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Destiny Review


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On 09/21/2014 at 12:00 PM by Casey Curran

Destined for satisfactory
RECOMMENDATION:

For people who want a competitive or cooperative shooter more than a campaign.

If there’s anything I will never call Destiny, it is modest. Bungie’s latest creation has been touting itself as the next evolution of shooters and the defining game of the eighth console generation. Some time with Destiny has proven these claims to be completely overblown. Not even close. Yet Destiny still delivers a solid, fun game with more than enough content to keep players busy.

Destiny blends dungeon crawling RPG with the first person shooter genre, allowing players to go through a variety of areas leveling up their character and gathering loot. Destiny offers three different classes: the bulky Titan, the sharpshooting Hunter, and the Jedi Biotic Adept Warlock. These classes, while not too distinct from one another, each have enough different perks and stat variations to stand out from one another. Picking a different class will not change how you play the game, but it will make your experience different enough to make all three worth trying out.

Each also has its own subclasses, which offer different grenades, tweaks to your stats, and their own supercharged abilities. These supercharged abilities work off a meter that’s filled up by dealing damage to enemies. Once full, they range from a single attack which deals massive damage to creating a bubble shield to briefly getting an incredibly powerful new weapon.

Players will level up these characters across four different areas: Earth, the Moon, Venus, and Mars. None of these areas are enormous, yet they are big enough that you will need to pull out your pod racer hover bike often to get around. These areas each offer their own linear and nonlinear segments played out through story missions, patrol missions, and strikes.

Patrol missions are nothing more than finding beacons and offer a variety of objectives each based on the same principle: Follow the arrow and/or kill everything in your path to complete. Story missions follow this principle as well, but tend to lead you to more linear areas which take a longer time to complete, usually with Peter Dinklage either acting stoic or doing a terrible C-3PO impersonation and an unskippable cutscene. Occasionally the story missions will throw something really different, but do not expect the same variety present in Halo here.

Fortunately, the shooting is solid enough that the weak objectives are not as big of an issue as it seems. Enemy AI and variety are both fantastic, as your foes will require different tactics to take down and will remain hard to predict even during the later levels. The art direction also helps keep story missions from feeling stale, as every area looks fantastic and distinct from one another. Destiny may be pushing the power of the Playstation 4 and Xbox One, but that take away from the game’s beauty.

While the look of the planets amaze, the story taking place on them is awful. Destiny offers both an overly simple and very confusing tale. It was clear something terrible happened years ago and was going to get worse, but I never had any clue what any of the specifics were. To make matters worse, there are only three characters who have anything resembling a personality, each of whom make a brief appearance and may as well have a sign saying “I will return in future sequels/DLC.”

Strike missions, meanwhile, are hands down the best part of the game. These offer more challenge than the story missions, throwing greater swarms of enemies at the player ending with a brutal boss battle. These bosses are mostly bullet sponges, but with one exception these encounters are designed in a way that their high health adds to the challenge rather than tedium.

The competitive multiplayer (taking place in an area known as the Crucible) offers many tweaks from the Halo formula, but do not let these distract you: it is mostly more Halo. The tweaks do give it a refreshing twist for Halo fans, as waiting for grenades to charge, supercharged abilities, and allowing full access to your character’s current weapons do create their own unique scenarios. These do not quite give the game its own flavor, but feel more like turning Coca Cola into Cherry Coke.

The Crucible goes hand in hand with the core experience in a way I have never seen another game attempt as well. Playing enough multiplayer matches will build your reputation on the game’s main hub which will allow access to new weapons and armor. The Crucible also builds your experience, offering an alternative to level grind if you do not feel like repeating a mission or going after patrol missions.

Both competitive and cooperative multiplayer each offer their own bounties as well, which reward the player with extra experience for completing certain objectives such as not dying or killing enough of a certain enemy. Between all these factors, the Crucible remained compelling to me in a way no other online shooter had done before.

What Activision and Bungie promised for Destiny is not quite what we got. There are seeds planted in their first entry that give the series potential to live up to these promises. However, as is, Destiny is not going to change gaming the same way Halo did. What it will do is provide fun cooperative and competitive multiplayer which will keep its players busy for a long time. If that is all you want out of Destiny, you’re sure to be satisfied.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

Comments

pspiddy

09/21/2014 at 12:54 PM

I fully agree with this review. Good job.

KnightDriver

09/22/2014 at 03:12 AM

I think you nailed it. Thanks for the review.

jgusw

09/22/2014 at 09:48 AM

I asked a few friends and saw a couple video reviews on this game and they had a lot of bad things to say about it.  What I thought would be very annoying was the randomized loot system in the game.  I can imagine the frustration I would feel after spending a hour taking down a big boss and getting nothing in return.  And, selling story elements of the game as later dlc..., I would lose my mind.  I'm glad I'm not into MMOs b/c those things would seriously piss me off.  

BrokenH

09/23/2014 at 06:22 PM

Fair review. You did not overhype it but gave credit where credit is due. Good job,Casey!

transmet2033

09/23/2014 at 08:45 PM

I cannot disagree with your opinion.  At the same time I cannot seem to put the game down.

NSonic79

09/25/2014 at 01:06 PM

Intesresting take. It seems that most reviewers are taking the high road in expecting more of the game later on. It looks like I dodged a bullet with this game.

xDarthKiLLx

09/28/2014 at 06:13 AM

still....it's highly addictive.  I enjoy it far more now than I did in beta.

NSonic79

09/29/2014 at 01:03 PM

True. They have seemed to have found the formula to make the grind fun and addictive. I was just worried what I would do once I overcame the grinding fun. It's why I didn't feel the urge to play the beta any longer after I maxed out my levels.

GeminiMan78

10/01/2014 at 02:47 PM

I agree with you for the most part. Although I felt that the difference between classes and subclasses were very distinct. My main is a Hunter and the Gubslinger and Blade Dancer builds are like night and day. My main issue was not so much in the quality of the story but that there was so little. I just don't feel like there is $60 worth of game here. The story will continue, but you got to put another $20 into it in two months. That aside I really am enjoying the heck out of this game. I just hope Bungie and Activision don't turn this into a shameless money drain in order to keep playing.

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