This isn’t a review, but more of a discussion of Destiny, and how I feel about it after a few weeks in.
Destiny is an ambitious title to say the least, Bungie and Activision’s 10 year monster game with a high budget, and even higher expectations. It tries to blend several genres into a seamless, and enjoyable experience. For the most part, it does just that. It’s game play is tight, as you would expect from Bungie given their track record with Halo. The visuals are stunning, across all platforms, and the sound and music is top notch.
Despite all of that, the popular opinion is that Destiny is not the perfect mega-game we were expecting. The story, if I could call it that, is brief and shallow. It seems more like a vehicle for DLC setup than a guide to the universe we find ourselves a part of in Destiny. Destiny’s massive world constantly teases us with sprawling vistas and interesting looking characters, but constantly denies us any exploration beyond a mere glimpse. All of the lore and world development is hidden off-game, in the Grimoire cards. And even those don’t satisfy the desire to know more. They spend a lot of the time in Destiny describing things like a great war, and expecting us to care about the Traveler and the plight of the people left on Earth, but why should I?
If they don’t bother to tell me why I am fighting, why should I invest my time. Playing this game makes me feel like I missed some prequel content needed to understand what’s happening. All of this stuff is just here, unexplained and confusing. I feel like Destiny puts a lot of faith in intrigue, and hopes you will stick around long enough to see the world expanded further, in DLC, instead of explaining the world and all the things around you now.
Despite all of the story issues, one other major (depending on who you ask) issue many people have with the game is the repetitive, grinding game play. Destiny takes only a few hours to complete the main story, but it feels ten times longer because all you do is essentially walk from point A to point B, kill enemies, defend a zone with your Ghost, and then the mission ends. There is never a great set-piece moment that makes you say “Wow,” or even a point that shows off the truly beautiful environments. I never even bothered exploring the world half of the time, and when I did, all I found was nothing.
I won’t harp on the pitiful loot system, because they are working on that with updates. No amount of updates, however, can really make the memes go away. I will simply say this, the time and effort put in does not equate to the loot received, even post update.
Loot drops are few and far between, and almost never give anything rewarding. Plus, the alternatives to loot drops, buying items from vendors, are often expensive and take just as much time and effort just to get. Then, there’s the upgrading and post-level 20 leveling. To me, this is the weakest aspect of Destiny. In any other game, I could tolerate the poor drop rate and item quality, because I would still be leveling up and being rewarded somehow for my effort. Not in Destiny though, once you hit 20 you can’t advance without better, rarer gear which you have to upgrade with even rarer materials and resources. It is a mess.
Overall, I feel like Destiny is an unfinished game. I’m sure in a year or two, this game will be much bigger and better. However, it’s launch has left me feeling disappointed on a massive level. After waiting and being hyped up so much, I couldn’t help but expect more from this game, especially seeing what it has now. I can’t say that Destiny is bad. In fact, despite it’s flaws, it is a highly addictive and fun shooter, especially with friends. I can say though, that I hope Bungie is paying attention to the community, and brings us the game we expected sooner rather than later. Solid, satisfying post-launch content is this game’s only hope of surviving it’s 10 year plan, and I hope that it will happen. Until then, I think “Honest Trailers” says it best, when they say Destiny is the “Hottest 7/10.”