Feature: Destiny Multi-Review

it was bound to be the case that everyone had their own ideas and opinions…

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Review #4 – Kevin

Let’s get this out of the way first: I’m not a big shooter fan, but I love Destiny. I loved the Alpha. I loved the Beta. I love the final game. I’m not blind to its flaws, yet I love it anyway.

I did my best to eke out the campaign, replaying lots of missions with friends along the way, rather than just ploughing though them as fast as I can. As a result, I was already level 20 before I reached the last mission.

Once I reached it, I started to think about some of its flaws.

Yes, all the missions follow the same basic structure. Visit multiple places, press square, visit final place, fend off waves of bad guys and a boss. Yet the gameplay mechanics are such a pleasure, I didn’t find it became boring or repetitive at all.

The big problem is the story, or lack thereof. If I’m honest, it felt like one of those things where the creators spent so long on the project, working so close to it, that they lost sight of how the story was being conveyed – I assume that as more and more was stripped out, it was all fine because they knew what was going on, but forgot to make sure we did.

It was almost a criminal offence to stick all the back story on the Grimoire cards. Even if they’d just done the clichéd audiologs that could play as you discovered a dead ghost, for example, being able to listen to the back story and the lore as you played would have made a huge difference, and really help immerse you in the world. You’d then know who the Vex were, for example, and why the Fallen were fighting them on Venus (etc).

Who was the exo guardian with no ghost? I’d say “spoiler alert” here, but there isn’t enough story in the game to spoil, unless you class “which NPC gives you your end-of-story reward” to be a spoiler. Nothing was ever explained about who she was (unless I missed a Grimoire card), she pops up in two cut-scenes, one on the moon, one at the end (maybe one more in-between) but I’m still none the wiser as to who she is and why she’s there.

But having said all of that… I am still playing. I am now halfway between Level 22 and 23. According to the app I have played for 1 day 7 hours and 33 minutes, in 84 games, and have killed 5187 bad guys. My “you have completed the game” gun is now fully upgraded and is already feeling old and underpowered, and I am now on the grind to earn some Legendary gear to complement my current Rares. And maybe, one day… *whispers* an Exotic.

So yes, I love Destiny. Despite it’s flaws, despite Bungie’s future plans for new content being unclear (expansion packs excepting), despite a multitude of conflicting financial and reputation-related currencies, despite forcing me out of the game to understand anything, despite being coerced into replaying content over and over again to win a new hat…

I love it.

Destiny Review (3)

Review #5 – Iain

I’ve come to have one main, over-riding opinion of Destiny: it’s not a game to play alone. I’ve tried, believe me I’ve tried, but I just can’t quite buy into the idea of being a lone wolf, getting shot at by numerous foes without really knowing why they’re shooting at me. I stopped listening to the plot lines and cut-scenes once I realised I’d have to dig around the Bungie site to find the back story for myself, and a potentially deep and rich world just became a series of grinding and repeating missions. I could see why people might like it, but I couldn’t manage it myself. But with friends the game is a whole new beast – the story doesn’t really matter, it’s just you and a couple of mates working together to shoot some weird alien dudes before they shoot you harder. What was a previously impossible battle against a monster of a boss surrounded by 500 lesser creatures suddenly becomes a tactical team mission, giving various roles to different players to make the best of the situation.

But it falls apart a little when the levelling is taken into account. A friend only needs to be a few levels higher than you and their super-powerful weapons are wiping out the bad guys before you even have a chance to notice they’re nearby. On several occasions friends of mine joined my game mid-level and just annihilated everything in sight, having been able to plough far more hours into the game than I had at that point. I could change the game to invite-only, but it seems a shame to block people out. The wonkiness extends to the competitive multiplayer, where many elements are balanced to avoid huge advantages, but it’s clear that those with higher level abilities and equipment are very much in a better position. I found it incredibly frustrating when I was at a lower level.

But despite that, the game as a whole is pretty enjoyable under the right conditions. I like the fact I can choose the order of some of the missions. I like the fact I can go back and redo a level with lower powered enemies just to feel like I’ve made progress, and I like the fact I can just wander round large areas entirely aimlessly, with the occasional halt to shoot some folk or pick up a random mission to fill a few minutes. I like the way that you can form a Fireteam and move seamlessly from one level to the next, and I like the way the weapons feel, and let you customise your arsenal on the fly to suit your situation and surroundings. So with all those things to like, it seems strange to me that I don’t feel attached to the game. I’m not bored as such, but I don’t have the desire to jump back in every time I fire up the PS4, and the drive to pick up better gear and more powerful weapons just isn’t there. I can see why it would be for some, but I was just hoping for something a bit more epic from the off.

In the long term I suspect this will grow into something hugely spectacular, but with extra content already costing as much as the game itself it looks like the stereotype of Bungie which my Halo-playing friends painted for me is working to its full potential. I’m intrigued to see what Bungie and Activision do with Destiny in the coming years – if they can make it a more friendly and accessible game for those without the time to spend weeks on it without stopping for so much as a biscuit then I might be drawn back in. Until then, it’s in the “if only” pile.

Destiny Review (4)

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