Review by perrywarrend
Destiny is not what it was destined to be.
Hey, guys! It's time for another game review! This time we'll be reviewing Bungie's very ambitious game, Destiny. Will the hype bring Bungie's first foray into Playstation territory into legendary status; or will this be one of those over-hyped games that fall short to meet everyone's expectations? Read on and find out!
Well, no surprise here. Most of us who've played the Alpha and Beta builds didn't get hyped for Destiny for the story. I looked forward to playing Destiny for the "grind" and to see what else the game has to offer after life at level 8, but we'll get to that later. The story had so much potential if only they had built the game around it, sadly they did not. The story itself is nothing more than light narratives that barely contain anything that will get you interested or vested in the characters' ordeals. This is probably the first game I didn't care much for the plot and just wanted to shoot stuff and level up. Now for some, that can either be a good thing or a bad thing. If you're looking for a game with an epic story, look elsewhere.
Destiny is a beautiful game. It might not look real; more like realized concept art, and it doesn't fail to give you some "ooooh's and aaaah's" especially when you first explore planets, but that initial amazement sort of fades off quickly. This is such a fast-paced game that you'll rarely take the time to look around and observe all the eye candy the game has to offer. Usually, the story missions are meant for you to get absorbed in the world the game has to offer, unfortunately, it does not. The game does look sharp, but after playing most FPS's on 60fps, you can't help but feel this is graphically downgraded. Even the enemy models just look uninspired, and rarely was I impressed with how the enemies look. Kinda surprising considering you hop between planets and your enemies are limited to 3 or 4 types per species. With the power of current gen systems, I also expected the game worlds to be a bit more massive. Destiny is full of awe-inspiring back drops that you definitely want to go to. See those ruins of a city across the horizon under where the giant sphere at the Tower is? Skyrim would've allowed me to go there and explore. Unfortunately, Destiny decided to keep all the most interesting areas on the background and decided to let you explore the less interesting areas. I was hoping for a TLOU level of level design in which each set tells a story. The levels in Destiny, while definitely gorgeous, is more barren than the Borderlands.
The music in Destiny is good; provided you actually notice it. It might not give you that exciting feeling like Skyrim's music does, but for the latter parts of the game like Venus and Mars, it gets the job done. Though with all the shooting going on around you, we wont blame you if you don't notice it. As for the sound, every Pulse Rifle, Sniper Rifle, Machine gun, and Rocket launcher sounds crisp. It also sounds excellent on a home theatre setup as you can distinctly hear enemies coming at you from behind and Fusion Rifle rounds zooming past you. Peter Dinklage as your "ghost" falls short though. He just sounds disinterested and at times sounds like he doesn't even know what he's doing. I understand he's supposed to be a mechanical being of some sort, but it doesn't mean he should be devoid of any personality too. Otherwise, why use an a-list actor?
Aww, man. Destiny, I had such high hopes for you. I invested more than 40 hours on you waiting for something to happen, and I am still waiting. I am still unsure whether to classify this as an MMORPG, a shooter RPG, or just a plain FPS with some RPG elements thrown in. Though Bungie has gone on record saying THIS IS NOT AN MMORPG. The shooting mechanics in Destiny is SOLID. The "glide" system is good, and the melee attacks are awesome in their own right, but this is far from the "revolution" that Bungie claims Destiny to be. If this were a bare-bones shooter like Wolfenstein, it would've been perfect, unfortunately, it is not. Sure there are RPG elements, like levelling up and equipping better gear, but where's the crafting? The trading gear and items with your peers? The total customization of how you want your character to be? Even the character types are barely distinctive over their other peers, aside from one or 2 skills. They feel the same, play the same, and even use the same gear. It's cool though that you see other people in your game world at any time, but the game rarely gives you any reason to interact with them. Sure it's fun to gang up and take on a public event with the other people in your game world, but after that, you part ways and be like "meh."
