“It doesn’t matter who you were, only what you will become.”
So, my opinion on Destiny has changed drastically since I first started playing it. It has gone from critical nitpicking, to absolute disdain, to unabashed love…so I’m going to do my best to discuss what I think are some of the strengths and weaknesses of what is easily the biggest gaming release of this year.
Within the first couple of hours, I couldn’t help but see Destiny as a stripped down version of ideas taken from other games that did it better. There are elements of Borderlands, Halo, WOW and other games inspiring Destiny, but it’s all very basic…take the beautiful loot system of Borderlands, then strip it down. Take the epic scope of Halo, then strip that down too. Take the MMO aspects of WOW and then strip those down. All of these things really annoyed me at first and I couldn’t help but see Destiny as a game that was taking elements from other properties, but failing to have an identity of its own. BUT, after countless hours immersed in this culmination of hit games, I started to realize something; it doesn’t matter.
Destiny is fun. Really fun. And if you play it with a few other friends, it becomes incredibly fun.
While there is no denying that the loot system IS a stripped down version of what you would find in Borderlands, it doesn’t matter, because Destiny is a completely different animal altogether. The MMO aspects of Destiny work just fine in my opinion, as someone who genuinely dislikes MMO’s, this basic approach actually makes it more accessible to someone who might not enjoy that type of game. As for the parallels one might draw to their past property Halo and the stripped down aspect to that, well, that is one thing that is a bit tougher to overlook. There is no denying that with Halo, Bungie took the FPS genre and made it something more. Through wonderful narrative and character development, Halo had scope and vision, you had a reason to become invested in the characters and the world they lived in. This is where Destiny falls flat on its face.
For the life of me I couldn’t tell you what is going on with the narrative of this game…something about a traveler, an evil darkness (really? darkness? c’mon), and a “ghost” character (awkwardly voiced by Peter Dinklage) that looks all too similar to Halo’s “guilty spark” character. It feels pretty generic and to put it bluntly, the storytelling here stinks. Which is a terrible, terrible shame, because the potential for excellence with this world that they’ve created is right there, but without a gripping narrative, you can’t help but wonder why the hell you’re even playing.
(who’s who again?)
But, there’s that damn “fun” factor again. Regardless of how inane the plot is, this is world building at it’s finest. Playing on Xbox One, this is easily one of the most gorgeous games I have ever seen. And since it controls as wonderfully as it looks, I can’t help but want to explore every inch of the marvelously crafted landscape on display here. There are also more than enough quests, bounties and strikes to keep you thoroughly entertained while doing so. And that soundtrack…gorgeous.
While Destiny is by no means a perfect game, it’s a mishmash of great gaming tropes that come together nicely, but without a cohesive narrative to drive it, there is an undeniable pointlessness to it all. This could all very well be addressed as the promise of two expansions looms on the horizon, but the real question is, will people stick around long enough to wait and see what those contain? I for one, will.
PROS: Gorgeous graphics, tight gameplay, soundtrack, world design
CONS: Uninspired character designs, abysmal storytelling
-Sock Talk Jon-