Finally playing Destiny and knowing what the hell it is is kind of strange. For the longest time Destiny was an enigma. It would show up at every Sony conference, the press would play and come away from it not sure what type of game Bungie was making. Was it an MMO, a FPS with loot and RPG elements ala Borderlands, or just another story driven FPS from the studio? Well after playing the final game it is clear that Bungie tried to make all three of these games, but it doing so have created a game that is beautiful to look at and plays great but has no identity.
The first thing that stood out to me when playing Destiny was just how solid the gameplay was. All of the different types of weapons are fun to use and just feel really tight. Bungie nailed it when it comes to playability and general feel. Destiny is one of the best playing shooters I’ve ever played, and interacting with its world by shooting at everything that moves is really entertaining.
The second part of the game that really makes a great first impression are the visuals. Destiny is a god damn beautiful video game with exquisite art design. All four of the environments look stunning and draw you into the world of the game with amazing attention to detail and some excellent lighting effects. My favorite planet is Venus, with its lush jungles, orange rivers and energy pulsing out from beneath the ground. Bungie has created a undoubtedly gorgeous world that just begs to be explored, and unfortunately that is where the problems start.
The world of Destiny feels empty. There are a ton of place to go but the game never rewards you for it. Sure, sometimes you may find a chest, but is most likely just some enemies or another empty cave. I wanted to explore Destiny’s world, but Bungie was clearly not interested in creating that kind of game. Instead, the way to get better loot is to play the same missions over and over again and hope for some good drops.
This would be forgivable if Destiny offered a varied, diverse host of different missions to play in search of this loot. What we have instead are missions that are basically all the exact same formula. Arrive on planet, shoot some aliens, have your little ghost buddy scan something, defend your ghost buddy by shooting more aliens, and then there is usually a stronger enemy you have to kill. This is it. Literally that is it. No imagination or creativity went into any of the mission designs. It is bordering on insulting that Bungie thought that this would be acceptable. However, the disappointments do not end with the mission design.
The story in Destiny may be the worst video game story in modern memory, which is saying something given the standards of the medium. Every single piece of dialog in this game is meaningless, every cutscene is unintelligible, and I could not tell you a single characters name. I do not understand any single piece of this narrative. It is unbelievable. I do not really even know what else to say about it since I couldn’t go in to detail since I understood zero of it. It is a mess.
The post-game content is focused on getting better gear that has a unit called “light” associated with it. Light will level your player past the level cap of 20. While this is a cool idea, it does not really work for me since the loot in the game is so inconsistent. I’ve played through strikes multiple time and received no items with any light which makes that whole strike seem worthless. Also, having to replay the same repetitive missions over and over again is not really that appealing, no matter how good the shooting is.
The competitive section of the game, the Crucible is a lot of fun since it is focused on what the game does so well, the combat. It needs more maps, but brining your campaign weapons into multiplayer to level them up by shooting other players is fun. The campaign abilities transition over to multiplayer smoothly and killing other players with one shot with my hunter’s golden gun is really empowering.
With all of that being said, I still enjoyed my time with Destiny. Yes, the mission design is stale and unimaginative, the story is a complete fucking disaster and the loot and leveling systems are frustrating. But Destiny is fun to play, and stays fun to play for a long time. I’ve continued to play the game longer than I thought I would based off of that fun factor alone. Still, Destiny a deeply flawed and profoundly disappointing game. If you are a fan of shooters you will most likely enjoy it, but in its current state it is hard to recommend at full price.