Now I feel that the "grinding" deserves it's own paragraph as this is something I feel Bungie needs to address, and this is where Destiny disappointed me the most. GRINDING IN DESTINY SUCKS. Yeah, I said it. This is the most unrewarding grinding session I have ever encountered in a "grind-type" game. I have spent around 40+hours on Destiny and I am still stuck at level 22. Last time I grinded this long on a game was Diablo, and it got me to Paragon level 90. Some of you might say "yeah bro, that's really how grinding games are!" No it is not. The system Destiny has is more luck-oriented than actual grinding. A perfect example would be when a friend played with me on a Strike mission, I've been stuck on level 20 for quite some time, and my friend who just hit level 20 "found" a legendary engram, and zoomed his way onto level 22. Wow, it's like you've been slaving off at your work, only to find out this newer guy who "got lucky" got promoted way before you. It is not rewarding. This system is so flawed that when I found a piece of armour stronger than my current one, but with less "light," I found myself bumped down to level 21. That just sucks balls. The most fun you'll get from Destiny is from playing Strike playlists with your friends (or the Crucible if PVP's your thing) as it feels great playing with your friends and trying to take down big, bad, enemies together, but you'll soon find out that that aspect gets tired quickly. There is not much strategy in tackling these Titans other than run, shoot, and try to avoid their one-hit death attack, and the feeling after taking one down is not the fist-pumping feeling of satisfaction you get from other games like, let's say Dark Souls or Diablo, instead, it is more a feeling of relief that it's over. Enemy "elites" or Titans, to say the least, are BULLET SPONGES. It'll take you around 30 minutes to take one down, guaranteed. For that time you'd expect to get rewarded in spades, but surprise surprise, lucky you if you get a blue/purple engram (which happens VEEEEERY RARELY,) and a measly 2-3 Vanguard Marks and around 100-150 Vanguard Reputation. Guess how much a good piece of equipment costs? 120-150 VANGUARD MARKS. Thanks, Bungie! I can't help but feel that micro-transactions will be finding its way to Destiny soon.
Fun Factor: 8
Destiny IS a fun game, moreso if played with your bestest buds. Alone though, the "grinding" might wear you down quickly. I was expecting the system to be a bit more like Borderlands/Diablo, but I was sorely mistaken. Running around, shooting, zipping past through the interplanetary landscapes can surely be fun, but once you hit level 20, that's where it'll hit you; this is going to be a painful grind. As for the Crucible, I don't play it that much but from what I've read, even though the weapon damages are evened out, it's the gear and set skills that'll set you apart from the rest. This will need some balancing from Bungie as I've read countless times how the Titan's Air Stomp can quickly level a battlefield just like that. Also, while the Crucible may be a fast track at levelling, there's not much integration between the 2 game modes. In fact it is quite segregated. Either you boost your Vanguard Levels, or Crucible levels. Pick one. I should also mention that on the last story level, I was almost done beating the final boss(es) on Hard difficulty, amidst all the frustration on how much damage the final boss can take only to get disconnected from the game world and have to start ALL OVER AGAIN. Great fun!
Destiny could bring a lot of players back over and over again just for the grind, and in this sense, could bring countless hours of gameplay to some people. Unfortunately, you'll need a ton of patience to go through the sparse Strike types in hopes of getting that one piece of armor you need. As of writing, Destiny has 2 expansion packs yet to be released. I will update my review once they're out and see if they addressed any of the concerns majority of players have.
Destiny was not the open-world, massive shooter RPG I expected it to be. If they only integrated the Borderlands/Diablo system of levelling up, I would've given it a higher score. This "luck" system of grinding present in Destiny needs to go, and replaced with a more rewarding system. Destiny may have its highlights, and it is always fun to play with friends, even though it may get quite tedious, but I still have a lot of hope for Destiny. Bungie could address these problems with their upcoming expansion packs, or even a simple update, but for the love of me, if micro-transactions show up in this game, I'm done. Until then, Destiny is not what it was destined to be.
Rating: 3.5 - Good
Product Release: Destiny (US, 09/09/14)
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