Destiny Review – Hidden Brilliance
Bungie’s epic first-person shooter smashed records prior, during and post release, but with an air of misunderstanding surrounding the games true purpose many have expressed a surprising level of disappointment with Destiny. In true Gamers Heroes fashion we dissect every level of Destiny to provide an honest game review. I can confirm that nobody from Bungie, Activision or related PR departments have had any form of intercourse with any of the Gamers Heroes staff.
It was no secret that I found the Destiny beta event to be incredibly disappointing. I discussed my dislikes with many of our community on Twitch and most responded in a rather hostile manner – almost certain that the final product will deliver. Well, that final product has arrived but has it managed to meet the huge levels of hype created by an utterly genius approach to marketing and advertising? Not for many, no.
Mankind was celebrating the era of the Golden Age. A time of great prosperity and exploration. The human civilization have spread into the universe, colonizing a number of planets and enjoying the bounty that came with it. That was until the Collapse. This devastating event saw the strange dissolution of the colonies mankind was once so proud of, leaving only a small portion of survivors behind on Earth. Pushed to the edge of extinction the last humans on Earth were saved by the Traveler, that large white orb you see in practically every media asset related to Destiny. Saving the human race was only the beginning as the Traveler bestowed unique powers on the defenders of Earth’s last city, allowing Guardians to use super-human powers to defend the last remnants of mankind. This all sounds exciting right?
Well, it would be if there was much more to it. The basic elements of the Destiny story were known months prior to release but nobody really expected it to be the bulk of the story. As I progressed through the rather short story campaign I was left strangely confused at the lack of any real substance. It felt as though Destiny had appeared from the late 90s with the vast majority of the storytelling done through simple subtitled dialogue on a flashy loading screen. There’s a few minor cut-scenes that attempt to immerse players along the way but even those felt shallow without the support of any noteworthy characters or personalities. The voice-overs however are outstanding and if it wasn’t for Lance Reddick’s distinguishable vocals narrating many parts of the story, it’s very possible I would have paid no attention to it at all. Short and to the point – Destiny is not for you if an enthralling story is atop your wanted list.
Despite its storytelling woes Destiny delivers in many areas. The game feels fantastic. It’s instantly recognizable and familiar for fans of the FPS genre while maintaining its own charm and sense of purpose. The first-person shooter elements of the game are flawless in almost every way imaginable. The hit collision is almost pixel perfect, something I greatly enjoyed while delivering critical damage to the top inch of my opponents cranium. While there are many elements of Destiny that are up for debate, the pure quality and AAA feel of the movement and shooting mechanics is not one of them.
There are however other areas that Destiny struggles with. As I mentioned previously the story is rather dull and that lack of depth appears throughout the game in many places. The Strike missions, systems akin to the MMO raids of today, lack any real challenge and for the most part have players exploring the same caverns, ships and locations they did while progressing through the story. This lack of variety of one of the games greatest downfalls but there’s something deeper, something far underneath the surface that is gripping many fans of the FPS genre.
There’s a certain brilliance to Destiny, a brilliance that has all but been ignored in the majority of coverage from the big names in gaming media – or targeted as a negative aspect. Bungie have managed to introduce a new generation of console gamers to the very basics of the MMO formula. Despite Bungie’s best efforts at avoiding the MMO label it’s clear to anyone with online experience that Destiny has far more in common with an MMO than it does a traditional console shooter. Although many elements of the typical MMO are not present, the foundations are in place and well presented. I would compare Destiny’s launch to that of a newly released MMO. The bare-bones of the content is in place but not to the level many would expect of a fully priced, AAA game, and that’s where the problem lies.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every minute I’ve spent exploring the Destiny universe – with the exception of Grand Theft Auto V, there hasn’t been a game in years that’s become my first thought of the day and my last before I sleep. There’s holes, weak points, key ingredients missing, but Destiny has gripped me in a way I cannot explain.