So what is Destiny? Is it a MMO? A competitive multiplayer shooter? An action filled story driven space opera? The marketing behind Destiny makes you believe that it is an entirely new genre of game that mixes social aspects of an MMO and the gameplay of a modern day first-person shooter thats never been attempted before. But Destiny is a definite dungeon crawler that looks gorgeous, plays fantastic, but overall, is a complete mess.
Bungie’s first game in the last 10 years without the word ‘Halo’ is structured around a campaign that had me confused in the first several hours upon playing it.
The plot — or lack thereof — is where I first noticed Destiny’s potential and its failure to live up to it. The universe Bungie has created here operates on a simple premise: Humanity (alongside a few other friendly races) explored and populated huge swaths of the known universe during a Golden Age, until some mysterious force known as “the Darkness” halted that progress and pushed back. Humanity is now down to one thriving city, and all that remains elsewhere is ruins and wreckage.
Bungie has crafted an astoundingly beautiful and detailed series of ruined worlds to support that fiction, but Destiny seems scared of taking players to the most interesting parts. That devastated city you can see on the skyline? Yah, It’s going to remain a background fixture while you’re stuck running through bland, look-alike factories and “warbases” over and over.
The most exciting part of running through these generic spaces is often stumbling across other players, who will sometimes populate the same area as you while you’re on a mission. You’ll never more than a handful at a time, and the game rarely gives you any reason to actually interact with these players, but it can be fun to temporarily team up to take down a group of enemies.
Branching off from the campaign Destiny offers what are called ‘Strike Missions’. These strike missions are where you’ll end up spending most of your time while in Destiny if you don’t chose to play The Crucible – Bungie’s lackluster attempt at competitive multiplayer in Destiny. But we will touch base on that here shortly. Strike missions are your cookie cutter dungeon crawls that you would find in games such as Diablo and Neverwinter Nights. Fight through waves of enemies, encounter mini boss battle, fight some more enemies, FINAL boss battle. Collect loot. Repeat. Though Bungie does it well, it just was not what I expected when picking up Destiny.
If the dungeon crawling aspects of Destiny is not your cup of tea then maybe you would like to get up close and personal with some PVP competitive multiplayer.
Destiny’s competitive component takes place in the Crucible — a special selectable playlist that includes control point, team deathmatch and free-for-all modes taking place in ten competitive maps.
If there’s any place to talk of Bungie’s legacy, it would be here. Three modes and just four multiplayer environments feels like an afterthought, especially in comparison to the Halo series’ ever-swelling roster of locations. But the number of maps isn’t the problem.
Instead, the Crucible’s biggest failing is its reliance on your character’s progression to power you through against other players. While damage numbers for weapons are evened out, you remain at the mercy of other players’ weapon types and skills, especially against players who find the motivation to grind on beyond level 20.
You’re also at the mercy of class abilities that were tuned to look cool in cooperative play rather than balanced for multiplayer. This became most obvious the second or third time a Titan player’s air-stomp splash damage killed everything in a six-foot radius. The care and refinement that defined Bungie’s previous multiplayer efforts just doesn’t seem present. Hopefully Bungie can address these issues allowing new players throughout the holiday season to jump into a multiplayer game in an instant without becoming immediately frustrated.
Repetition is everything is Destiny. The sole fundamentals of the game are to collect loot in order to obtain a cool weapon or piece of gear. Level up that certain item so you can gain access to even COOLER gear, and repeat. Loot and items are obtained throughout all areas of gameplay in Destiny. But if you want to purchase that badass looking sniper rifle appropriately named ‘THE FINAL BOSS” you have to strictly grind out countless hours in The Crucible in order to obtain it or become lucky and hope the Destiny gods are nice to you and acquire it from a random item drop in a strike mission.
With all of this said, is Destiny a terrible game? No. Destiny is an enjoyment that has had me locked away in my room for countless hours already. Even though it has had its launch day flaws and disappointments. The most important thing to remember about Destiny is that is has potential… lots of it. When Activision and Bungie announced that they would be making a 500 million dollar investment into Destiny over the span of ten years. That alone had me believing that Bungie had big plans for this game through its lifespan. With a week into release we’ve already seen the release of its first raid, which took the first players over TEN HOURS! to complete and DLC planned to be releasing in December. This is only the beginning for Destiny. I’m quite excited to see if Bungie can keep me coming back for more in the coming months.