Release Date: 9/9/2014
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Destiny has been a long-awaited next-gen shooter. With one of the biggest hype trains in existence known as Bungie, Destiny had a lot of push behind it. It was dubbed the next-generation social interaction shooter. Destiny is also the most expensive game ever made coming in at around $250,000,000. Sure they made that back already and then some, but was the cost worth it? I sadly have to say it wasn’t. Destiny is probably the best slightly above-average shooter you will ever play. While I was continuously disappointed the further I got into the game I just couldn’t put it down. Destiny is a strange dance of mediocre story and atmosphere mixed with fantastic gunplay and challenging gameplay. So just how does a game split like this?
First off the story feels non-existent. There aren’t many cutscenes and all we are really given is a synapse and a crisis to dwell on. There’s a story about a Traveler which is a giant alien-looking moon/ship hybrid that appeared above Earth one day. With all the alien-fighting there is a last-standing faction of humanity called the Guardians. You just so happen to be the only one who can make it through all these alien strongholds to finally bring Light back to the traveler. It honestly never really makes sense and towards the end of the game, you forget what happened in the beginning. Once you get down to it, the shooting, you forgive the paper-thin story a little.
The shooting mechanics are solid and extremely fun. Each sci-fi gun has its own personality and you actually learn to like a certain class of weapons or switch between them when the situation calls. There are a lot of RPG elements mixed in that feel similar to Mass Effect. Take into account your class leveling, the cap is at a weak 20 and unlocking of attributes with various armor you pick up. You will use everything at your disposal to kill the hordes of aliens you encounter because this game is extremely tough. There were sections I had to retry over and over again to get the strategy down right. Now the game is built around a light MMO play model. There are open “maps” and within these maps are non-respawnable areas filled with “Darkness” with little to no checkpoints. Of course, the game was designed for co-op but I played through just fine by myself.
With all the grenade tossing, super-charged stomping, shotgun blasting, and class powers getting thrown around you start to realize something. The game is pretty much the same everywhere you go. There are only a few select enemy types and you will be killing these thousands of times before the end. It honestly gets quite old. Instead of the large planets, you thought you could wander there are just large maps for each of the four planets. Yes, just a measly four. Old Russia on Earth, the Moon, Mars, and Venus. While it’s pretty awesome to see these planets being recreated I really felt cramped. This game is so small for such a large scope in design. With the level cap at 20, you can blow through the entire game with 3 other people in less than 20 hours. This could have been remedied with varied objectives or even scripted events but instead, it’s nearly the same mission over and over. You have a companion called Ghost (voiced by the bored-sounding Peter Dinklage) who you must protect and that’s nearly all you do. Scan this area, cover me while I scan this area times 100 ad nauseam.
Destiny really had a lot of potential but seemed to just have shrunk in scope during development. The best moments I had were the raids you could compete with players online. Each planet had one to two raids and it was extremely satisfying when you finally killed the end boss after chipping away at him for over 30 minutes. However, there are few moments like this in Destiny. I honestly can’t really recommend this game to the average gamer wanting to just pick up the latest shooter. Avid FPS players will find all the little flaws and weak spots in the game. When it comes to visuals and audio Destiny really delivers. The game looks fantastic despite areas like the Moon and Mars looking overly bland and boring. While looks good on a technical scale it feels like it lacks any type of artistic flair. I honestly kept thinking back to Halo too much. You can see the obvious inspiration from that series bleed into Destiny a little.
With all that said Destiny has tight gunplay and some fun moments during Raids but that’s really it. It feels underwhelming in scope and is extremely repetitious and will bore most players. However, there is some sort of spark that sticks in the game that keeps you going and racking up your kill count. The gunplay is rock solid and I honestly have to say this is the best slightly above average shooter you will have played in a long time.