Well, this took a while…
Destiny has been my life for the past few weeks. Every day, all day, Destiny non stop. Now that should tell you something about the game. I took my time, slowly, killing Valus, Sepiks, Draksis and the other bosses 10 times a day, watching the same “boring” cut-scenes 20 times a day, grinding my way through the levels and collecting enough scrapmetal and relic iron to build a Death Star… all this should tell you something about the game.
I didn’t wanna be like pretty much everyone else when it came to reviewing Destiny. I didn’t want to publish a “review” one or two days after “playing” Destiny. I mean sure it would have been pretty easy to just bash the game for the weak storytelling and the “lack of” content giving it a 6/10 and calling it a day as many did. I didn’t or better say, couldn’t do any of that cause it wouldn’t have been fair.
Don’t get me wrong Destiny is far from being the perfect game with many small and some big stupid problems, but the overall experience is just great. I think of myself as a Destiny veteran as I was among the few first ones to play the Alpha, then the Beta and by what I wrote back then, you can understand that I was pretty excited by the game. Thing is, I am still excited about the game…
Even though I’ve done the same missions and strikes hundreds of times, I still like to play through them. I still like to grind collecting massive of materials to upgrade my gear. I still like completing the same 10 bounties over and over again leveling up the different factions. I still like to play the five or more Crucible (PVP) maps depending from the modes. I still play Destiny and by the looks of it, I will for a long time. This is a true testament to how engaging the gameplay truly is. The gunplay, since most of the time is spent shooting things, is just phenomenal. I said it before and I will say it again, the level of satisfaction it offers is well, unprecedented.
Far Cry, Call of Duty or Battlefield, all have good to great gunplay, but Destiny, I think, has got it perfect. The recoil of the guns, the kick or the “UMPFff” as I like to call it behind every gun, is uber satisfying. Scoring a headshot with the fully upgraded Lord High Fixer from hundreds of feet away while jump-boosting is just boner fuel. Or clearing a massive group of Hive or Fallen with just one perfect rocket is…oh my god. Or blasting someone close-quarter with a shotgun is on a whole another level from what you might have experienced before.
The same love and attention has been given to the player traversal. Each of the locales or planets in Destiny is big, like really big and getting from a place to another by running, jumping, gliding and the Sparrow ride is just well, fun. The paths are filled with jumps and gaps so boosting over them with the hoover bike is really fun and it becomes even more enjoyable when you “race” with a friend or a total stranger.
A total stranger I say, but what does that mean? Destiny is a “weird” game when it comes to categorizing it into an established genre. Yes, it is a FPS game at heart, but it also has MMO-ish like features like no FPS before. You are never alone while playing the game. It doesn’t matter if you are in a mission, strike or just patrolling around, you are never alone. But the thing is that you don’t have to do anything, the game mix and matches you with other random players dropping them in and out your game, think like the Journey experience although not that personal. What I am trying to say is that the game doesn’t really force you to play with other players, these encounters just happen. And when they happen, you are brought into a new and awesome co-op experience.
The sky will turn dark and a random public event will begin with a simple task like take down a difficult miniboss or protect a satellite and you while at first you might be totally alone, new players will join you either by “server magic” or you will see them speeding towards you on their Sparrows to lend a hand. No invite, no communications or interactions needed, it just happens and the result it is f*cking amazing. Or you can be “farming” for materials in a zone, running from one “loot cave” or chest to another and you will see that other people will join you, simple as that. This level of (non)interaction is pretty much unseen and the best thing is that it works so fine.
What doesn’t work so fine is the storytelling and apparently this was the main cause of why “everybody hated/s Destiny”. Now to tell the truth, the story will not blow you away with unexpected twists or epic set-pieces and badass moments like we have get used from FPS games, but in my opinion that is easily justified. Destiny has, as I said, MMO-ish elements one being that every player’s character plays the role of the main character, but since there are like 10 million unique players, what you accomplish and your achievements equal to nothing in this shared world. It has no effect that you killed Draxis a hundred times or if you mowed down a billion Hives, nothing changes in the universe. If everyone is a Legend then no one really is a Legend per se. You are not playing as Master Chief who has the fate of the universe on his shoulders. You play as just an expendable soldier on a massive chess game, with no gravitas, and if you fail who f*cking cares? Maybe Dinklebot and the other generic characters without a bit of personality? I don’t believe that so I am not going to give Bungie crap about the storytelling, cause again do people play World Of Warcraft or any other MMO for its storytelling?
