It’s been out for almost a week now and if you happen to visit any website or message board you’ll see that Destiny is getting quite the mixed reaction. And it’s quite clear why, a mixture of MMO and FPS, Destiny is a brave decision to try and meld these two worlds together. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s certainly ours.
Destiny is a hard one to explain, an amalgamation of Borderlands, Halo and an MMO, it’s proving to be quite the divisive game. With no early reviews due to the game always being online and, according to Bungie, needing to be played with an actual userbase (something we agree on) it meant a lot of people were discovering it for the first time and forums were full of discussion. Some positive, some negative. It’s been a while since a game has had such a variety of opinions.
Even after a week on release it’s still a difficult one to review. Like an MMO essentially what is being reviewed here is the base game, something that will evolve over time. With raids and special events already planned over the next couple of months this is a game that has the potential to get better and better. And that’s not to say the core game is bad, far from it.
The other two comparison mentioned at the start of this review are Borderlands and Halo. The Borderlands aspect coming with the teaming up and exploration of the world and the loot, but the core gameplay has far more in common with Halo than anything else. Unsurprising really when this is a Bungie game, when you enter a shootout everything just feels sublime. The best moments from Halo were not the cinematic moments (though those were nice), it was those moments when you’re in control of the action. Those massive open maps where you could plan your attack strategy, whether it was a full on frontal assault or sniping enemies from a distance. Destiny is very reminiscent of that.
There are no massive set pieces to be found in Destiny, no helicopters crashing down, buildings collapsing in slow motion as control is grabbed from your hands, you’re in control of everything. Whether this is what you want in an FPS these days is up to you, but in a world of COD-a-likes it’s a brave decision from Bungie to stick to its guns and distance themselves from the crowd.
A lot has been said about the lack of worlds to explore, and yes, there are only four planets available thus far, but that’s not to say there’s not a lot to do. Each planet coming with a variety of missions, from ones that progress the story, to Strike’s which are co-operative with up to two other players. The Strikes bringing our most tense moments yet, as the end bosses are just ludicrous, with massive pools of health and all teammates falling results in being sent back to the previous checkpoint. It brought back memories of Halo on Legendary.
Then there’s always the allure of loot, new weapons, armour and the like are found by completing missions and gathered from fallen enemies. New items are also able to be bought from the Tower, which acts as a hub world where you witness all other players walking around and, more often than not, dancing on top of buildings.
If you get tired of the single player then you can always take a trip to the crucible. This is where all the competitive multiplayer takes place with team deathmatches, free for all’s and objective game types. While Halo 2 is still the pinnacle of Bungie multiplayer shooters, Destiny definitely comes close in capturing that feel. And once again it all comes down to how solid the shooting feels, with each weapon feeling like it has its own tactical advantage, nothing feels overpowered. Level design is mostly of a high quality and (like single player), with constant updates this is going to be a massive time sink.
The area where Destiny really suffers is in the story department. Quite simply, there doesn’t seem to be much of one. You, as the Guardian are awakened (or something) by a Ghost, voiced by Peter Dinklage and are then just given various tasks from one planet to the other with barely a coherent thread between them. Honestly, we couldn’t tell you what the story is about other than aliens are bad, kill them all. A lot has been said about Dinklage’s performance as the Ghost, but he’s fine. Yes, he’s not as charismatic as the likes of Claptrap or even 343 Guilty Spark, but he’s not bad, just lacking a little in character. And that’s really what perfectly sums up destiny, it has all the great core gameplay, but in a game like this it needs a story and characters to really set it apart.
As a base for what may come after, Destiny is a great starting point. It’s clear Bungie aim to improve the experience and what they have here is a fine starting point that will hopefully evolve over time. Just don’t expect it to revolutionise the genre the same way Halo did.