It is — dare I say it — a beautiful, thoughtfully designed, well-paced game. At least so far.