Review: Destiny

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Today, I’m going to share my review for the vanilla version of Destiny. Last month, I spent the time between my Halloween playthroughs with this title. Several of my friends were on the Destiny bandwagon, and I decided to take the plunge myself and see what all the hype was about.

Destiny, is an interesting sort of game. For the most part, it is a first-person shooter. However, unlike many of the FPS games I’ve enjoyed before, this game is only available on a console system. There is no PC version of Destiny. I need to admit that I’m not very good at FPS games when using a controller. I usually prefer a mouse and keyboard for these types of games. So there was immediately a bit of a learning curve for me here. But all in all, it did not take me very long to get the hang of things.

The storyline for Destiny is still a bit of mystery. It is expected that more details will emerge as expansions are released in the future. In a nutshell, the game takes place many centuries in the future. Mankind has long since traveled throughout the solar system. At some point, there is a major cataclysm that destroys nearly everything. The only survivors that still remain on Earth live in a city called The Tower. Above this city floats a mysterious white sphere called “The Traveler”. You play as a Guardian; a human/humanoid granted special powers by The Traveler. Your goal is help mankind reclaim their former colonies from a number of hostile alien species. Your journey takes to various planets like Mars, Venus, etc.

As I said, Destiny is pretty much an FPS. But, it also features some MMO elements as well. For example, when you create your character, you choose a race and a class. Your choice can affect your character’s abilities and playstyle. Your character earns experience points and levels up over time. Your character can also find/purchase equipment upgrades that increase their overall status. While the in-game action is presented as a duck and cover shooter, you are often tasked with carrying out missions and objectives. You unlock new areas as you progress through the game story. These can be revisited at will. Many missions and side quests involve completing objectives in various locales.

The game requires an internet connection, even if you decide to play solo. However, multiplayer is a big part of Destiny. As you explore the game, you will see other players undertaking their own missions. It is not unusual for strangers to team up and help clear out a large mass of enemies together. Of course, friends who have the game on the same console, list can invite you to join them in their game or vice verse.

As far as multiplayer goes, Xbox users will need a Gold subscription to participate in most of the online content. The same goes for PS4 users. PS3 players, are lucky in this regard – no special subscription is required for them. Aside from co-operative play. There is a large PVP system in place as well. Most of the standard modes of FPS-PVP are available here:  Defense, Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, etc.

As you play the game, your are accompanied by a small floating AI companion called a Ghost. Your Ghost will often talk to you, giving you details on the mission at hand. The Ghost can also perform various tasks that are often required as part of the mission your currently undertaking.

I should also note, that aside from upgrading your weapons and armor, your character also eventually has access to both a speeder (called a Sparrow) and a spaceship. These can also be upgraded and customized throughout the game. Players who preordered the game, or purchased the collectors edition will automatically have some special skins for their Ghost, Ship and Sparrow.

This would be a good time to address a little controversy with the title. It seems that PlayStation 4 version of the game is quietly considered to be the definitive version of Destiny. I say this because  the PS4 version of the game includes some multiplayer content that is not available on other systems. This raised quite a stink in the community at large. And of course the Xbox community was very vocal about this exclusion. So, if you own multiple systems, and the PS4 is one of them, you may want to consider picking up Destiny for the PS4 so that you get a little more for your money. This ongoing trend of vendor exclusive pre-order perks and console exclusive content is really spiraling out of control and Destiny is a major example of this issue.

At the time of this writing, there are two announced DLC expansions for the game, with more expected in the future. This has also drawn a bit of ire from gamers, as several players have managed to actually access certain areas in the game that are not supposed to be available until the DLC is released. While there’s nothing to actually do in these locations at this time, the fact that they are already in the game suggests that the developers were working on this content before the game’s release and are now going to be charging players more money to unlock content that they have already partially acquired with their original purchase. This “on disc DLC” is another major point of contention for many gamers.

