Platforms: PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360
Developer: Bungie, High Moon Studios
Let’s face it. Destiny was overall a let down. And it might be partially our fault (not saying I’m blaming everyone!). Yes Destiny was way overhyped by Activision and the marketing of the game was literally shoved down our throats via TV ads, billboards, online ads etc. The problem is, they fed us with this hype for the game and from what we got from it, didn’t fit the hype (which almost no game would probably handle). You could place the blame entirely on Activision but it was up to us to fall for the bait (which was pretty much inevitable, even I was hyped beyond measure. Like I was with Warlords of Draenor!).
At the end of the day, I think the reason why this game didn’t do as well as people hoped is largely due to the hype generated by Activision. People wouldn’t be as nearly disappointed if the hype was a lot less. Hyping a game up where it becomes too much for the game to handle is a big problem these days where some big publishers only care for initial sales, no matter how the product is. But this is a discussion for another day!
Anyway, let’s get on with what I actually liked about Bungie’s first-person shooter.
The introduction was pretty well done, as was leveling from 1-20. What the intro did well is that it told you what was going on and how it all happened. I was immediately greeted by a surprising voice, one of my favourite characters in the Game of Thrones universe. Tirion Lannister, otherwise known as the awesome Peter Dinklage! I loved the narrative!
Now, the leveling process from 1-20 was very enjoyable and you were presented to different enemy types and strategies. You could either blast your way through missions or play strategically (which ends up with you blasting your way through anyway). The most strategic part was how you have to shoot at weak points to deal “critical hits” that deal additional damage. The very early levels are pretty easy and straight forward, but as you get to higher levels, enemies get stronger and you have to sometimes hide against walls, objects etc to not get barraged by a number of foes.
At around level 14 you start to see missions get a little bit repetitive, which can make it a little boring but it’s not that big of a deal with different enemies being introduced.
The boss fights I found are extremely fun and I don’t really tire from doing the doing the same boss fight multiple times. They really do encourage team play/strategy at times by one person taking the aggro so the other players can attack, but bosses change who they focus a lot, so you have to be wary when they do. For example one of the bosses on Venus fires at the person with the most aggro. The other two players will have to shoot at it as much as possible, while the other player is taking the focus off. The boss will change who it focuses on when they deal enough damage to them. Not only this, but you have to fight groups of adds that spawn throughout the encounter, making it more challenging and making you fight more strategically. Although usually the adds can die pretty quickly with a grenade or a few critical hits.
Before The Taken King was released, there were additional modifiers when you start a mission. These were things like “Normal”, “Hard” and “Impossible” (basically you aren’t prepared) which increased the level of the mission so you can do it as a challenge or revisit them at a higher level. Although, you probably shouldn’t take on missions that are at the most, 2 levels higher than you. You will deal less damage and take a lot more for every level your below the minimum level requirement. I learned this the hard way! In The Taken King, these modifiers are gone and you have to make do with the default level, which is a little annoying. However at level 40, you can add modifiers to end game missions and raids. It seems they only want this extra challenge feature for max level players. Which I guess isn’t so bad.
What I liked about the weapons is that there are three different categories. These categories are primary, secondary and heavy, all of which have a few different gun types e.g. hand cannon, pulse rifle, machine gun and others. Throughout your time on missions/boss fights you’ll have to use a weapon that is stronger against particular enemies. For example if an enemy has a fire shield, you use a fire element gun to deal additional damage against the shield to break it faster. The image below only shows some of the gun types you can get your hands on!
You have access to skills and and passive effects that either empower your grenades, agility, damage etc or give you new abilities. There is some element of choice, but usually you just go for the one that’s obviously the best. To add to this, you get two subclasses for each class, the second subclass being unlocked at level 15. The subclasses offer different playstyles and passives but most of the time, there’s one that’s better than the other in certain situations (PvE/PvP). You also have to level the second subclass up from the start, so you lost everything you gained from the first subclass, which can be chore since you have to spend more time grinding experience to level up your subclass.
