Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Destiny Review (PS4)

From the creators of Halo comes Destiny! That alone screams hype and sets expectations high for Bungies new IP and non-Xbox exclusive, Destiny.

Destiny, admittedly I could never work my head around on paper. The premise of an always online shooter that isn't quite a MMO doesn't translate well to preview articles or P.R pieces, not for me anyway. Not until I put a couple hours into the Destiny Alpha. At some point after I had shot down loads of Aliens, geared up, taken down a giant purple eyeball and wandered around shadowing other players for giggles did I understand Destiny. I stopped playing, didn't touch the Beta and put my pre-order cash down. Now just over a hundred hours into the final product I feel like I have enough experience to review this huge game.

As someone to have never touched a Halo game I didn't come into Destiny expecting a grand story as some have, I did however expect a story. Be prepared for little of that though. Somewhere between words like --- The Traveler! --- The Darkness! --- Guardian! --- Lies a story about good vs evil and what it really all boils down to is just, shoot stuff. Which I'm okay with. I never payed any attention to Diablo's story either. The disappointment hits when the premise, world and inhabitants seem so interesting, but alas there is no material to back any of it up. If you want to get into to the minutia of Desinty's lore be prepared to hit up Bungies website and read the back of Grimoire cards which you unlock playing. That's right be prepared to go elsewhere, not in your game.

Visually Destiny is beautiful. If you wasn't playing it week of release I'm sure your social media outlet of choice was spammed with screen shots of the game. Each of the three planets and the moon vary enough to not feel like your re-treading same ground. Each also showcase stunning scenery and beautiful sky/space backdrops to slow pan around.

Destiny shines at its gameplay and specifically its shooting mechanics. Gun play wise it is near perfect as you can get. Weapon types varry enough to warrant experimentation and with certain weapons infused with elemental damage, switching around is a must to take down certain enemy shields.

Making your way through all the apparent story missions might put you around level sixteen or seventeen. Destiny begins to hit its stride when you hit level twenty and make your way into the PVP area The Crucible and star hitting up strikes and raids.

Hitting the technical level cap of twenty you can begin to work on your light level. This will allow you to go above and work towards the real level cap of thirty, but only by acquiring better legendary and exotic gear. Getting legendary and higher gear comes from engrams which then need to be decrypted by a merchant in the HUB esq world called The Tower. Pre patch 1:02 this was a grueling affair. The excitement of finding a legendary engram would almost certainly lead to despair when it decrypted into a rare or uncommon item. Fortunately Bungie changed this and legendary will always be legendary now, why the system wasn't like this to begin with or changed faster out the gate from players back-lash I don't understand.
The hunt for better gear and parts to upgrade your gear is the bread and butter of Destiny. Embark on a high level strike (a three man mission with a boss at the end) or have a go at a daily heroic story mission (added difficulty and modifiers) which offers good rewards for completion. Be prepared to put up with repetitive and non-inspired mission structure however. The majority of which simply involve pressing a button to make your ghost start working on a door or something alike and then shooting anything that comes in the room. Making your way to the final boss where he will soak up and take a million bullets to hit and with no real strategies to make the battle easier or faster they become tiresome.

Other materials for upgrading your items can be found randomly in chests and spread out in planets areas. Farming these materials is the most MMO like aspect of Destiny. I suggest putting something else on to watch or listening to something while farming materials, it's not exactly fun.

I mentioned I'm one-hundred hours into Destiny. The thing is, I doubt I would have out close to that into it without playing with friends. Aside from visual emotions of pointing, waving and dancing you won't be able to communicate with random players. The ravaged world out there is a lot lonelier by yourself, trust me and grab a friend or two.

PVP in Destiny tries to handle the fact that some players will have advantages of gear and level by evening the stats across the board.  Weapons special skills still stay however so even though your Shotgun might do as much damage as the enemies his has full auto and guess who wins that fight? These little factors can be annoying but that don't completely unbalance PVP. The Crucible is a lot of fun. The majority of the maps are well designed and fun. You have standard death match affairs but I spent the majority of my time playing control. A capture the points and kill stuff in between game and it's simple but fun.    

Bungie put together a cast of great actors for Destiny unfortunately that money was down the drain. Your ghost, a small robotic sidekick that revives you at the start of your adventure is a voiced by Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones)   a fantastic actor. Here he sounds bored or I'd like to believe was simply badly Directed. Bill Nighy (Underworld) voices The Speaker, who speaks for the giant orb thing called the Traveler --- or something like that --- who spends most of his time telling you that he could be telling you, that he could be telling you some plot detail, but he isn't. Destiny literally cock blocks itself from it's own plot in some play to appear mysterious.

Destiny has one Raid available. At one-hundred hours I haven't played it. It is apparently a really length mission that requires lots of teamwork and it supposed to be pretty darn hard. I'd love to play that! Unfortunately Bungie made the decision that it was to hard for non pre-organised groups of players and didn't include match making. To play it you will need A) high level players B) all be available at the same time for a long amount of time and then --- attempt the raid. It's really annoying that I have friends all playing Destiny and are high level but can we all organize around work and such to play at the same time? Nope.  

The world of Destiny is beautifully unfulfilled with friends and enemies designed better than their history and story deserves. Shooting mechanics and  gear are varied, fun and satisfying. Fortunately shinning moons and shiny loot drops won't help outshine Desiny's biggest issues. But be damned if Destiny simply isn't a lot of fun and even funner with friends. With the work and feedback Bungie has taken so far I can see Destiny becoming only better over time, akin to the MMO's it has taken elements from. At the time being it is an okay shooter though and requires acceptance of all it's issues to get enjoyment out of. Get to that fun however and Destiny can be rather addicting.

+ Art/Soundrack
+ Crucible
+ Co-op Fun
- Story Paper Thin
- Mission Structure
- Bosses and Sponges


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