Destiny has caught everyone’s eye since the day it was announced. Add on a long summer drought where no major triple AAA games were really released and people craved it even more. I played the alpha and the beta as much as I could to discover what I liked about the game and what I didn’t. The elements I didn’t like then, I still don’t like, and likewise, the things I loved before I still love. Destiny is a mixed bag in countless ways. From the gameplay, to the genre itself, to loot collecting and even leveling up. Destiny feels very similar to many other titles out there, but at the same time, it is hard to compare it to any specific game with so many unique attributes it has. It would be very easy to claim Destiny as a disappointment, because in many ways it can be twisted that way. But if that was the case, why have I spent 20 hours in one week and all I think about is playing Destiny every night? The reason is simple: it’s great.
Destiny is certainly great, but it isn’t flawless. The story is one of those flaws. There are some very nice looking cut scenes and an incredible setting that presents a wonderful atmosphere. That’s about it though. The plot-points are delivered by your Ghost buddy Peter Dinklage, and while it is cool to hear his voice directing the game, nothing catches your attention. I get the end of humanity was coming and we – the Guardians – needed to stop it, but beyond that I didn’t really care about what was occurring. This is one of those games where you want people to stop talking so you can start shooting. One positive is the story doesn’t necessarily get in the way, it’s just…there. For you to ignore or dive deeper by reading about it online with your Grimoire cards. The only time the story bothered me was when the poor writing became too apparent to ignore. I believe every one of Pete’s jokes fell short, and they didn’t earn a chuckle—only a grimace as I moved onward to shoot dozens of enemies.
That is the point of Destiny after all. You shoot anything and everything that moves. No matter the mission type you are playing, your goal is to shoot everything. Maybe this particular creature has more health or maybe this location has more enemies, either way, you have to shoot whatever it is. That sounds like it would get old, and it certainly does. The missions aren’t very creative. You run to a location, release your Ghost, then defend him from waves of enemies. Rinse and repeat for the entire game.
That sounds awful, and for some missions like the Patrol missions (more on that later), it certainly can be. The saving grace is how fun the gameplay is. The controls are tight and precise while still being smooth enough that I have no complaints when it comes to the technical gameplay. The hit-detection is a little forgiving, which is okay since that is the case for everyone so it’s fair. The controls are simple to pick up for anyone who has played a FPS, meaning the wheel hasn’t been reinvented in that aspect. Once again, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because why fix what isn’t broken?
Destiny is a complicated game upon diving into it. There is a lot to discover and while the basics are explained, you must figure out many other aspects on your own. There are three main classes that have theoretically different advantages. In reality, any class can pretty much do anything. You won’t be stuck as the weak link in the back if you pick the Hunter, and the Titan isn’t a tank to agro the enemies. The main difference are all the powers they receive, but the weapons and armor they can equip are all the same—minus visual flair.
Essentially, Destiny is broken up into five main types of gameplay. You have the safe-zone called The Tower where you can buy new gear, receive new bounties, and most importantly, dance with other players. Patrol missions are simple objective missions that allow you to explore the level freely. Some paths are blocked that are only open during story missions, which are missions that end with a Boss fight and advance the story to open up new missions and worlds. Then you have your Strike missions which require three people, are much longer, and generally have multiple bosses to go through. They are separate from the story, but they provide you with better gear and bonuses than the other missions. Lastly, is the Crucible, which is the competitive multiplayer.
The Patrol missions are my least favorite. They hardly entertain and feel more like busy work. You cannot pick up more than one objective at a time so you are forced to fly back and forth across the same areas multiple times. I only did patrols waiting for my friends so we could do something else. The Strike Missions are fun, especially with friends, and each one was a blast to play. The problem is there are only so many to experience. Then Destiny offers you the same missions on a harder difficulty. That is entertaining to an extent, but I can only run through the same levels so many times. Still, Strike missions are the most fun you’ll have in a co-op experience with friends.
I originally wasn’t a huge fan of the Crucible, but now that I’ve had more time to experience it, I become addicted to this mode. It has four main modes that are pretty standard to online shooters, with a new mode playable on the weekends. The difference in levels is disabled so you can’t beat on a level 5 guardian as much as you want to. That being said, higher levels generally have better weapons in terms of firing rate, stability, range and other useful stats. You can still do well as a low-level, but higher levels do have a slight advantage. A nice touch is the ability to get legendary gear from the Crucible alone, so you do not need to grind Strike missions endlessly. In this way, Destiny does well to cater to everyone.
