Destiny Game Review: Hit or Miss?
Destiny like most “next-gen” big releases has been hyped up beyond comprehension. But, as we have seen with such games as Titanfall and Watch Dogs this is not always a popular thing. Bungie has created a new blockbuster franchise that will most likely be Activision’s third billion dollar golden egg. The way that the sales look so far this seems like a real possibility and with the holiday season right around the corner these numbers have nowhere to go but up. Destiny was marketed as a shared-world shooter, a new genre in the gaming industry. This new genre takes multiple MMORPG elements and incorporates them into a very well designed first-person shooter. Destiny, however, with all its ambition ends up being a jack of all trades but the master of none. Instead of Bungie once again setting the standard for storytelling and creating iconic characters that will last for decades, the Destiny game feels like a really beautiful frame without a picture.
Everyone knows that Bungie created Halo and the iconic Master Chief, a franchise and a character that will live on in the gaming industry forever. With their much awaited return to consoles, expectations were high for Destiny to be an instant brand featuring numerous characters that would also live on in infamy. Unfortunately, these expectations are not met due to the very vague and lackluster plot that is thrown together through some cut scenes and awkward cinematics. To say the plot has holes is being very generous and it can only be hoped that many of these story elements that were introduced will be tied together in some way throughout the expansions. You start the game as a guardian being brought back to life by a small artificial intelligence referred to as a ghost. Your ghost mentions that you have been dead a very long time, but never in the story does it explain how long or why. Also four different races are introduced throughout the game: Cabal, Hive, Fallen, and the Vex. But in game there is hardly anything that ties these races together or makes them relevant to the plot of the game besides certain missions when everyone is searching for the same item. There are numerous more examples and even at some point in the story a character explains “…I don’t have time to explain why I don’t have time explain.” That quote literally explains the plot of Destiny in one sentence. Bungie does set up a very solid framework for the possibility of a great plot in the future. Most of the story elements are there and with the some serious substance that could be added in the expansions there is still some hope for the long term plot of Destiny.
While the plot is lacking in the Destiny gameplay is polished and just awesome. During character creation there is a choice of three classes and each has a subclass. There is also an empty spot in the subclass section which insinuates that more subclasses will be added in future expansions. So far the classes seem pretty balanced and after hours of PVP on the Crucible planet the competition is more based on skill rather than class. The gameplay is very similar to Halo and even includes vehicles in traditional Bungie style. The controls are fluid and the guardians have a lot of mobility and speed which is complemented by unlimited sprint and the unique melee abilities. While there are differences between the classes all three are built to shoot things and there is definitely more than enough situations to be able to do so.
The Destiny game is designed to be played in a single player format but its multiplayer options are where it really shines. After acquiring your ship and completing the first mission players are able to create fireteams of three guardians from your friends list and conquer the darkness together. There are various difficulty levels and more experience and item drops are acquired through completing these levels on higher difficulties. This multiplayer feature is the best part of Destiny. Clans/guilds have also been included in game, in classic MMO format to help players accomplish harder tasks more easily and meet fellow guardians interested in end game content i.e. the Vault of Glass, the first raid available on Venus. I can’t emphasize enough about how epic the firefights are throughout the game and how fireteams really have to work together to stay alive. Complemented with Destiny’s amazing soundtrack these epic confrontations just make you feel like a badass as waves and waves of enemies bombard your fireteam with no end in sight. Unlike a lot of first-person shooters, fireteams must have a battle plan in many circumstances to even have a chance to complete the harder difficulty levels and this is where class abilities really come into play. This type of coordination is not seen as much on consoles, but is something that PC gamers, especially those playing MMOs, have grown accustomed to. Being a long time MMO player, I was very excited to see this experience come to the console and am very excited for the future evolution of the Destiny universe.
Bungie has always been well known for their attention to detail and vastly large environments for players to experience and explore. In the Destiny game, they have stayed true to these expectations as the planets available are large enough to get lost in. There are secret chests and collectables scattered throughout every planet giving those explorers out there reason to check every nook and cranny of these vast environments. However, for as big as these maps are they seem very empty. There are numerous tracks of land that have no enemies to speak of and it is possible in certain portions of the map to drive your speeder bike for a long time without seeing anyone. Also, for as popular as Destiny already is and with it being a type of MMORPG, one would expect to meet a countless number of other players in the levels or in town. But, player interaction in Destiny is kept to a minimum with a very scarce amount of other guardians to be seen in town or on world maps. While this is not a huge problem it is not the type of social experience that players have come to expect from a MMO experience. This is not necessarily as negative as it sounds though. Many MMOs in the past have been plagued with bots, spam, scams, etc. due to the huge community and trading allowed in town. Elder Scrolls Online has been the most recent victim of this with bugs, spam, and bots ruining the experience, hindering its playability, and causing its console version release to be delayed for months. Bungie has kept the trading and social aspects of the Destiny game to a minimum to avoid any of these issues. In the Tower (Destiny’s social hub) you will not see trade chat, or spam for materials, or people selling currency. Instead only four social emotes have been included using the D-pad to allow players to communicate. While initially to some players this comes off as lazy, it actually cuts out a lot of the nonsense and drama that has been associated over the years with the MMO experience. Players are forced to communicate through voice chat or through forums and concentrate on grinding gear through gameplay instead of buying their gear from other players or an auction house. Blizzard’s first rendition of Diablo 3 in which an auction house and later a real money auction house were included really hurt the overall experience of this franchise and was later removed in the Reaper of Souls expansion. Bungie has been scrutinized for not including some type of trading system between players; however, it is clear that this type of system does not always function properly. Therefore, instead of Destiny mirroring the same issues seen in Diablo 3 or ESO they were able to avoid this altogether by not offering these features. Whether or not this system will stay in place, only time will tell, but for now this is Bungie’s plan and they are sticking to it.
So did the Destiny game live up to the hype? No, not really. Destiny has a lot of potential though and if Bungie can continue to offer end game content and expand on this awesome framework that they have created then there still is hope. What many players have noticed is that even for all its flaws and holes in the plot Destiny is a game that is hard to put down. The gameplay is instantly addictive and just a fun overall experience. And while there is no matchmaking for end game content there are numerous forums and sites available to help players meet up for raids. Also with the extreme popularity of Destiny there has been very few times in the last week where most of my friends list consists of nothing but guardians looking for fireteams. Therefore, even without forums and websites you should be able to find people on your friends list to complete this end game content with. So, gear up Guardians and prepare for the long haul because regardless of its reception, Destiny is here to stay and should prove to be a fun ride.
For more Destiny coverage and updates keep checking back with us at areyougaming.com and if you haven’t picked up Destiny yet watch for our Destiny giveaway happening in the next couple of weeks. Don’t miss out Guardians, the Traveler needs you!!!
This Destiny Game review was based on the Destiny Pre-Order Digital Guardians Download
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