Once again, please welcome Joes Xbox Name with his own take on the game Destiny:
On September 9th 2014, Destiny was released for Xbox360, PS3, XboxOne and PS4. Being Bungie’s first outing since the well-received Halo Reach in 2010, and the most expensive original IP to grace the videogame industry, Destiny has been heavily watched during its four year development cycle. Not only was Destiny produced by the company who created a defining game franchise of the FPS genre for the past decade, but the longevity of the game was bolstered through a ten year additional content plan after the initial release. To many this seemed like the end all be all for the FPS genre if not for the entire generation of gaming. But does Destiny live up to the hype?
Destiny takes place in a sci-fi world of lasers, aliens, and robots. Brought back from the dead by a small robot voiced by Peter Dinklage, your task is to bring back the light to a world where darkness has prevailed. The story does not get much more complex than this and leaves you in this vague state of good vs. evil as you progress from mission to mission. You will meet some characters such as a queen and her brother who seem to rule over a derelict asteroid field, a robot girl who seems to know more about you than she should, and a man with no face who will go on and on about some great war between light and dark without progressing your understanding of anything. None of the characters are memorable or seem to add anything to the plot which will remain just as mysterious the moment you start your adventure as after seeing the credits role.
That being said, the Destiny universe looks stunning. From the lush grassy plains of Venus to the dusty red dunes of Mars, the scenery is breathtaking. Aside from a few of the bosses being oversized versions of previous adversaries, the art direction of enemies and the four different warring factions you will face off with is excellent as well. Even with a story that leaves much to be desired, the world and art direction of Destiny will still encourage you to want to see more.
Being a Bungie FPS, the gunplay and shooting mechanics are what you’d expect. Smooth and precise, the company once again did what they do best. But Destiny is not as strait forward as past company efforts. Multiple RPG elements have been placed into the already established in order to reach a level of depth and customization that the Halo franchise never attempted. First you have the ability to choose between three different classes: The Warlock, the Titan, and the Hunter. Each has their own skill trees and abilities to explore along with additional subclasses as you level up and progress. Second, it is a persistent online world. If you are having trouble on a mission, feel free to call in friends for a little back up. Third, there is gear. You have your choice of primary, secondary, and heavy weapons that range from rocket launchers to assault rifles each with their own unique firing rate, clip size, and other gun related aspects. There is armor as well. From helmets to knee pads, there is a possibility of five different unique piece of armor for your character to wield. These three aspects make Destiny feel more customizable to your own play style than Bungie titles of the past.
With the choice of three different classes you also can choose between three different races for any combination you see fit. Exos (Robots), Awoken (Blue People), and Humans are the three races that are playable in the world of Destiny. Each has a very unique look, but makes no difference in play. The classes also lack variety. The three available character classes can wield the same guns and although they have unique armor, the stats are the same per piece even if accompanied by a different name then the counterpart. Classes each have their own skill tree and chargeable super attack. These are different per class but the tree changes the game in very minor ways and the chargeable power is used once every five minutes or so. This being the case your character creation choices will have minor consequences throughout your experience.
The persistent online world has its ups and its downs. It is good because it is an FPS game that does not necessarily lock you into playing alone or the four player archetype that games of recent have seemed to adopt. You can be doing your own thing and run into players that can help you in a mission or be brought into a community event that could involve destroying a tank or defending a position. It makes looking for materials or the other monotonous grinds of MMO gaming a little more enjoyable. However, there are a few negatives or missteps Bungie took in this first endeavor. The first of which, and most basic, is that the servers where not setup for such an influx of players. At times disconnections kick people off for no reason other than the server being too busy. Another problem is the matchmaking, or the lack there of. Strikes, or the smaller missions of the games will pair you up with two other Guardians if you don’t happen to have friends on at the moment and last about an hour. Raids, or the bigger missions of the game, require five people from your friends list to be online and willing to join you for the three plus hours they take to complete. Nightfall strikes, daily, and weekly missions once again require you to coordinate with people’s life and work schedules to find a time to play. Accompany this with a less than intuitive clan system, and the social aspect of the game becomes more of a chore than an enjoyable aspect.
The gear system is a welcome addition to the run and gun gameplay. Giving sustenance to an action game, gear and the grind for it, really extends the longevity of Destiny. The total of eight options you have for gear on your character can be outfitted with common, uncommon, rare, legendary and exotic items as you see fit. Each has a unique look and can even be leveled up individually in order to increase your stats or can be broken down and made into crafting materials to upgrade a more preferable weapon or armor piece. Although different in appearance and ability, the game is severely lacking in the actual number of equipment. On your way to the soft cap of level 20, you will find anywhere from one to three new pieces of gear that is worth your while. After that is a grind for legendary and exotic items. Legendary items look nice but once again mirror in stats between sets making searching for another set after completing your first useless. Exotics are super rare and truly unique. Too bad there are only a handful of them and only one can be equipped per character.
Finally, we have the Crucible. The Crucible is the PvP of Destiny. Set aside from the campaign missions, strikes and raids, the Crucible is a location you can test your skill against other players. There are four modes with an alternating mode per week for events and such. These modes include team battles with objectives to lone wolf death match. A mix between Call of Duty and Halo, it is fast, fun, but ultimately lackluster. Gear doesn’t make a difference in this mode leaving your past grind sessions useless. Exotic weapons can give you a minor advantage if used properly but there is no edge to the Crucible to make you want to play it over the titans of the FPS genre being played currently.
Destiny is a fun game. It has good core mechanics, a beautiful world, and the promise of something great. But it feels unfinished. From the lack of gear, to the half-baked story, to the promotion of DLC before release, Destiny feels like Bungie wanted to cash in too early. If you are planning on buying Destiny wait until it is either in the bargain bin, or gets the necessary updates it should have had on release.
Graphics: 9/10 – The worlds look great and the art direction is fantastic.
Sound: 7/10 – Fantastic soundtrack that rivals Halo. Too bad Peter Dinklage phoned this one in.
Lasting Appeal: 6/10 – The grind isn’t great due to the lack of strikes and matchmaking. The pvp will keep you interested for a weekend or two.
Achievement Score: 680/1000