Destiny was one of, if not the, most anticipated games to be released in 2014. Now that the hype train has pulled into the station, let us begin our evaluation of what Bungie has given us. Spoilers will not be discussed as this is a review of the game and not a detailed guide.
Set in a time after humanity’s golden age, you and your fellow guardians are tasked with protecting the last city on Earth from the oncoming darkness. From the onset, the story it is riddled with vagueness and ambiguity. Known for its adventure based stories and futuristic settings, Bungie poised itself to deliver the next epic space adventure, but due to the lack of detail the campaign is the weakest element in the game.
The Traveler (the protector of the city) as well as the darkness (enemy of The Traveler) are never clearly explained. The true details of these and many other items are often alluded to but are never definitively detailed. A fuller story can be derived by going through other elements of the game, but it may still feel unfinished.
The campaign can be played again by entering story mode either solo or in co-op. To offer a better challenge in this mode, the difficulty can be raised and you will also have the opportunity to earn better rewards. Playing it over again may offer a chance to pick up on any details missed during the first play-through as well. Where as patrol mode allows the player to travel through the spaces opened up during the campaign without being tied to the story. In this mode, however, there is the opportunity to accept missions in order to earn additional experience points and rewards.
I found that both the campaign and patrol mode suffered from making the player traverse back through the same areas over and over again in order to complete objectives. A particular irritant in patrol mode is when a selected mission will make you travel back to a part of the map you had just left. Also, there is definitely an RPG-like feel to the missions as they offer the same types of tasks time and again.
The competitive sections offered in the Crucible give you game types well liked in other on-line games, team death-match and free-for-all for example, but with the great map design that Bungie is known for. For those of us that prefer co-operative matchmaking, strike missions are available. Strike missions can be selected either from the destination map or Vanguard – once it is unlocked. These three person co-op mission have your team fighting their way to an objective and ultimately an end boss.
Even with not being a fan of competitive multiplayer modes, I can still enjoy the games in the Crucible. It helps that the maps and games are very well made in true Bungie fashion. However, I still find myself enjoying the strike mission the most though. The fact that the Vanguard offers increased difficulties and rewards keeps me coming back to them.
To give relative comparisons for different aspects of the game, let me offer these. The campaign is short and illusive, akin to Diablo III. Taking to task in patrol mode feels very much like running around in Borderlands. One could think of strike missions like Spartan Ops from Halo 4 but much more cohesive. Thus making competitive play in The Crucible like being a space cowboy in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
You’ll need to choose what class you’ll want to play as. Titans are your bruiser class capable of dealing and taking damage. Hunters are more likely to inflict damage from afar and best with ranged weapons. Warlocks are sort of a middle ground of the other classes, capable of being in the heart of the fight or providing support.
Having played all the classes in the beta, I’ve been working the Warlock class. If you happen to make a character in a class you don’t like don’t worry. You can have multiple characters but your progress will not crossover between them.
Character customization lets you set up your character’s looks and attributes when you start the game but choose wisely since these characteristics cannot be changed later unless you start a new character. You won’t be able to directly edit the rest of your character’s appearance since it will be determined by the gear you are wearing. You can get things like emblems to somewhat personalize your outfit but the only means to change the color of your wardrobe is to find or purchase a shader.
I didn’t take much worry in my characters appearance. Since you never really even see your characters face during the game it didn’t much matter to me. It may mean more to others but being able to change my character’s appearance isn’t a key feature for me. It is nice have some personalization available but ultimately your overall appearance is more influenced by your class choice.
To judge Destiny properly it must be looked at in a large context. The game is both bold and ambitious, but with that it is also unsettled and open to improvement. Much like many other RPGs, and this game is decidedly trying to be an RPG, the story within this game is merely used to set up a much larger one. Much of what is not told directly in the story is to be revealed through its side missions and additional content. Those that like to grind for XP or have a story unfolded over a period of time and through discovery should take an interest.
Look beyond the lack luster campaign and see the larger playground that Bungie has created with Destiny. Regardless of your platform choice, be it PS4, PS3, Xbox One, or Xbox 360, you can look forward to spending countless hours playing. I am excited about exploring the initial worlds and replaying the strike missions. Hopefully more of the lore can be discovered by exploring and replaying the story.
*This review is based upon the PS4 version of Destiny. Note that the content exclusive to the PlayStation platform was not singled out. It is my view that this content alone was not a substantial part of the broader experience. If any other versions of this game are experienced by myself or other members of the WYT? staff, we will make any views particular to those versions known, but until such time consider this the definitive review of the game.
Paul Novak is a self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing in the west side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet. Found here at What’s Your Tag? and on the Twitter @dudewantshisrug. Game on with Team XBRO!