With much anticipation and hype, Destiny from Bungie has finally been released after an agonising wait since the Beta came to an end just a few months ago. As one of the most expensive games ever made (if we are to believe the rumours of $500Million spent on development and marketing) coupled with the title of the most pre-ordered game in history – does it really live up to the hype and exceed expectations formed from the success of the Beta?
Whilst Destiny is a promising first entry into a story that will eventually span a whole decade, it doesn’t feel completely original because the lingering history of Halo still lives on. Maybe it was hard for Bungie to let go since the first similarity between the two titles is the noticeable companion of a Ghost in Destiny that resembles Guilty Spark in Halo. The two are very similar in their technical purpose of how they interact with certain in-game objects with both other comparisons easily made between rifle weapons, pulse weapons, enemies and level design. Halo’s Grunts with their all-in guns blazing approach could easily be identified as the annoying flying robots who scour the nearby areas for your ass! Maybe for other console players Destiny is a whole new experience, but for Xbox fans – it’s a case of having been there and done it all before (cough cough Halo: ODST / REACH) only now it is part MMO-esque.
Destiny comes across as dripping in a Halo Reach firefight skin, but with far larger environments and an online persistent world with seamless drop-in, drop-out PvP multiplayer. Halo from Bungie was a world class master piece with Destiny coming across like that older brother who isn’t quite as popular with the ladies. Destiny is bland in many ways with a repetitive mix of destinations laden with sci-fi enemies to shoot, melee, shoot some more. It may be an online persistent world, but the majority of the game is so highly focussed on levelling up and upgrading various parts of your Guardian it just feels overwhelmingly pointless at times when all it wants you to do is wear a new set of boots! It will undoubtedly please a lot of gamers, but it will not be to everyone’s taste that’s for sure! Without sounding overly negative, it is a disappointing game if you enjoyed Halo and many other First Person Shooters; Destiny also fails to tell its story well with a lack of cut scenes or feeling of real purpose other than shooting and levelling up.
Although as a persistent online game you do encounter a lot of random gamers in the same part of the world as you, but hey so what! So you see someone on screen who appears to run off and do his or her own thing. It doesn’t play like those players have any relevance to your own mission. As an online world in the Story missions it is a mostly solo experience with a few random folk to keep you company in the distance unless you buddy up with your online friends. When Destiny is played with friends on your Xbox LIVE list it comes alive in different ways due to knowing it will be a co-operative effort, but how many times before it becomes stale? With enemies pouring out of the same door at the same time, no matter how many times you visit a part of the world – the rinse and repeated effort fast becomes predictive. It is not until you hit a higher Guardian rank on your character that classic multiplayer comes to life in the Crucible, an area specifically for you to play some decent competitive game modes (albeit 6v6 and a measly 3v3) in four different arenas.
The Crucible opens up on the destination screen once you hit a Level 5 and have accepted the Crucible from The Tower – it doesn’t just appear on its own and prior to reaching a Level 5 Guardian you could be forgiven for thinking there is nothing else on offer. Within the Crucible are different game modes that can be played competitively with other Guardians that initially allow just one mode named Control. Control is all about… control, where different capture points lie across the map and require your team to neutralise and capture as many as possible to acquire the most score within the given time. This mode is a classic domination based game and captured zones also increase points for every kill too and you may remember this addictive game from the Beta? Next up is Clash which is all about… clashing, this is classic team deathmatch at its finest where Guardians in their 6v6 teams can just run loose and kill other team members. It’s the no brainer mode where you can jump right in and not over think about tactics. The smaller modes, Salvage and Rumble are basically King of the Hill and Lonewolf; with Salvage (best played with a full team of 3) comes timed Relic areas to capture and hold on the maps whilst in Rumble you just go it alone and kill every enemy in sight before they kill you. Hopefully more modes will appear in the near future because four seems a poor effort, especially on Bungie’s part who had glorious amounts of different games to play in their Halo days!
Destiny is not by all means a piece of crap, but it is a slow starter with a small world and a lack of decent multiplayer modes, but nonetheless it does offer a lot of replay ability through quests and various challenges you can undertake from The Tower – the games central hub for new unlocks with scatters of real people close by exploring what is available to them. All in all though, Destiny comes across as the natural successor to Halo: Reach where the primary concept is still the same, but you can see how an idea has evolved and grown in the blossom that is Destiny. It is a decent enough game for the social team players out there who like to shimmy along online universes and just keep shooting at shit until they’ve ranked as high as possible, but for competitive gamers who like racking up a kill count in magnificent and vindictive online game modes – this is not that type of game at all. With character classes and gradually better weaponry through skill based gameplay homage to RPG’s, Destiny is about growing your Guardian that you can keep as a trophy to show the world what master you’ve created.
If you expected super wonderful things from Bungie in terms of having a game that would keep you entertained for hours and months to come, I doubt this would be it. Destiny lacks the magic of its own hype and without the levelling up process for your Guardian there wouldn’t be no other purpose to really go back and replay the same old levels in the same old worlds. I think the biggest success of Destiny is giving Playstation gamers a taste of what we’ve enjoyed with Halo for many, many years previous!
Thank you to Xbox UK for the review code.
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