Let me start by saying I love Bungie. They made Halo, and lord knows I have put more than my share of hours into the Halo franchise.
With that being said, I was massively let down by their newest release Destiny. Was it a serious miss, or a brilliant move by the development team?
I would love to tell you about the story line, but I’m not sure I ever really understood what the point of it all was. Why am I killing things? Why is Peter Dinklage telling me what to do and why does he sound so unimpressed about it? Really, I’m not sure. From what I gathered by the disjointed cut scenes and lackluster storytelling, here is the low down:
You were a guardian, and you died. You were brought back to life (somehow for reasons unknown) to fight the evil things and save the world (However, your importance is really overstated, since the games biggest claim to fame is playing with people in the same world – there are a lot of guardians capable of undertaking this quest running around.) Anyways, your goal is to save the world, after “The Traveler” – a massive floating sphere that decided to bring good things and prosperity to Earth, was attacked and its power is failing. Bad guys emerge to take advantage of the situation and for some reason it’s your job to save the day.
Yep. That’s my summary.
The vague back-story of Destiny is shrouded in short answers, unlocking lore cards available in the mobile companion app, and your imagination. Good luck, Guardian! Outside of the main “plot” (and I use that term lightly) there are underlying missions and factions you can complete and join. They are both necessary and completely pointless. If you want to earn xp, money and ranks? Get to the grinding. Otherwise, you can definitely complete the main story line without bothering with these time sinks.
Destiny is a FPS – Basically, Halo re-skinned. The physics, controls, gameplay and combat are essentially carbon copies of Halo. Gameplay wise, it’s solid. The controls and mechanics are on point, as they were clearly established and perfected during the Halo development days. Your body moves as instructed, vehicles drive as they should and your bullets meet their targets, assuming you shoot straight.
In Destiny, Bungie introduced a level up system in addition to different races and types of guardians. Players have their choice of three types of builds: the Titan, the Hunter and the Warlock. (Not much of an new idea, Bungie. The Warrior, Rogue/Assassin/Mage thing has been done already a few million times.) While you can choose from human, alien and machine ‘races’, there are no inherent traits from this choice that are reflected in your build. It is purely cosmetic and holds no real value beyond personal preference.
The new XP level up system was delivered with good intentions. You could choose from character upgrades and new skills which did keep it fresh for awhile, but the options were lacking anything unique and noteworthy. There is a “soft” level cap. Once you reach level 20, your XP becomes essentially meaningless and you can only raise your level by desperately scrounging for high level gear containing the “light” trait which is seriously hard to actually obtain.
Weapons can be upgraded and customized, and with enough use you could add perks to your creators of death via scavenged materials.
There is a great multi-player aspect, allowing you to party up with fire teams with friends or strangers. You can play main game, do scouting missions or participate in events and raids. However, the lack of split-screen co-op couch play is really disappointing coming from Bungie (Surely, since they re-skinned halo, this wouldn’t have been a hard feature to support.) However, this is one of Destiny’s few redeeming properties, as the online party play is really a fun aspect to this otherwise dull title.
The loot system in Destiny is 100% random. No two players will get the same loot from the same enemy or chest. This makes upgrading, leveling up and gaining currency the most frustrating thing in the world. (It is also why I quit playing Destiny.) To add insult to injury, you can pick up “encrypted” loot that you can take and get decoded for gear but be warned: Just because it says “legendary” does not mean you won’t get common, low ranking stuff.
The arena feature was also well intended, but its balance issues and Crucible specific gear make it nearly impossible to hop in for a fun match. Prepare to get your ass handed to you at every turn. As someone who LOVED and cherished PvP combat online in most titles who offer it, I was getting killed. Embarrassingly much. There were no fun matches. I don’t think I ever actually won a team match, ever. That in itself, as a hardcore FPS fan is so infuriating.
Under it all, the theme of Destiny is this: farm, grind and repeat.
Was that the point? Create a system in which you MUST dedicate countless hours hoping for random loot and selling off anything that isn’t tied down? In order to level up past the soft cap, you need so much influence in various factions to even allow the purchase of high level gear, that doing fetch and kill missions are completely unavoidable. In order to afford said gear, you need to sell sell sell and hope to get random loot drops of special items high level merchants demand for payment. It’s like “freemium” without the option of buying your way through. Grind grind grind! Did it keep me playing? Yes. Did it make me want to rage smash everything in sight? Absolutely yes.
So, back to the question at hand: is Destiny an overrated piece of crap, or brilliant? I think Bungie themselves would agree based totally on the number of patches they have released to date (and patches to fix patches that created more problems) that in this case, FPS stands for “fucking piece of shit”.
Destiny - Bungie's Latest FPS (Review)
Gameplay (Controls, functionality, fluidity, problem-free) - 8.5/10
Story (Engaging, exciting, a good ride for the player) - 3/10
Creativity (Original ideas, concepts, themes) - 4/10
Visuals (Graphics, Level design, art, etc) - 8/10
Fun (Was it worth the time spent/cost?) - 3/10
If you want to play a shitty Halo clone, then Destiny is absolutely for you. However, if you expect to follow the storyline, get any explanation of the events, have your skill rewarded by progressing in level or simply want some fun PvP experience… You will be very displeased.
I suggest instead bashing your head against a brick wall for a few hours, or perhaps doing this before loading up Destiny to make the pain of the game seem less intense.