Not everyone can become legend
Destiny can be looked at from two different angles: A technical and graphical masterpiece, or you can see it as a dull run-of-the-mill shooter. Destiny has the fundamentals of gameplay down, but it never does anything extraordinary besides looking really pretty. In theory, Destiny should be one of the greatest first-person shooters of all time, but its less-than mediocre story, awful world building and lack of variety restricts it from becoming legendary.
Destiny is a graphical masterpiece in this new generation of video game consoles. Everything is smooth and crisp, and the backdrop is grand in scale. The minute you are dropped on the moon or Venus, you stop for a minute to gaze at the horizon, not because you can, but because you want to. The draw distance is wide, textures are polished and everything has a sense of sheen. The technical aspects of Destiny is astounding, but you’ll soon come to realize that there isn’t much to look at.
The three planets and the Earth’s moon are all closed-open world environments. If you wander too far off of the beaten path, you’ll run into an “invisible wall,” which are the endpoints of the map which can not be explored. The areas to explore aren’t small exactly, but you’ll be revisiting the same areas over and over again to do missions. Besides the enemies that are thrown in a pocket of an area for you to kill, the planets are absolutely empty. Exploring worlds boils down to hopping on your sparrow for one minute, stumble upon a group of enemies to kill, hop back on the sparrow and continue onto your mission.
The story missions of the game continue that repetitive trait, as they proceed in a very formulaic way. Clear out a few rooms, deploy your ghost, listen to exposition, defend a room, mission complete. Patrol missions are even worse, as they task you with the same standard missions repeatedly without anything interesting happening. Strike missions are only better because of the bosses you usually fight at the end, but there isn’t much of a pay-off there either.
The enemies of Destiny are smart enough to think up a few tricks, but you’ll soon grow wise to them because there is only four different factions.
Destiny’s biggest flaw by a mile, is its inanimate story. The level of interest peaks at the very opening mission of the game, as your dead body is revived by your “ghost,” a floating A.I device voiced by Peter Dinkalage. The ghost tells you that he’ll answer your questions later, but he never does. Almost nothing is explained, and the little information that they give is meaningless. No context about the game’s story is given, and at the end of the game you’ll still be asking the same questions you had at the beginning of the game; just don’t even bother asking anything.
Destiny’s story isn’t exactly painful to sit through, it is just non-existent. You met The Speaker and the Stranger during your travels, but they both say the same thing. They both tell you that they COULD explain what’s happening, but they don’t have the time to do so. All other sources of info comes from your ghost, who is a dreadful little machine that somehow never shuts up, but also never says anything useful. It is just boring, meaningless exposition used to set a flimsy illusion of a story.
Besides being a graphical spectacle, the best thing about Destiny is how the game plays. Halo fans will be right at home no matter what character class you go with. Your customization options are very limited to three races and a few skins, but the real choice that matters is if you want to be a Warlock, Titan or Hunter. The three classes play differently enough to inspire players to try all of the classes for themselves, but that will just lead to more grinding of the monotonous missions.
Finding new gear and weapons can take hours if you don’t know what you are doing. Loot crates are very rare, and when you do find one, the chances of you picking up a useful item is very low. Mostly, you’ll receive weapons after completing a mission, beating a boss, or finishing a competitive match, but even then, your reward may be too small. To make a small comparison, in a game like Borderlands, you’re constantly rewarded with loot and defeating an enemy is like stumbling on an oil mine. Destiny on the other-hand, you’ll get one or two items from defeating a boss. It feels like an endless grind to get something significant, and by significant, I mean finding a weapon slightly stronger, that looks slightly different from the last. What’s even worse is finding a super powerful weapon that you can’t use because it is tied to a specific character class. Did I mention that you can’t trade weapons with other players?
Arguing that the game doesn’t get good until you hit level 20 is pure crap. So I’m supposed to grind through repetitive missions and a dead story for hours just to get good weapons and a fun game? Doesn’t work like that, Bungie.
Destiny tries to be so many things, but it doesn’t get much of the fundamentals down. Destiny wanted to be this social experience that brings players together to tell epic stories about their adventure, but tell me, how can you do that without communication options? Destiny has a social hub world that most MMOs have, but there is no way to talk to other players. No text box, chat features, or anything that allows basic contact. The best thing you’ll get with a random player is dancing with them for whatever reason.
Destiny is the middle ground of gaming. It gets the gameplay right, and with friends it is very entertaining. However, if you are going in alone or for the story, it is almost unplayable. The game’s graphics and soundtrack are great to take in, even though there isn’t much to explore or see things you haven’t seen already. Destiny is missing a lot of puzzle pieces, but it isn’t completely devoid of entertainment. Because Destiny tries to be a master of all trades, nothing in Destiny seems fleshed out, so it manages to be a failure of all trades.
Overall: 6.25 out of 10
Disclaimer: This review is for the Destiny that launched September 9th, 2014. Any patches or Downloadable content added to the game after the first week did not go into account in this review.