Destiny (Xbox One Review)
Exploring space to find the remnants of a long forgotten race is a trope that we never tire of, right? We fought alongside the Elite with Master Chief and explored distant planets with the vault hunters of Borderlands and loved every cinematic moment of each. So what happens when you combine the best of both? Aside from a staggering $500,000,000 bill, the answer is you get a lacklustre yet beautiful beast that has been years in the making.
Destiny is a culmination of Bungie’s prowess and Activision’s greed. A long awaited game with more hype that WatchDogs and more tropes than an Anita Sarkeesian video. Yet here I am funnelling hours in daily just to see what the game has to offer.
Bungie have presented an aesthetically beautiful world that it’s easy to get lost in, a world baron of treasure and anything new. There is a load of great design to be found in Destiny, a lot being reminiscent of Halo.Although, what can you expect from a company that lived and breathed the franchise for decades. Everything has a familiar feel to it, like an old friend you haven’t seen in years; they have aged, grow older and formed their own distinguishing features that set them apart from their youth. I just wish I didn’t have to get to know them on the back of a hybrid Ghost/74-Z speeder.
The world whizzes by for those that choose the faster methods of transport available but in doing so they lose the absolutely astounding skyboxes and minute details of the surrounding areas, each alive and blooming with colour. It’s in these amazing environments you fight to survive and reclaim long forgotten utopias. Decaying, dilapidated and yet somehow mesmerising. Bungie could sell the game on its visual prowess alone, and this is exactly what they have done.
Unfortunately Destiny’s story is played out and uninteresting. As I previously mentioned, it’s the same tropes from the same guys done over and over. Go here, shoot foreign things, be a hero. World saved, right? It’s nice that they got a good voice actor, Peter Dinklage, to play the almost Guilty Spark and follow us around. I always preferred Guilty Spark to Cortana. But I have never been so disengaged by a game, to discover more about the lore you have to be away from the actual game and placed in front of a dimly lit screen studying to fully comprehend and understand everything that is going on with the lore. I found myself rushing through stories and grabbing any loot along the way. I couldn’t for the life of me tell you what the game was about beyond it being a pseudo Halo clone mixed with the loot hoarding of Borderlands in a far less interesting way. I am sure however that the guy from District 9 was the hero in my story, and I am ok with that.
The games saving grace is the truly overwhelming environments that are accompanied by Martin O’Donnell’s amazingly composed scores. The soundtrack grabs you and really immerses you in the game play by surrounding you in music that captures every scenario perfectly. It ramps up at the right parts and provides serene mellow tones when out of combat.
The game play itself differs very little from the tried and true formulas from FPS/RPGs past; kill the bad guys, gain exp, get new equipment and repeat until maximum level. Destiny does differ, however, with its badass space wizard archetypes and their super charged powers. These powers are some of the most fun the game has to offer, especially when you release your super charged bomb in to a pack of unsuspecting enemies trying to take your control point. Each class differs to the point that they are genuinely unique to play but don’t differ so much to feel like a labour when trying out different characters.
Although marketed as reaching level 20 is just the beginning, the game becomes an arduous grind that rivals the dedication of the Diablo games without the fun. The vast majority of your time will either be spent in The Crucible trying to rank up to buy better gear or grinding PvE areas trying to get loot superior to what you are wearing. In spite of being a massive and beautiful game world it can feel quite baron and boring when soloing the grind. In spite of thousands of nooks and crannies each area is limited to five golden chests and some basic chests and ghosts scattered across a world that has rooms for a tonne more.
Beyond all the PvE missions, bounties and strikes there will be raids and DLC added further down the line. But in its current state the most appealing section of Destiny, for me personally, is The Crucible. This is Destiny’s equivalent to online multiplayer with variations of capture the flag, team death match and control. The Crucible captures the essence of older Halo games. The pace is great and the matches are for the most part evenly balanced. My only issue has been with the servers removing me from the game at the end of the match but hopefully that will sort itself out soon. Beyond that there are some issues with mic chat being available to those in your party or in your fire team which can make communication difficult. Then again I don’t mind an online community completely devoid of the profanity and “suck your mum” back chat from the CoD Community. It is peaceful.
Destiny is a game that promised ten years and I am struggling to stay for a week. For all the money and time put in to the game I really don’t see the value. Sure it looks great and sounds great but in terms of gathering loot I would rather be crawling the dungeons or Diablo, when I want to play a competitive multiplayer game I will patiently await the Master Chief collection and if I wanted to play an MMO with years of content I would buy a PC and play WoW. If the promises of support are anything to go by I would undoubtedly stand by Destiny, hoping that more content doesn’t cost me an arm and leg.