The shooter to change the world is something that you may have thought about Destiny before it released. With the weight on its shoulders, all eyes have been on Bungie for some time. After building up one of the biggest brands in video games, the question really was whether Bungie could start all over again, with a brand new IP, and pave the way forward for console shooters all over again. Weirdly enough though, it was nearly their own words that lead to a more negative view of the game.
Let’s look into this: Don’t call Destiny an MMO! Destiny kept incredibly tight-lipped about what the game would entail. It sounded like an MMO shooter by the people that brought one of the best sci-fi worlds to gaming but every time someone said: “So it’s like a console shooter MMO?” Bungie would be very quick to shut down that idea and state to us that it’s not. That was one of their biggest mistakes.
They would instead focus on the story content of the game that now looking back is easily its weakest component. The story is bare-bones to say the best. It tries to introduce a bunch of methodologies to the universe to make it more intriguing with a number of colonies and races but despite their introductions, a lot of their motivational reasons are either just touched on, or simply not at all. Some of the most interesting aspects of the world are completely hidden in reading material in the game and on the Bungie website. It is simply baffling as to why they took that approach. Your ghost, played by Peter Dinklage, is very phoned-in in the sense that the script is rather generic in a lot of places and doesn’t really say much to push the story forward in any meaningful way.
The story missions will only take about 10-12 hours to complete but it’s only when you complete all the story content will the game actually reach its true potential. It’s a complete shame that the focus of the story missions actually diminish the entire experience.
Apart from story missions, you can compete in strikes that allow you to team up with others to take on particular missions. The aspect however that had the biggest potential but ultimately disappointed was the patrol missions. These patrol missions give you the entire area to explore as you find signals that lead to small mini-missions. These mini-missions however are quite boring as they are all really similar. It basically comes down to either going to a particular area and stand around for a few moments or kill so many of some kind of enemy type and collect what they drop.
The opening dozen hours or so did not capture me at all; In fact, I almost gave up on it and started to write this review, but I didn’t. I decided to see what the end-game content was as that “MMO- like” term kept popping into my head. I can easily say that the best content in Destiny is when you hit the level cap of 20. Everything left for you to do is better than all of the previous dozen hours.
One of the biggest aspects of Destiny is collecting new armour and weapons. On your journey to level 20, you will find some decent weapons and armour through complete missions and the odd engram drop form an enemy. An engram will require you to go to the Cryptarch in the Tower which acts as the game’s hub. It is only after you hit level 20 do you unlock the ability earn legendary weapons and armour.
These legendary weapons will either be the reasons why you will drop dozens of hours, or give up all together. It can feel random for the most part obtaining the legendary weapons and armour but it’s not. Essentially, you need to take on the biggest challenges in Destiny to be rewarded with that sought after legendary.
Once you hit level 20, the only way to make it to 30 which is the absolute max is by finding these exotic and legendary armour that has that stat “light”. Once you hit level 20, you no longer earn XP but you will every now and then receive motes of light which is used to buy items from a particular vendor.
It’s such a shame that Bungie hid from the MMO name because so much of the great content found within is reminiscent of end-game MMO content which is thrilling, interesting, and worth investing into.
What makes playing through the same areas and missions over and over again still fun is the excellent gunplay. There aren’t a huge number of weapon types that you can find but the stats within can really change how it feels. The feeling of the play is quite a bit like Halo but the added features like gliding and the special powers change the feeling somewhat but the floating, fun shooting remains in some form from the Halo games.
The hub of where everything takes place from is The Tower. In The Tower, you can hand in bounties that you can accept from the board, go to the crytparch to find out what new armour or weapons you have picked up, buy weapons and more. It is what would be seen as a town in an MMO, where you will run around with other players and even dance with them if you want.
Some of the weapons and armour at vendors require you to have either Vanguard marks or Crucible Marks which is earned through co-operative gameplay (Vanguard) and competitive (Crucible). This works as a way to try incentivise you to play more of that time, furthering the grind.
The competitive mode in Destiny is fun, if a little unremarkable to an extent. Bungie are one of the best creators of multiplayer maps and unfortunately none of the maps are that memorable. The gameplay is fun but it isn’t better than their previous work.
Bungie have promised consistent updates to add new events and they have already started to follow up on that will keep you coming back to play it every day of every week. Unfortunately, once again, a lot of the great stuff is hidden and should have been explained and promoted more. It almost feels as though they hid things just as a reward to those that stick it out and keep grinding.
Destiny feels like it doesn’t include everything. The number of areas to play in are surprisingly light and the game asks you to play in the same areas over and over again and can become an insane grind, for better or worse. Visually it’s beautiful but there’s just not enough of it to explore right now.
It’s a game that will be covered months to come and although that is great for exposure to people, the quality does feel like it’s been hurt in the process. It’s a game that disappoints initially but grows on you and is incredibly deep to an extent once you finish the story. It’s a great, albeit light game in terms of areas, but it’s definitely something we’ve not seen all of it yet. There is so much to Destiny but only if you decide to look for it.