Sunday, 5 October 2014

Fulfiling Your Destiny

I didn’t listen to a lot of the hype in the build up to the release of Destiny.  During its development period it was being teased and talked about as the next big thing, but none of it interested me at all.  You see, even though I enjoyed the Halo games I began to get bored of them towards the end, so another shooter made by Bungie didn’t exactly set my world on fire.

Then the Beta came out on Xbox Live and I thought, what the hell?  It’s free I might as well have a go at it.  I fired it up and chose Hunter as my initial class and began playing.  Next thing I know hours have gone by and I’m at the maximum level the Beta will allow.  Damn, I was hooked.

Destiny is a MMORPG, something that I’ve no experience of playing, so this review will be written more from the point of view of an average console gamer and someone that enjoys both RPG’s and FPS’s (boy that’s a lot of abbreviations).

When the game loads up you get presented with the character creation screen.  You get to pick your class, which consist of Titan, Hunter and Warlock, Destiny’s sci-fi equivalent of the classic Warrior, Rogue and Wizard choice.  You then get to choose your species, Human, Awoken (alien, elf like beings) and Exo (robot people), but the game gives you no explanation as to what each choice is.  Something that continues on throughout the rest of the game.

You see, Destiny clearly has a story and a well-crafted world that the game designers put a lot of time and effort into, but it’s rarely given to the player.  You’re presented with races and technology that’s crazy and magical and exotic but never told anything about them.

I know Destiny is building into a huge world that will keep going for a long time and that Bungie can build on with various DLC, but surely they could give us some information on exactly what’s going on.  Instead we’re sent off on what feels like loosely connected missions to fight races such as ‘The Fallen’, ‘The Hive’ and ‘The Cabal’ all of whom are fighting on behalf of ‘The Darkness’.

The massive Cabal rule the deserts of Mars.
If you’re slightly confused by that sentence and don’t really know what’s going on, then welcome to the world of Destiny.  Even once I’d finished the main story line I was a little confused as to what exactly the story was.

There’s even a point where one of the main NPC’s ‘The Speaker’ tells you that he can tell you the history of the world, the story of the Darkness and the Guardians who fight against it but goes on to explain exactly nothing.  Which is a shame as he was voiced by Bill Nighy and it would have been lovely to hear him narrate some more for us.

Lack of in game information aside let’s talk about the actual gameplay itself.

The game looks stunning.  That’s just a fact.  Every level and location is beautiful and breath taking to play in, with each of the planets having its own unique look to it that makes it instantly recognisable.  Whilst some people have complained that these locations are not massive open worlds, but each planet is vast enough to spend hours on patrol missions, fighting enemies and completing objectives.

Enemies are varied enough to keep things interesting, with four enemy races to go up against, and come complete with an array of abilities and vehicles to make the combat frenetic and varied.  The firefights range from long distance sniper fights, to blade wielding enemies attack you in close, to hordes of machines marching mercilessly towards you like an army.

Both wonders and horrors await on every planet you visit.
Being a MMORPG the combat is all about numbers, how much damage you weapons inflict on the enemy, how high your armour class is and how much experience you receive.  The more experience you gain the higher the characters level grows and the more skills unique to your class you gain.

With the levelling up though comes yet another problem with Destiny not telling you everything as once you reach level 20 you stop gaining experience from defeating enemies and completing objectives.  Instead, as I have learnt from friends and the internet, as the game doesn’t seem to want to tell you, you have to find weapons and equipment with ‘light’ points.  These points act like experience and increase your level past 20, but finding said items is not as easy and common as you would want, potentially halting your characters growth as other players keep on getting stronger around you.

Team up with your friends to take down massive enemies.
Speaking of other players, with Destiny being a MMORPG the game world is populated by other players, whom you can either engage with in PVP multiplayer or team up with in the main game.  Being a somewhat unsociable person I was glad that apart from a handful of Strike missions I was never forced to play alongside anyone else, and was able to walk away from other players and continue on my own path as I wished.  Plus for a game that boasts thousands and thousands of player it’s nice that the game world isn’t swarming with other people.

Because I’m not much of a social player I’ve not engaged in Destiny’s multiplayer arena much, but from what I have experience it’s a well-built PVP mode that’s different enough from the main game to be engaging, plus beneficial as the points you earn build towards items and gear in the main game.

Whilst Destiny may have unset a few people who expected something more than it turned out to be, and are upset with the lack of in game information if you want a well-made shooter that will last you more than a few hours and will keep you hooked for the long run you can do a lot worse.


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