Console: PS4 (Non-Exclusive)
Reviewed by V1
Destiny is a fairly basic good versus evil storyline. You play as a Guardian (aka Master Chief), resurrected by your small robot companion, Ghost (played by fucking Tyrion Lannister!) It’s your job to protect the earth & the traveller from the evil aliens of the Darkness. The Darkness is made up of different alien races hell bent on destroying the Traveller & Earth (yep these are basically the Covenant). So you have to travel throughout Earth, the Moon, Venus & Mars, killing everything in your path & save Earth, the traveller & human existence.
So yeah, despite the obvious similarities to Halo, Destiny actually has a decent overall story & lore. It’s just such a shame that the story is told in possibly the worst way possible (second actually, Titanfall is far worse). Instead of telling the story in a conventional way, e.g. exposition & important plot points told through cutscenes & audio logs/text articles, Destiny’s main story is mainly told through Dinklebots long-winded speeches. These are told during the loading screens to each level & during the levels themselves. This is an awful way to relay story to the player, because during the intro to levels I’m generally sorting out my loadout, & for the mid-level plot points I’m usually too busy shooting stuff to even notice. It’s a shame because there is a genuinely interesting story in Destiny. It’s just told arse-ways.
There are some cut-scenes throughout the game. They all look amazing & are interesting when the do happen, they’re just few & far between. There is one at the start of the game, one for the first time on each new planet, an ending cutscene & a couple more throughout the game. I just expected more to be honest. I understand it’s an online game & you want to get straight to the action, but this should never come at the expense of your story. There is also an extensive lore system accompanying Destiny, the Grimoire cards. You earn these for playing through the game & for completing challenges. These greatly expand on the story/lore & are a great addition for those looking to add some context to the shooting. Unfortunately they’re not accessible in-game! Yep you heard me right, if you want to read about the game you have to log onto Bungie.net or else download the companion app. In my opinion this is UNFORGIVEABLE. Why would you force someone to turn off your game to get more info about your game! Why there isn’t a Mass Effect style encyclopaedia just boggles my mind. This is a real negative for me, & as a result I couldn’t be bothered to look at them (& I read EVERYTHING in Mass Effect).
Destiny is absolutely gorgeous! All four playable areas are distinct & memorable, Venus & the moon in particular. Some of the vistas are just jaw dropping, the sky too. Destiny also boasts a vast colour palate, lots of bright primary colours on top of the standard browns & greys. Great particle effects & an astounding lighting engine just add to the visual eye candy. Animations are smooth & I haven’t seen any slowdown or texture loading in the 50+ hours I’ve put in so far. Cutscenes also look fantastic, but there’s not many in the entire game. The visual presentation is simply flawless, there’s nothing broken & Bungie have out done themselves. Take a boo Bungie, take a boo.
The audio is a bit of a mixed bag though. Firstly, the score for Destiny is excellent. It just what you’d expect from Bungies Marty O’ Donnell, great orchestral sections layered on top of grungy guitars, heavy drums & electronic sounds. It never quite reaches the highs of Halos iconic score, but that’s no biggie considering Halo has some of the greatest game music ever.
Unfortunately, the voice work is nowhere near the quality of the music. First of all, Perter Dinklebot is just poor. It sounds like he showed up at the recording booth, read his lines as fast as he could, got paid & got the fuck out of there. His wooden performance is so disappointing (to be fair, his script isn’t great) & it’s what you’ll spend most of your time listening to, as there’s not much dialogue in the game that’s not spoken by Dinklage. Other characters in the game are ok, but they only have the odd lines here & there. The standouts are the Awoken Queen & her brother, although they are only seen twice in the entire game (gotta sell that DLC don’t ya know). Such a shame, with a $500 million dollar budget, you expect the highest standard across the board, the voice acting in Destiny is definitely a disappointment.
Destiny is a “shared world shooter”, or an FPS MMO if you hate corporate tag lines. As you’d expect from a Bungie game, it plays absolutely perfectly. Sharp precise controls on top of a well-balanced system leads to absolutely glorious gunplay. It feels very Halo-esque, but Bungie have added iron sight aiming, double jumps, triple jumps, hover mechanics & a blink jump (like Corvo from Dishonoured). All of this is in addition to multiple classes (with multiple set ups in each class), different grenade types, melee types, lots of upgradeable weapons & armour pieces. In terms of choice, it’s one of the greatest FPS games I’ve ever played. There are so many different ways to play, that each person will have their own set up, all with different strengths & weaknesses. It doesn’t revolutionise FPS gameplay (why anyone expected it to do so beggars belief) but it nearly perfects it.
Much like the audio, gameplay is not perfect. Mission structure & diversity is very disappointing. Unfortunately it seems like they spent too much time getting Destiny to feel right that they forgot to fill it with things to do. Most missions have a very familiar feel, i.e. go here, use ghost on object & kill waves of enemies while Dinlkebot opens a door, hacks into a computer or does something else that requires you to shoot stuff. There’s also a lack of missions in the game. After a fairly lengthy single player campaign, Bungie claimed the gamed completely changed after level 20. It doesn’t really! Your ultimate goal changes, but how you go about doing so is by playing the same missions (on harder levels of course) hoping to get better gear, which in turn increases your level even more. There are strike playlists, daily & weekly missions & bounties to perform too. These all help you upgrade weapons & armour, but at the end of the day you are playing the same missions over & over & this is where the grinding aspect to Destiny comes in. It may be off putting for some people but the lure of the loot is what will keep you coming back for more & some of the exotic geat is so awesome that you will keep playing.
Another important aspect to Destiny is its online multiplayer systems. First of all I would like to congratulate Bungie & Activision for releasing an online game that actually works on Day one (remember Diablo 3, Sim City, Drive Club & so many more). Sure I’ve been booted out of a few games here & there, but I can count these on one hand & most did happen in the first 3 days (haven’t been booted out in weeks since the first patch).
It’s possible to join up with friends & form a fireteam. This is so much fun it’s hard to explain it to someone who hasn’t played it. I had completed the single player portion & was finding it hard to keep playing by myself. However when I put up the link to the OSW Clan & added loads of new friends it changed the game completely. Teaming up to take out bosses, reviving each other & having a bit of a dance after the level is completed just so much fun. If you can find some high level friends they can carry you through missions on harder difficulties, allowing you to get better loot drops & level up even faster.
You can also form a fire team of 6 players & attempt the Vault of Glass raid. This is soul crushingly difficult & I haven’t been able to complete it yet, but playing with 5 other people is an even cooler experience (there’s only one raid so far, the next one will probably be part of paid DLC). There’s also a full suite of multiplayer deathmatches. I’m not really into PvP, so I don’t spend too much time here, but from what I’ve seen it’s perfectly functional but a little simple at the moment. However the lack of lobbies & proper matchmaking can make it unbalanced & unfair to lower level players (the raid could do with match making too, it’s tough to get 5 friends together playing the same game).
• Stunning graphics
• Incredibly fun gameplay
• Playing with friends is amazing
• Loot system is addictive
• Plenty of game modes
• Plot is underwhelming & confusing
• Lots of grinding
• Repetitive mission structure
• Very few strikes & only one raid
• Bad voice acting
Overall: Destiny is a beautiful, wonderfully crafter FPS that plays as good as any FPS ever created. It is also one of the first online only games to actually work on release day. However a flat, underdeveloped single player component & repetitive grinding of the same missions sours the overall package. Destiny has laid the framework to be brilliant, but it may just take a bit content (both paid DLC & free updates) to truly get there. 8/10