Without a doubt, one of the most anticipated games of the year is Bungie’s “Destiny”. It’s not just me saying that, multiple media outlets are reporting that “Destiny” is the #1 Best Selling New IP of all time. It really does deserve it, in my opinion. It’s story is engaging enough to grab you, the game-play and mechanics are solid, and the visuals are stunning. All that being said, each of those points has their flaws. After a lot of thought, I’d compare “Destiny” to that cute girl you dated for a few years back in high school. She was absolutely beautiful, you got along famously, and she was great fun to play with, however there was just something missing there. Just like those high school relationships, if Bungie doesn’t come through and deliver, this is one of those relationships I don’t see lasting too long, but I’ll have fond memories of it for a long time to come.
The story in “Destiny” has interesting characters and races and each mission has it’s own narrative that ties into the overall story. The biggest problem, however, is that there’s not much sense of linear game-play in the game. The story has a direct A to B to C, however it doesn’t exactly force you to play it in that order. If you want, you can skip a level 2 mission and do a level 3 mission and if you’re not looking at the level of the mission, it’s very easy to do them out of order. This results in a lot of players experiencing confusion with the story. The story and strikes don’t take too long to complete. I’m a week in and I completed the story missions in the first week only playing a couple hours a night. That being said, I had so much fun that I’ve played some of the missions 4-5 times and I know I’m going to play them again. You also feel absolutely no story-based reason to ever return to the Tower, the social and contact hub. While there’s major characters there like The Speaker and the Vanguards, there’s no sense of connection. Missions end in talking to them, but you don’t get a cutscene or communication. They give you an item and you’re on your way. The game has acres of lore but it feels like rather than integrate a great deal of it, Bungie made it part of the mobile app and you can wander off and read it if you want.
The Game, Itself:
Destiny offers 3 playable classes as well as 3 distinct races. I use the word “distinct” but that only applies to their appearance. Choosing an Awoken over an Exo or Human changes absolutely nothing about your stats or the game, it just changes what your emotes look like. If Bungie were serious about the game, they’d give us a reason to play an Awoken over an Exo like stat bonuses or story differences. The same goes for equipment. I find myself wishing that there was some difference between how Exo’s looked and Humans looked when they’re suited up. I’ll use Titans as an example. All Titans look the same if they have the same type of armor. I think the game would’ve felt a lot more deep if each race had visual differences in the armor. Humans could have combat armor, Awoken could have elven-ish armor with filigree and inlaid designs, and instead of armor the Exo (since they’re sentient robots) could just have mechanical armor plating.
There’s also the little, nit-picking things like the fact that the gravity on the moon is exactly the same as every other planet. They could have made it great if each environment had a gravity similar to the real world equivalent so that you had to factor gravity into your gameplay, not only in Story Mode, but in Multiplayer as well.
Destiny is an absolutely stunning game, no doubt about it. However it suffers from the same thing that all multi-platform games suffer from in that it’s not all that it could be. You get the distinct feel that if they didn’t have to develop for the 360 and PS3 that the graphics could have been that much better. I went back and replayed Killzone: Shadow Fall and in the rain effects, alone, you could see the difference. Rain in Destiny is obviously sprited. You see it falling, but it doesn’t run off your weapon or the enemies. In Killzone: Shadow Fall, not only is there rain, but it runs dynamically off of the windows, people’s faces, and the weapons. Not only that but in Destiny while you cast a shadow when standing in a light, Shadow Fall has a dynamic volumetric lighting that extends a sense of realism to the surroundings. I understand the financial reasons for releasing on as many platforms as possible, but it also creates limitations.
I know it seems that I’ve been overly critical, but i should reiterate that I absolutely love this game and I know that it’s in it’s infancy. Back when World of Warcraft came out it was small. It’s had almost 10 years and multiple expansions and tweaks to get to where it’s at today. Destiny has a 10 year plan and, based on what I’ve seen so far, it has the potential to out-do WoW by leaps and bounds. That being said, it also has the potential to die a horrible death if Bungie doesn’t play their cards just right. Overall it gets a 9 out of 10 on my cute, fuzzy hamster scale of game awesomeness.