If there’s one thing that Bungie is good at, it’s building up hype for their upcoming games. This was true with every Halo game(especially Halo 3) leading up to Bungie’s severance from their famed Halo series… and Microsoft. Destiny is now finally out in stores after a long wait and Bungie has once again brought the hype to a brand new IP. But is Destiny really all that you’ve been waiting for in a game? Is it really all you need?
Destiny is the newest MMORPG/FPS from developers Bungie studios, which was specifically made as a console-only exclusive. That being said, consoles have not had a great track record when it comes to MMOs. Most likely because of hardware limitations and the like. For those people who are used to playing MMOs on PC, you might feel a bit out of place as the server sizes are significantly more restrictive than most of the MMOs they may frequent on PC. Servers in Destiny only holds a small number of players which seems odd since it’s an MMO. Don’t let this turn you off from it though, as it’s specially designed server system makes Destiny’s world seem a lot more populated after a closer look. Destiny offers a nearly seamless server integration which easily allows you and other players to join and exit servers as they please. This helps make the servers seem more populated than they actually are. An area where Destiny falls a tad short, however, is the inability to play the game offline. Though it is an MMO, not having an option to play offline does seem to be a bit of an odd choice because it means you can’t play the campaign when you don’t have an internet connection, when Destiny servers are down or acting up, or when Xbox Live or the Playstation Network is down… which seems to be a growing issue lately. It’s understandable that Bungie wants the community to come together and make new friends but it just seems too forced for a game that could very easily be a singleplayer game.
Destiny separates it’s players into 3 different classes, each with their own unique abilities and upgrade tiers. The first class is the Titan, which specializes in armor. The second is the Warlock which specializes in what could be considered as magic. And finally there is the Hunter, which as it’s name might suggests, specializes in weaponry. In addition to players being upgradable, some weapons and armor are also able to be upgraded. Upgrading weapons is fairly easy. Simply fulfill it’s requirements and you will be able to make an upgrade on it. Destiny’s current level cap for all guardians sits at a solid 20 but it’s quite possible to continue making your guardian stronger though other means.
Destiny’s campaign has been shrouded in mystery from the get go. Even after the beta… which shed a tiny bit more light on what to expect from the final product, not much was known about this new world that Bungie had been crafting for several years. Destiny tells the story of a hero(or heroes) who is brought back to life by a 343 Guilty Spark-looking creature called a Ghost, who is your companion throughout your journey in Destiny’s frontier. Earth’s last safe city(in Russia) sits under the Traveler, a giant orb-like entity which helped human-kind colonize other otherwise uninhabitable planets such as Venus and Mars. Your heroes, or “Guardians” as they are known as, are the only hope for the human race and must drive away the evil alien races threatening your people’s last safe city. It may not be the most original of ideas, but it gets the job done. Destiny’s story is fairly short(6-12 hours) and ultimately leaves you with more questions than answers. But seeing as how Destiny has loads more to see and do than just the main story, this isn’t much of an issue.
Glitch-wise, Destiny is fairly clean in terms of game breaking bugs. Don’t take that the wrong way… there are bugs. But the bugs that have been encountered aren’t enough to ruin your experience. Most of the bugs left after the beta, are the ones that you need to be actively attempting to recreate. I personally had a few issues with achievements not unlocking when they should have but that’s not too big of an problem.
One of the more alluring features of Destiny is it’s absolutely breathtaking locales. Every grain of sand is gorgeous, every wave in an ocean is majestic, and every inch of the skybox within the levels is unique and mysterious. Some of the locations include Earth, the moon, Mars, and even Venus. With such a vast and open galaxy to explore, you can easily get lost in it’s beauty. It should also be noted that the size of each individual map is incredible and even if you get bored of doing main missions, there’s also a huge list of different things to help stave your boredom such as treasure/monster hunting, side missions, messing around with others in the Tower, and of course, multiplayer.
Destiny’s multiplayer is certainly interesting but it does leave a bit to be desired at first glance. On the awesome side, players can bring their weapons that they earned in the story mode with them on the battlefield. As well as their character’s upgrades in certain matchmaking hoppers. Also, the maps are just as beautiful in PvP as they are in the campaign. Spawning a vehicle instantly, anywhere and at any time, is also a very useful feature for traversing the larger multiplayer worlds. Though the multiplayer is fun, it doesn’t really do anything super innovative at first. The multiplayer gets somewhat old after a handful of skirmishes, at keast until you reach a higher level. Once your Guardian gets upgraded enough, the multiplayer experience instantly becomes a fast, competitive, and highly entertaining shooter. If there’s anything about the multiplayer that’s less than impressive it is it’s lack of team objective-based gametypes. There are 4 modes of multiplayer in Destiny… Control(which is much like Halo’ Territories gametype), Clash(TDM), FFA, and Skirmish(3 vs. 3). Why is it, that in a game based on working together with your fireteam, is there only a single objective-based gametype? It doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. No CTF or anything like that?
Destiny is much more than a pretty face. It’s also got a beautiful voice. The environmental sounds within Bungie’s new universe might take you by surprise. The sound of water sloshing at your feet as you walk though puddles sprawled across the Frontier is sure to feel both authentic and realistic. It may not seem like much, but sound adds quite a bit of atmospheric realism to the world. You might even feel like you’re actually there.
And speaking of sound… Nothing sets the mood in Destiny quite like the music. Marty O’Donnell is (was) at the helm once again making sure every note was perfect. The musical score can range from slow and almost haunting melodies to a fast pace epic on the fly based on what’s going on. Nothing makes a raging firefight more memorable than the mix of beating drums and the blaring of various brass instruments. Add a pinch of gunfire and you’ve got yourself an absolutely breathtaking symphony of chaos.
One of the ways that the sound department falls a bit flat is the voice acting. Your Ghost’s voice acting, specifically. Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage lends his voice to the small, mysterious mechanical creature and his performance is less than stellar. It may just be that Bungie wanted your Ghost to constantly sound unenthused the entire game. Either way, it’s difficult to fall in love with this character the same way Bungie made me fall in love with Cortana in the Halo franchise. Kirsten Stewart is more enthusiastic than your Ghost, and that’s saying something. And to make things worse is that 70% of the dialog in Destiny is spoken by your Ghost. Your Guardian, and main character throughout the story has hardly any lines in comparison to you Ghost.
Probably one of the single most fun features that Destiny brings to the table is it’s random events. These events are scripted to occur at any time in certain areas in campaign mode. These events can range from fighting giant enemies to defending a point on the map from waves and waves of enemies of varying difficulty. You may take on these events with your fireteam(which consists of a maximum of 6 guardians). But you don’t need a fireteam to take these events head on as these events happen for everyone in the server within range of the event. This means you won’t have a fireteam, but you still won’t be taking on the challenge alone.
Bungie has finally brought us a great MMO to the consoles where other games have fallen short. Destiny mixes a first person shooter and a massive multiplayer online role playing game almost seamlessly with a gorgeous look and clean gameplay which will have you coming back for more, day after day… Unless the servers are down or if you are having internet issues. The wait is finally over, everyone. Destiny is out now on the Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, and the Xbox One for a cool $59.99. Why are you still reading this? Go buy it!