Of course not! What every MMO and Destiny in this case lacks in storytelling, they make up with the outstanding lore behind and the two shouldn’t be entangled with each other. The whole premise of Destiny is well, fantastic to say the least. A mythic science fiction setting like we have never heard, seen or played before, where space and future technology gets mixed up with magic and other fantastical elements. We have an apocalyptic event called The Collapse, a benign giant white hover ball pretty much symbolizing God called The Traveler, the evil called The Darkness, the fuel of badassery – Light, magic, wizards, ancient aliens, evil robots, Rasputin, rocket boots, hover bikes, spirit bombs and the list of awesome stuff continues. While some are dropped here in there throughout the story, if you want learn more about all of this awesome stuff, you have to get out of the game, head to Bungie.net and read through text, lots and lots of text, but ain’t nobody got time for that. A simple audio logs system would have been perfect, but hey…
Another “problem” that “reviewers” had with Destiny was the “lack of” content. So to play through all of the stuff just once will take you around 15 to 20 hours to complete. You also have the PVP part with 5 different modes which are a ton of fun if you give it enough time to learn how to really play them, understanding how all the elements work together, that basically you can play forever. On top of all this you have The Raid which is like a totally separate game altogether, a giant separate area filled with puzzles, platforming, unique enemies culminating with two unique boss fights. All of this more than justify the 60$ asking price.
To see more screenshots captured directly from the PS4, click here.
But Destiny has been built from the ground up to be replayed over and over again without getting annoying. The level difficulty and level cap play a big role in the matter. After you finish the main story, you should have already hit the level 20 cap. To progress further, you need to get gear with Light infused into them. OMG now I need to talk about the loot system now…f*ck this is going to be a long review…
So you can reach level 30 by equipping legendary, raid or exotic gear which you can get as random drops in form of Engrams, buy from Xur or from the vendors at the Tower, find in chests or get from the Crucible. The legendaries are cool and all, but the exotics, that’s where the money’s at. Finding a piece of exotic gear, is a special moment. Upgrading it to the max, is an even more special moment. Finding out that it also has a special effect, that’s just the cherry on top. The same can be said about the exotic weapons, especially the ones you can get from the exotic bounties which require you to work for hours before you get your hands on these badass weapons with unique stats and effects. Better loot equals higher level and higher level grant you the access to complete high level missions which pay out with better rewards. See how everything is tied together?
The Tower, that serves as the main hub of the game. It’s a relatively big area where all the vendors have set up shop, but more importantly is the main area where you can and will meet other players that you can invite to join on your adventures. The invite mechanic uses the platform’s own party or invite system so it kinda works. However I would have preferred if the game had its own internal invite system, something like GTAV has, cause lets say it, the PS4 invite and message systems are broken at the moment as we are speaking. Inviting and messaging someone takes ages and most of the times it will just fail to go through all of the process. Frustrating stuff…
But since Destiny is probably the most beautiful game out there at the moment, you always have something gorgeous to look while playing the frustrating waiting game. The use of vibrant colors coupled with the revolutionary lighting engine and the larger than life skyboxes, make Destiny a treat for your eyes. The draw distance is massive with incredible vistas in the horizon, there is no texture pop-in whatsoever and everything is super detailed, from the rusting carcasses of airplanes, tanks, ships in Earth to the lush jungles of Venus to the barren wastelands of Mars. Then you have the beautiful and epic soundtrack which will burst out your headphones during the intense moments of the game raising everything up to 11. There are only a few examples that have perfected this synergistic effect between art design and sound design and I believe Destiny stands at the highest peak. It is something you have to experience yourself to really get it.
Bottom Line: I am saying it again, Destiny is far from the perfect game. It had quite a few problems that Bungie fixed, but there are still many left to deal with. However the future seems bright, new and improved events like the Iron Banner will return, the loot system might get revamped (again!), and then there is the upcoming The Dark Below DLC which looks great with a new Raid, new missions and new Exotic gear (sweet!). Throughout this review I tried to list every positive and negative, but I might have forgotten one or two from either part. It doesn’t really matter in the end, yes the storytelling sucks and you might argue about “lack of” content, but what is there is f*cking great!
Think of Destiny like wine; the older it gets, the better it gets and for a month and a half old one, Destiny is an exquisite wine! Thanks for reading!