As the initial fence sitter of Press-Start regarding Destiny it seemed only right that I should be the one to review this game without any unrealistic expectations or exceptionally negative preconceptions. Three weeks worth of game time has certainly provided me with enough hands on experience and insight for the game. Here we go!
Destiny’s story is exceptionally dry, plain and simple. After the Earth entered it’s golden age of interplanetary exploration and began inhabiting other planets surrounding our own; thanks to the assistance of The Traveler, a large floating vessel the size of a small moon. After the appearance of this mysterious being, its long time enemy known as the darkness followed it and was lead to earth. The citizens of Earth and surrounding planets were either eradicated or pushed back to the last strong hold of Earth, which Guardians now struggle to keep protected. You play as one of those guardians and uncover the truth behind the mysterious appearances of both the Traveler and the Darkness.
This game is typically good vs bad, move from point A to point B as you shoot and loot your way through. It has received massive criticism for having such a dull and mundane story – it is peculiar coming from such a well known story developer, Bungie. However as i see it, yes an intriguing story is great but to have that it would completely miss the ideals and concept that is Destiny. I believe Destiny to be a drop in/out open world exploration to be experienced with your friends or as Destiny calls it, Fire teams. Many times during my hands-on I opted to join my friend’s Fire team only to be transported to missions or even planets ahead of where I was, to once again shoot and loot ’till my heart’s content. Essentially this is why I believe Destiny does not and cannot produce an in-depth story. If I am able to jump missions or planets ahead in the game, it would be like jumping pages or chapters in a book; I would be missing chunks of the whole story. Better to miss points of a not so great story than to miss them on a more crucial story driven scenario, right?
As an interplanetary experience your surroundings are going to change and vary immensely as you jump from planet to planet; I believe that Bungie has captured each planets essence perfectly. I won’t name what planets you can explore spoilers sake, but I can only reinforce the amount of work that has gone into creating unique worlds and true to what we non-astrological people believe it to be. There are certainly going to be moments where you just stop to take in the scenery and ponder on what the universe may really contain.
The voice casting of well known actor Peter Dinklage was definitely a strong move for Destiny but I can honestly say that his presence has no great impact to the overall experience. Sounding as bland and mundane as the robot companion he portrays. While the rest of the voice work accompanying him have sat in line behind “The Dinkle-bot” (as Destiny community members are calling him) are just as utterly dry. Perhaps it was a sales pitch to align such a big name actor from a popular TV series in an attempt to sway or intrigue people, but in this case they missed the target by a mile.
Enemies and Guardians have all received a deeply detailed amount of love and care providing a uniqueness yet familiarity, enough to associate themselves with their respective groups. For guns and ships it can also be said each differing variation is captured and displayed exceptionally whilst cut scenes, in particular the opening one will leave you mind blown with some of the visuals.
I was told long ago that Destiny does not really open to the player until they reach level 20 and that person couldn’t have been more right. As you trudge along completing the story across different planets and competing in the online competitions known as the Crucible; you grind and gain experience which is used to level up your character. These characters are one of three; a Hunter, good for longer ranged attacks, Warlock who has mid-ranged attacks and a Titan best used up close and personal. Obviously these characters can be used for any situation you choose but overall their upgradeable characteristics determine how you play as them. Each character has two classes – for example a Titan has a Striker and a Defender class which can be upgraded and managed to suit not only your style of game play, but also your fire team’s style of play, which has you constantly reconsidering your tactics as you make your next assault.
Weapons and armour can be found throughout the worlds or bought from the base of operations known as the Tower. Upgrading weapons can have a variety of impacts from increasing damage to reducing recoil with all sorts of weird and wonderful things in between. Armour is much the same allowing you to carry extra of a sort of ammo for example.
Throughout the Tower players can opt to participate in bounties that are active in both the open world or in the competition crucible to gain experience and reputation. Gaining reputation mark across all varieties allows the player access to a vast array of rarer and more powerful weapons and armours. Taking this into account and the grinds that appear having reached level 20 is where this game really shows it’s MMO head. Collecting specific items and achieving particular milestones are the foundations of exceeding the level cap of 20.
Bungie has taken an interesting look into the social aspects of the game, creating specific missions that require three participants to compete and another that requires 6. Along with random chance encounters to keep players on their toes and grinding for more upgradable materials.
I think a lot of people were not expecting the game to be so MMO focused or perhaps being console gamers have never really experienced this formula of game, however it may be that it has certainly left a bad or even confusing taste in some people’s mouths. The difference comes down to personal preference, some people may like this formula, others wont.
At the finer points what Bungie has created with their shooting mechanics is nothing short of spectacular. Tight responsive gun play with intense action heavy encounters are going to keep any FPS fan intrigued. As a side note, having reviewed this game for the PS4, I took advantage of the PS Vita’s remote play capability and found it to be an exceptionally thought out experience in terms of buttons mapping. Everything else still looks and plays the same and was a pleasure to use.
I can only recommend that any player participating do their absolute best to get friends involved or make new friends during their game play as it can be a long desolate road if you take this adventure by yourself. The use of a microphone is also a benefit for those tougher missions where strategies need to be formed but can be overcome without through trial and error.