Destiny: The Border War
By Bradley Lewis
From Bungie, the studio that brought us the Halo series, comes Destiny. Destiny has been one of the most anticipated games of the year for multiple reasons. Destiny has been hyped by many people over the course of its development mainly due to the pedigree of the studio from which it comes. Also, the reported amounts that its budget has been placed at have contributed to the hype (some articles have suggested that the overall budget was somewhere around $500 million, although that has been largely disputed). One thing has been for sure about Destiny, it was one of the premier releases of the year.
Destiny is an enigma. It is a game that is one of the most difficult to put into a category. Is is a said by many to be an massive multiplayer online first person shooter (MMOFPS). This is a newer category and of which Bungie itself has said that Destiny is not apart. Bungie has made it known that it does not view Destiny as an MMO, but to the general public ,and to me, it has all the make up of an MMO (well… sometimes). Destiny has elements of being an MMO, but at the same time it is not one. It is lacking some of the key parts of MMOs. A few of which include a crafting system, various types of missions, story content that is intriguing, and much more. What is does possess, however, is a shooter that works quite well, and a system in place that can allow players to have excellent gunplay. The three class system (Warlock, Titan, and Hunter) that Destiny uses is familiar to other MMOs and each class is balanced pretty well. This is what you find in Destiny, a game that seems to be lacking in many categories, but at the foundational level, it seems as though it has much promise.
While going through the world of Destiny, you do not encounter many different scenarios. Here is the basic outline of Destiny’s mission setup. Go to a certain place, have your ghost (robot friend) scan something, then you either defend your ghost while it is scanning/processing or you go to another place and kill a sort of boss. This is the extent of Destiny when it comes to variety in mission selection.
Also one of the major problems encountered in Destiny at launch and for the first week or so, has been server issues. This has become a very typical problem for online only games and Destiny continues the trend. During the first week, I alone was kicked out of the Destiny servers over 20 times. This was not during one particular type of mission or area of the game. I was kicked while walking around the Tower (the central hub of Destiny’s world), while playing a Crucible (multiplayer) match, and also while playing a mission with my friends in a fire team (co-op). In essence, you can say that being kicked from the servers was an issue across the game, one that caused much frustration and suffering to say the least.
A game such as Destiny is typically filled with content. not just content for filling in space, but many things for a player to accomplish. Destiny does not live up to this sentiment however. It is a game in which there is only one large area per planet. For instance you can only visit Russia on Earth. On the Moon, you can only visit one area. And the areas are pretty big and I have to admit that they do look phenomenal at times, but they are not what you expect when you encounter a game that is largely viewed as an MMO. There are intriguing places to visit in the background and you can see areas in which it looks like they would be cool to visit, but sadly those are in the background and are simply pictures for you to look at. There is also very little to accomplish in the areas you can visit. Just bland MMO type missions, nothing special, as the above mission variety explained.
Also, for a game that does not have many different areas, the load times are quite long. you will see your ship flying in orbit or jetting over to another planet for long periods of time. And what is meant by long load times? It takes about 40 seconds or so to get to anywhere, whether it be the Tower, which you go to after almost every single mission and then leave after being there for a couple minutes, or to another mission on the same planet from which you just came. It always takes at least 40 seconds no matter where you go. We may have become spoiled with no load times in games, but in an era where no load times exist, it is difficult to go back to constant loading screens when you are not in a mission.
Destiny has many qualities that when put together make it unique, but at the same time you cannot help but compare this game to others. When I have been playing Destiny it has reminded me of the original Borderlands. It is similar in many respects, and it is different because Destiny is online only, it is only up to 3 person co-op, it has allusions of an MMO, and it is not as fun as Borderlands. Trying to pin down that last one is difficult. While playing Destiny, it just lacked the secret sauce that makes a game fun and interesting. The story is pathetic. I will give away no spoilers but if you don’t pay attention to the story then you might actually have a better experience. So that might be part of the reason the game is not much fun, another might be all the reasons given to this point. Also, the amount of weapons and armor that you receive is not as plentiful as one would hope. Until you reach level 20, which is the level cap, you do not receive many uncommon to rare drops from enemies. At level 20 you receive many green-blue drops, which is something of a shocker when you may only receive 1-3 blue drops up until level 20.
Some redeeming qualities of Destiny are in fact the fighting and gunplay. The weapons that are in the game are well done. Each have their own pros and cons, but they are fun to use. The special abilities that each class has and can use are also well done. All the typical gun types are in the game, which leads to a familiarity with the gunplay which is something that lead me to keep playing the game. The melee attack is awesome, and the secondary special ability for the Hunter, which is a melee based ability that puts you in a third person view, is quite fun.
Overall, Destiny is a good game but it is not great in any way. It has nothing special, nothing that sets it apart from the pack. Destiny lacks the sexiness of other games in the FPS genre, such as Call of Duty, Battlefield, Borderlands, etc. It is bland for the most part, and lacks the “it” factor that makes games fun and interesting. There are of course flaws with it, but, also, nothing that exceeds expectation. You can view Destiny as a game that does not know what it is, or what it is good at doing, which leads to its lack of intrigue and fun. Ultimately, you are underwhelmed when you play this game. Destiny receives 6.8 out of 10.0 from Game Review Radio.
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