It’s a normal urge as a writer and a reviewer to put out reviews at a very quick pace after a game’s release, and usually it’s an efficient plan. To the ones who have released reviews about Destiny… it was the wrong time to do so.
It seems to be a knee-jerk reaction to demean Destiny’s storyline, the monsters you’ll inevitably face, and the ease of obtaining levels. The fact of the matter is, everything before level 20 is simply a tutorial. To the dedicated players that continue to put in time to their level 20+ characters, the game has really just begun.
But I’ll go ahead and address the usual impressions and flaws every person seems to be focusing on in Destiny.
Do not buy Destiny in hopes of obtaining a fantastic storyline. While the game revolves around your character, it’s foolish to compare it to titles like Mass Effect where the story is the game. The story in Destiny holds no significant weight and undoubtedly feels bland in the world and experiences Destiny has to offer. This isn’t too much of a disappointment considering the type of game Destiny is, but it is easy to catch yourself feeling exasperated through unnecessary cutscenes and dialog patches (especially since you can’t skip them). Honestly, the writing feels extremely lazy and lacks creativity. You’re a revived Guardian facing what is known as The Darkness that produces evil creatures to be moving targets.
What’s the point of Ghost?
Ghost is the first major character you’re introduced to. He’s the device that pushes the story along through lots of dialogue… and that’s pretty much it. There’s no emotional attachment to this character which is a bit of a shame, but you’re going to discover that there are no characters to become attached to. Ghost is a bland plot device and nothing more… at least for now.
The element that creates drive is purely personal advancement. The motivation rests solely on building a powerful and awesome-looking character in a world full of powerful and awesome-looking characters, and while this seems like a boring premise, especially to players who may not be huge MMO fans, rewards and achievements actually feel pretty satisfying.
This really shines through the gameplay. While visiting the Tower, you play in a 3rd person point-of-view, which allows you to really see what your character looks like. Dancing and waving at other people can be pretty humorous, and I had way more fun than I should kicking a random soccer ball around. However, once you travel to a quest, you switch to a first-person view similar to other FPS titles like Halo and Call of Duty. The button configuration also mimics other FPS titles so it was easy to adjust and become familiar with combat mechanics.
The Level Cap & Why Destiny is Much More Than Expected
Pushing through missions from levels 1-20 was pretty simple, especially while playing with others, but things become much more challenging later on, and this is what most reviewers are discarding. Destiny is way more than a “short story” and quick gameplay. Your main mission is to become incredibly powerful through finding and earning awesome equipment.
After reaching level 20 experience points don’t build on your character’s level anymore. It all relies on the Light attached to the rare equipment you either find or buy. Level 20 isn’t a cap, it’s a beginning for the player that enjoys meticulously crafting and building a powerful character.
You’ll start understanding what the stats mean as you collect more and more equipment, and you’ll begin to build and choose what armor and weapons to use based on what you learn. You’ll begin to understand what Intellect, Discipline, and Strength do for your character. Everything becomes a building block.
After hitting 20 you can start to earn experience in different areas of the game in order to obtain Legendary gear. This really allows you to choose which “side” of the game you’d like to dedicate yourself to– PvP or PvE… or a little mix of both.
The PvP area is called The Crucible where you can play player-versus-player games such as Control (a Domination clone), Rumble (Free-for-All), Clash (Team Deathmatch), and more to earn Crucible Ranks and the Crucible-centered currency to buy new gear. This isn’t a quick process… you have to play. A lot.
However if PvP isn’t really your thing you can participate in Strike Missions that help you build a Vanguard Rank and earn different currency that can go toward stronger gear. Strike Missions are similar to earlier story quests, but they’re much more difficult. Difficult is an understatement. You’ll be reviving (and being revived by) teammates quite a bit as you move through mobs of enemies and slowly chip away the health of massive bosses. But beating these powerful enemies feels very satisfying and it’s safe to say that you’ll be engaged throughout the entire mission.
Writing a serious review of Destiny right now is silly simply for the fact that the game is literally just beginning. The first raid has just been released and is recommended for players that are at least level 26. And as I write this, apparently no one has managed to beat it yet. If this is a sign of what’s to come in the future, then you really need to get started building your gear and power.
To put in a nutshell: Destiny so far is pretty brilliant. Even with the flaws everyone keeps foolishly lingering on.
People are only just now beginning to scratch beneath the surface, and that hopefully highlights the intelligence and dedication that Bungie will offer for this title. With a 10 year plan in talks for this game, it may be a long while before anyone can seriously publish a sincere and truly informative review and score. And maybe that’s a good thing.
Destiny is an addicting experience that is worth spending time in. I highly recommend playing with friends, but I enjoy the fact that you can hop in solo and still begin playing and building an amazing character. Try not to focus on the negative viewpoints of other players/reviewers (especially reviewers) and simply enjoy the game!