Destiny has arrived. After years of being shackled to the Halo franchise, Bungie has broken free and has created their long-awaited new series. And man, if there was an award of the most hyped game for the year of 2014, it would be this game. You could not turn on the t.v., much less a street corner without running into some kind of promotion for Destiny. Yea, it was pretty much everywhere. Even the cashier at Wal-mart who sold the game could not stop talking about how great this game was and how this was the best the Bungie had ever created since the last Halo. So, was the colossal hype worth it and is Destiny the greatest thing this side of the stratosphere?
Now before the troves of Bungie fanboys start beating down my door clamoring for my head, let me start this review by saying the game is not terrible. It’s actually pretty encaging and addictive once you get into it. It’s one part first-person shooter, two-parts MMO with some elements of Borderlands sprinkled on for some added flavor.
Yes, contrary to belief, there is actually a story to this game. Although after playing it a good couple of days, I’m starting to wonder why Bungie even bothered. The game starts with the briefest of intros, giving a little bit of backstory. Upon humanity’s first trip to the planet Mars, astronauts made the discovery of The Traveler, a gigantic planet-like celestial being which contains vast amounts of knowledge.
Within a manner of seven-hundred years, humanity achieves exceptional levels of technological advance. It is a prosperous period of space exploration, peace, and technological advancement called The Golden Age. Humans have spread out and colonized planets until an event called “the Collapse” brings on the mysterious destruction of these colonies as well as the Golden Age. A force known as “The Darkness” which has seemingly been hunting The Traveler through out the galaxy has now caught up to it and humanity is now the brink of extinction. The survivors flee to the only city left standing on Earth, who are then saved by The Traveler, sacrificing itself against The Darkness. The Traveler now hovers above the last safe city on Earth, seemingly dormant and lifeless but its presence allows the Guardians — a collective group of defenders of the City — the ability to wield an unknown power gifted from The Traveler.
Following the Collapse, mankind’s attempts to repopulate when it is discovered that hostile alien races called The Fallen have occupied mankind’s former colonies and civilizations and are now threatening to encroach upon the City. The player takes on the role of one such Guardian, chosen from three different races that has been resurrected from the dead, and is tasked with the goal of reviving the Traveler while investigating the alien threats before humanity is completely wiped out.
Honestly, the heart of Destiny isn’t in its story (more on that later) but it’s multiplayer. While most gamers would say that having to be online in order to play would be something of a burden, here not so much. At any time, the player may come across other players going about the world on their own missions and at any time, outside players can join in a four-man fire team. While this would seem annoying having strangers join in your game, it actually proves to be a great advantage. Gameplay is clearly designed to more of a group experience rather than it be the player as a one-man killing machine. With features such as accepting bounties and strike missions to defeat more advanced bosses who withhold greater loot, having a powerful team is a must.
The multiplayer is truly addicting. Bungie has successfully carried over what made the Halo’s multiplayer so engaging and given it a much broader playground for players to play in, both cooperatively as well as competitively. Whenever you’re playing in a team on the field or battling against other players in the Crucible to help level up your character and score legendary loot, there is something that will get you hooked.
There’s something to say about hype – when it works, it works well.
I have never been much of a Halo fan, but despite that, even I knew the franchise had an interesting and involved story plot that fans loved. Going into Destiny, I have expected to see the same thing. This regrettably was not the case. Perhaps the biggest let down of Destiny and certainly the weakest element of the entire game is its story. In truth, there isn’t one.
Imagine a world where everyone knows exactly what’s going on…except for you. And little to no time is spent introducing the world to you or the inner workings of who and what has been going on. Never at any point was there a moment where anything was ever explained to me. I ran over for three days playing the main story, hoping that something, anything, would happen that would maybe take the time to explain where the world was at. Bungie created a fascinating world but gave no substance. The locations in the game are uninspired and will begin to feel stale after awhile. Not even the three characters whom the player can choose from have anything to them. There are no back-stories and the separate races are merely in the game from astatic purposes. Story-telling is so vague that ultimately it feels like more as an after thought which results in little emotional attachment or investment. Missions and bounties in the game are fun but will gradually become repetitive and dull after awhile of doing the same ones over and over again just for the slim chance of getting higher level gear.
It should be noted that as you play, you will get information about the enemies you defeat added to your “grimore”, but will require that you go onto the Bungie website to read them. Forgive me, but any game that requires me to stop playing for anything loses points with me.
Sadly, Bungie missed out on a great, great opportunity here in creating a truly masterful game. They had an interesting concept and open invitation to introduce the gaming community to a whole banquet of characters but gave it nothing to grow on aside from repetitive multiplayer with nothing more to it than farming points. It’s by no means not fun, but for such a well-known company with such a well-known game behind them, I had expected so much more.
OVERALL RATING – 7/10