Naturally, the reason you want to complete all these missions and fight in the Crucible is to receive loot. Borderlands has taught us that nothing is better than swapping in better gear for your old gear. Getting that extra 10 damage on your gun is as rewarding as it is a letdown. Playing through a 30 minute strike to see your friends get better gear and you get something useless is upsetting, but that is all part of the fun. My friend and I opened a random chest and he got rare gauntlets while I got something that can refill my ammo once…not exactly fair. I haven’t been able to determine who gets loot for what reason, because there doesn’t seem to be any sort of pattern. I’m beginning to realize that it is completely random. That’s a letdown. You aren’t rewarded for doing well, you just have to be in the game. It would’ve been nice to see the person with the most kills, most assists, most revives, etc, all get different loot. That isn’t how it works. You never know why you get an item and why another person didn’t.
Another major letdown is you cannot trade in Destiny. The reason is to make you fight hard for your gear, but running through the same strike multiple times for better boots doesn’t exactly make me think I have done something remarkable. The real reason this is a missed opportunity is due to the possible trading centers and commerce that could have sprung up in the Tower. Many MMOs have an entire trading world that is run entirely by players, and it is always remarkable to witness. It would’ve been neat to see in Destiny, but I can’t really fault Bungie for doing something that they never said they would do. I can only state that in a game that may not technically be classified as an MMO, but feels very MMO-ish, it has some lacking elements that would’ve made this game go the extra mile.
While I’m on the Tower, as the only social hub in the game, it doesn’t feel that social. Sure, I’ve played duck-duck-goose, had a dance party, and bounced a ball around. But I haven’t really engaged with anyone else besides waving to them and then running away. For a game that promotes playing with others, forcing an online connection, and only letting you Raid with friends by not supporting a match-making system (something that I still don’t understand because that will prevent many people from experiencing it). Destiny doesn’t really feel that social, it’s more of a bunch of people in one big room, but all playing different games. Some interaction may occur, but nothing remotely memorable. This makes the Tower feels lifeless in retrospect. It’s a place to decode decrypted loot, and speak with lifeless vendors that don’t bring any feeling to the game. You don’t go to the Tower to meet other people or do anything fun, it’s a chore you need to do between missions.
The main issue I have with Destiny is how it isn’t really diverse enough. Every mission is the same, and there aren’t enough Strikes to hold my interest. Supposedly, new free Strikes will be released and that will garner more interest when the time comes. It is a wise plan to keep gamers around, because as it stands replaying the same missions over and over will get old rather quickly. I’ve been in the end game for a while now and I am finding trouble with what to do. I enjoy playing Destiny with my friends, but when I play by myself it starts to feel like a chore.
Sadly this is what you need to do to receive better gear. Even Patrol missions reward you with Vanguard Reputation which is needed to unlock legendary gear. This isn’t a new concept, any RPG or MMO will come with a certain amount of grinding, but Destiny’s world isn’t big enough to handle that type of grinding currently. Story, Patrol, and Strike missions are all there is co-op wise, and only the Strike missions are really worth playing. As I already stated, replaying those same missions begins to feel tiresome. The Crucible will hold your attention, but the lack of major modes also hurts it in the end. Apparently, there will be a game mode on every weekend, so once again, you will come back to Destiny, but you may not stay the entire time. I’m beginning to understand that while I am still playing Destiny nightly. I can see myself slowly fading away for a few days, before Bungie releases new content for me to come back to. So Destiny isn’t a game to play day-to-day, but come back to when there is new content to entice you.
I do have issues with the serves and I don’t believe I’m the only one. The always online aspect is a negative for me since there are plenty of times when I couldn’t get into the tower. You can blame my internet, but I can always reach the Tower when I’m in my friend’s fireteam. That leads me to believe it isn’t my internet, but something iffy with the servers. One scenario I hit a loading screen on Earth (yes they exist) and I waited several minutes before going to orbit and loading the level again. The match making also needs work since I have entered Crucible matches of 6 V 1 and sometimes 1 V 1. I have stopped playing for the night before because I couldn’t reach my location. You never want someone to stop playing the game because of technical issues like that.
Tacking up Destiny by its faults isn’t really a hard thing to do. Destiny has a lot of issues that need tweaking, and it doesn’t live up to as big of a universe as they made it seem (Yet at least, DLCs will undoubtedly expand on everything). However, if Destiny was bad – if it was annoying and lacking as much content as I claim – I wouldn’t be playing it as much as I am. Destiny tries to be everything, and that may be why Destiny doesn’t feel fully committed in one direction but bits-and-pieces of everything. It’s a fun game that’s rough around the edges, but with lots of potential to expand. You need to play Destiny with friends and take it for what it is, and not what you were hoping it would be. I have hours and hours of fun with Destiny already, and I don’t see that stopping anytime soon, to me, that makes Destiny a fun game and definitely worth picking up.
This review is based on a retail copy of the Playstation 4 version of Destiny developed by Bungie and distributed by Activision.
- Great Combat
- Extremely Fun With Friends
- New Loot Always A Blast
- Content Not Diverse Enough
- Story Big Letdown
- Game Doesn't Feel Fully Realized