Increasing your reputations to get that item you need can be very satisfying and rewarding after working so hard to obtaining it, but you’ll have to do a lot of rep grinding in order to do so!
Moving onto the art, which I find very interesting as it’s basically the same as Halo, aesthetically speaking. Don’t get me wrong, the game looks fantastic on the PS4/Xbox One but I wish it had a more unique style, instead of a Halo clone.
So let’s get onto the things I didn’t like so much about Destiny!
To start with, the game can get very, very repetitive. Especially when most missions and enemies at the end game get pretty similar, which is how I became bored of the game, despite the modifiers (which are removed now). In my view, I think it’s an excuse to not add other content so they can save it all for DLCs. Most missions on a planet send you to familiar sites where you’ve already been before, only with different objectives. The problem is that if you’ve landed on Venus, you kind of expect to explore at least 50% of it. But it’s more like 5% or even less, which is real shame!
I’ve mentioned this earlier grind is real and I’m astonished as to why “Legendary” Engrams have a higher chance of becoming an uncommon and rare item. If they’re so legendary, then why are they more likely to turn into “normal” gear? What this means is that if you don’t invest hours upon hours, you’re less likely to get some decent gear, including grinding reputations to buy rewards. Even if you spend a ton of hours, you might not get that item you need or want to progress. An alternative to the RNG (which is pretty annoying getting downgrades most of the time) factor of item drops, you can grind reputation for different factions. This can take some time and get very boring. Most, if not all reputations require you to be at least rank 2/3 to get any gear.
Although you can explore parts of different worlds/the moon. You don’t really get to do any exploring. It was said that it’s supposed to be an open world where you can explore planets, yet you’re confined in one big area. If you go try to go further than map boundaries, you will die and return back or get blocked off.
Let’s talk a little bit about the Raids. Now personally I don’t like the fact there isn’t an in game matchmaking system like for Strikes. This forces you to find other players to play with. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just nicer to have that convenience. The downside to having a random matchmaking system for Raids is that you don’t know who you’re playing with and you may end up with a not-so skilled group. Even with matchmaking for Raids, you would still be able to form your own groups.
An important thing about the game is that the game doesn’t really know what it’s supposed to be. Is it an RPG, an MMO?, a shooter? It contains elements from all these genres, yet it doesn’t really do them well. I mean it’s a good shooter and has pretty awesome battles, but it severely lacks in the other areas where it’s supposed to thrive in. The story is almost unmemorable and I didn’t seem to care for it all that much (I followed it, but didn’t really care for it). It plays like an MMO with constant multiplayer and a social hub, yet communicating with others is pretty sub par and limited.
If you’ve ever played Unreal Tournament, there’s a game mode/super (insta-gib) which gives everyone the same gun and all that gun does is instantly kill anyone that gets hit, and this is supposed to be a fun addition to the game. Well the reason I’m connecting this to Destiny is because PvP in Destiny is basically an insta-gib match. The player who sees the other first or gets in the first hit, is usually the one who gets the kill. It all turns into a game of “who saw who first?” and it can be very frustrating. I’m not even taking into account unbalanced classes and abilities, most of which I might add will one shot you as well *cough* *cough* Supers. This was enough to make me stay well away from any sort of PvP.
Overall Destiny is an average game with promising features that weren’t executed as well they could have been. I think there are things missing from the base game which they added in with the expansion, which make it better. The combat and mechanics are very fluid and enjoyable, with challenging and interesting battles. And it has a a decent end game, with plenty of time to allow for gear progression. If this is something that peaks your interest, then Destiny is a game for you. However if you’re a person who loathes unbalanced PvP, grindy end game content with a lot of RNG involved and can’t stomach repetitive levels/missions, then I would advise you to steer away from this game!
What are your thoughts on Destiny? Do you agree or disagree with me?