I’ve been raring for an opportunity to review Destiny. Just a chance to rant a lot and compile some thoughts. It was all set to be the next big thing, but now, a few weeks after release, it’s proved itself the most controversial game of the year.
Regardless of opinion it’s the lowest-rated game Bungie have ever released, averaging 6/10 across the board. User experience may differ wildly, but the question has to be asked – would it have been scored so badly if it hadn’t been hyped up so much? Probably not. Chances are, a lot of critics are just jumping on the hype train following GamerGate in an effort to prove that not everything from a big studio gets a big score.
First off, do not buy Destiny if you want a single player game. It’s just not built for it. Sure, the option is there. But it’s like eating a plate of beans without toast. Drinking flat beer, or… playing any Call of Duty since Modern Warfare 2. It just doesn’t come alive unless you’ve got a few mates to play it with – and for the love of god, don’t be headset shy. If you’ve got any hope of clearing the end game content you need communication to develop tactics. It is a shame that the singleplayer element of the game just boils down to a repetitive series of mob-grinding quests. The story as it stands is simply a brief segue from planet to planet, a slim frame just designed to get you from A to B. To be completely fair, it was never advertised as a massive sci-fi saga.
If Destiny was just the singleplayer component, the low reviews would be totally justifiable. The ‘story’ missions are monotonous and only really get mixed up with the addition of modifiers and harder difficulties. Which are, you guessed it – only really fun and progressable when you’re playing with a fireteam.
Judging a multiplayer game on a singleplayer mode that is pretty much just a token addition is hardly fair, though. Everyone loved Titanfall and that doesn’t get a bad rep for having a barebones single player mode. But when you do have friends – or random matchmade strangers – playing by your side, the game just comes alive. Crucible – the game’s PvP component – is a sheer joy, if a little incomplete and unbalanced at the moment. It manages to combine the competitive elements of games like Halo and Call of Duty with an addictive reward lottery and gear upgrades/levelling. Two incredibly addictive and compulsive game mechanics fused together.
It’s like Bungie managed to fuse coffee and cigarettes together into a smokaccino.
Destiny takes its structure from the MMO genre. Loot is colour graded from grey to orange based on rarity, there are dungeons and raids, and even stats – which is a bold move for a first person shooter. They work in a very active way that allows you to pick and mix from different sets to maximise your playstyle. Discipline reduces the cooldown of your grenade, strength reduces the cooldown of your powered melee attack, and intellect governs how quickly your super move charges. The game doesn’t really begin until you hit level 20 and start picking up rare gear with multiple stats on it – combine that with extra mods and perks you get with gear and you can create a character that plays exactly how you want it to. Case in point – the Titan’s Defender subclass has a super which creates an impenetrable dome of light. A few levels down the road you gain an ability that gives you and your allies’ health bar an overshield while you’re standing inside it – so anyone running in to melee you or finish you off with a shotgun is going to lose that fight nine times out of ten. This obviously has some amazing applications in PvP and PvE, so building a character with high intellect and strength means I can throw up that shield and farm kills more often. There’s nothing more satisfying than a smart-ass hunter running headfirst into my Ward of Dawn with a melee attack only to be punched so hard he evaporates into particles of light.
There are three classes available with two subclasses each, but honestly, it doesn’t matter too much who you pick. It’s down to aesthetics and how you prefer to play. Each class can use every weapon, so if you want to be a Warlock with long range supers packing a shotgun for when those big mean Titans get a bit too close for comfort, you can totally do that. Incidentally, the hunter population in Destiny is way too big right now. I’m not sure what the official stats are but they’re everywhere. Do people really prefer hoods and capes to trenchcoats and the space equivalent of medieval knight armour? Of course, it could just be the fact that Hunters are ridiculously overpowered in PvP. Obnoxiously so.
I think most people who hate Destiny just don’t understand it. What we have here isn’t a complete product – and before you start complaining about that, ask yourself – just how many complete products do we see in triple AAA gaming these days? Season passes are available before most games even launch. Call of Duty makes an obscene amount of money on map packs and… erm… Snoop Dogg voice overs. It’s an MMO at its core, and the game people are reviewing now isn’t going to be the same even three months from now.
So it might be lacking in singleplayer content, and there isn’t quite as much of anything as we were lead to believe. But the foundations are there, all the things that would be pointlessly difficult to rectify with a patch and downloadable content are down to a fine art – the only way is up from here.
So if you’re still undecided, just try it yourself. If you liked Halo, you’ll have fun here. If you like MMOs, you’ll find a rich, rewarding levelling system (even if it is extremely arbitrary past level 20) and plenty of incentives to keep playing. Finally, someone has successfully made an MMO that everyone can find some fun with – the thought of Call of Duty dudebros perplexed over stats and gearing is highly amusing, though.
Don’t believe the hype. It might not be what you’d imagine a 500 million dollar game to be, but it’s gorgeous, varied and genuinely challenged. It’s not as epic as it could be – but I’m confident that given time, this will be the game we all wanted it to be.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.