As far as the game itself goes, I found the title to be fairly enjoyable. Admittedly, I did not play the game to completion. I grew tired with it before even reaching level 20 on my character. I reached a point in the game where the next missions assigned to me were too difficult to undertake on my own. So I would either need to wait for help from friends or I had grind bounties and missions in order to increase my level. After about three days of trying that, I was burned out. As a veteran MMO player, grind is nothing new to me. But at least in MMOs, there’s a bit of storyline to help things along. This was sorely lacking in Destiny.

To be fair, the developers have done pretty good at providing special in game events and seasonal content. But most of this content comes in the form of grindy raids and repeating the same missions over and over. To me, it seemed like all of the work of an MMO, without the same social experience or reward. Endgame in Destiny is very much gear based. The goal of many players eventually becomes one of having the best, most powerful gear. That’s nice, but it’s something that does not appeal to me personally.

If competitive FPS games are your thing, this might very be the game you are looking for. For me, it left a little to be desired. Destiny is beautiful and definitely worth a look, but there are a few rough edges that are hard to ignore. The biggest thing to know before going in to this game: it is best played with friends.

 

Difficulty: Variable –  The difficulty in this game is a mixed bag. Early on in the game, it is quite easy for a solo player to handle. However, later levels and content to require help of friends. If you don’t have any real life friends that are playing, the game does a good job of pairing with you random people. However, depending on your system – you may need a premium subscription to access some of these features.

Story: The storyline really has potential, but it seems a little shallow. It is expected that this will be fleshed out a bit as time goes on, but right now there’s only a skeleton of a story to be seen.

Originality: Most of the concepts in this game have all been seen before. But personally, I don’t think I’ve ever seen them all together in a single game. When I fired up Destiny for the first time, I really did feel like I was playing something new and fresh. This is good.

Soundtrack: The music in the game is very well done. It has a cosmic feel to it that fits the game perfectly. The score is dynamic and ramps up as you come under attack then fades back after the event is over. The voice acting in the game is excellent, although it can get a little repetitive at times.

Fun: Fans of multiplayer FPS games will probably get more from this title than others. The key to maximizing the enjoyment of this game, is playing with a group of friends. However, since the game is not cross-platform, you have the challenge of getting everyone on the same system. This can be difficult. I found the game enjoyable. But I wished it was geared to be a bit more solo-player friendly.

Graphics: Regardless of the system you play it on, Destiny is a gorgeous game. The PS4 version seems to win out just a hair over the Xbox One, but honestly its negligible. Everything in the game from the environment to the character models are amazing.

Playcontrol: Destiny is a controller-based game. For most players these days, that’s no big deal. For me, it took a little getting used to. I’m still a bit old school when it comes to FPS game. I like a mouse and keyboard. But I managed to get the hang of things. There are different types of weapons in the game, and each type handles a bit differently. I like this. At first, this aspect can make controlling the game a bit challenging, but you get used to it overtime. My experiences with PVP were quick to tell me that I was by no means a master as handling myself with this type of control scheme. But the game got much easier for me to handle the longer I played it.

Mature Content: Sci-Fi Violence

Value:  Destiny is a premium priced game. If you want the collectors editions, be prepared to shell out even more. The upcoming expansions cost even more on top of that. If you want to  experience most of the online content, you may need to pay even MORE for a PSN or Xbox subscription. Luckily, there no subscription fee for the game itself, and the developers continually release new content. But it still feels very lopsided for what you end up getting

Overall rating (out of four stars): 3 – I enjoyed my time with Destiny. But it was not a game that held my interest for long. The problem here for me, is that there is really no clear cut end-objective. The game has an MMO feel to it, without a lot of the same rewards. It’s rare for me not to finish a game that I review. But Destiny was just not a game made for me. That being said, it’s a great game and I know there are players out there who will absolutely love it. (I know a few). To me, if I want to play an FPS, there are other choices out there that are more suited to my liking.

Currently available on:  Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4

Other Reviews In This Series:

Destiny –   (  The Dark Below   –  The Taken King  –  Rise of Iron   )

Destiny 2 –  ( Curse of Osiris   –   Warmind    –    Forsaken    )

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