A lot of people are still on the fence about whether or not Destiny is the game for them; I love Destiny, but I can see how some would not care for it. In Destiny, you are in a vast world of dangerous enemies, limited possibilities, and perhaps an even more limited amount of treasure, but that does not stop what could be one of the greatest sleeper hits of all time. Before the arrival of Destiny, there was a lot of hype and mystery surrounding the game which made a lot of gamers both equally nervous and excited. I can proudly say that after spending over 60 hours of my time in the game, I truly feel like I got my money’s worth and more! The real question is will you?
The story of Destiny begins with an awakened guardian who has been resurrected from the dead in order to save humanity and the universe from the great evil only known as “The Darkness.” This is a cool introduction into the game as it allows the player to create a character from scratch choosing from 3 races: humans, exos (robots basically), and awoken (alien race with purple skin). The character is fully customizable allowing you to choose from a pool of different hairstyles, tattoos, scars, and more, allowing the player many options to as close to that fantasy space character you have always dreamed of as possible. You also get your very helpful life mate which is a small floating robot called “Ghost.” From here, you pick up a rifle and begin your adventure into the unknown. The story takes a backseat to the action much like how Dark Souls fermented its story, gradually filling you in on what happened after the Golden Age. I will not ruin the story here, but I will give you the gist of it; a mysterious alien entity known as “The Traveler” has come to our solar system bearing the gift of very advanced technology that advances humanity light years ahead of its time and allows for Earth to extend its travels to all 9 of the planets in our solar system and more; we even become warlocks now, space warlocks at that! However, the entity was also chased by a mysterious entity called “The Darkness” which is determined to destroy all life in the galaxy. And thanks to you being a guardian wrapped in “the Light of the Traveler,” you are directly in the eye of the storm… All the time…
The action is where Destiny shines and triumphs! Quick note, Destiny is not meant to be played alone; I REPEAT DESTINY IS NOT MEANT TO BE PLAYED ALONE!!! It is understandable why it is only online because the different mission parameters desperately call out for teams and the action can often become too hectic for one person to contain, even if he or she is a very high level. That is not to say one cannot stand alone; the story missions are designed for people who want to enjoy the story and progress through it like a normal sci-fi action game and see the events unravel naturally. You will find yourself constantly battling for your life and having fun with your friends at the same time. The customization of skills and the skill tree make you as a player and can easily determine how you will play the battlefield; whether it is the close game with the shotgun, the medium range with a scout rifle, or spray and pray with the auto rifle. The skills as mentioned earlier are awesome! The Warlock class characters are truly space wizards who can wreck everything or act as very cool support people giving light to the team in order to help everyone perform “Supercharged” moves, which are also lifesavers in a pinch. All of the skills are customizable and are affected by different armors and helmets that you wear which can help with cool downs for grenades and supercharged moves. This is extremely helpful in making the game easier and a blast to play with friends as there are so many ways to experiment and utilize a character’s skill set. This is one of the best ideas I have seen in a video game in a long time, especially in a first person shooter since the last game to have something like that was Borderlands.
The next topic of the game is probably where it needs some work; the reward system. So you have probably heard many complaints about the loot system in Destiny. Well to a certain extent, everyone who complains about it has a very valid point. Players are rewarded for their hard work by enemies dropping a digital blueprint called an “Engram” which is basically a mixed digital grab bag that almost never has what you want in it. Engrams are processed by an NPC at the Tower named Master Rahool, who is supposed to be a genius at these types of things, but many of the gamers will tell you otherwise; before the recent updates, Master Rahool processed all engrams 100% randomly, so what does that mean? Even if you got a legendary rare item, it could still translate to something normal like a low level pistol. Imagine, fighting a boss for an hour with your friends and he drops something that is supposed to be a rare drop and then when you take it to Master Rahool, he simply gives you a normal helmet or worse a normal helmet for another class; yeah that has happened to us before and it really sucks. The engram loot success rate in this game is unforgiving and even with the new patches and updates, there are still times when you feel cheated; even playing the multiplayer mode, The Crucible, can sometimes be frustrating and a headache because the reward system has no direction or respect to the player with the best stats. Prizes are given at random and you are not guaranteed anything. It has gotten better with the patches, but again there is still room for improvement.
Destiny is also a grinder’s paradise which means prepare to work for everything you own! It is a double-edged sword grinding in Destiny; on one hand, you feel accomplished for working so hard to get a rare or exotic weapon and it is exactly that while on the other hand one can become frustrated with the limited arsenal at the higher levels and often may give up if not committed to obtaining the item. You will spend hours trying to do whatever it takes for certain rare materials, strange coins, etc. and even reputation which is also a little unforgiving. For example, in most factions that you can buy specialized items, you have to have a certain rank and sometimes marks just to buy things, which sometimes is cool and other times will make you frustrated at grinding so hard for subpar weapons or the next new gear you will wear for a while. The Daily Heroic Missions and Special Events help in your cause to grab new items, ships, weapons, and armors, however they also require a concentrated grind as most times they are only around for a very limited time. The grind game in Destiny will be nothing new for seasoned vets such as myself who have played Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn and are experienced in grinding for new items through countless quests and ranking systems, but to people who have never played an MMO before, this might seem a little strange and annoying at times. Still, nothing really beats showing off new equipment or weapons to your friends in the party and in a way, it inspires everyone to go get that piece of equipment for themselves.
The AI in Destiny is fun but also can be a rubber band at times; that is not to take away from the fact that the AI is also still very smart. A prime example of this is watching enemies with a shield overlay hide behind rocks in order to take cover and wait for the shields to go back up. They are not simply moving targets as each enemy type has a role to play and they play it to the bone or should I say code? I enjoy taking on the enemies because of the balance Bungie has created within the game; not once do you take your enemies for granted as you fight for every win and kill. The boss fights are especially entertaining as each boss has their own strategies and are not too cheap although there are a few moves that can be unfair at times. I have noticed though that the game can become a little overwhelming in some areas when done with the Heroic modifier that can sometimes make you rage quit or simply give up. These areas are annoying and frustrating not because of the enemy AI but rather how many appear and it becomes a sheer numbers game where you have to have three people in the party or a full party. I have given up so many times when this has happened because the checkpoints are sometimes so far away from each other that it seems like you have wasted a full hour and not gotten anything accomplished. This also hurts the game when you are helping a friend with Dailies or Weekly Strikes because you are only rewarded the special engrams and marks once and after that you are pretty much grinding that mission out of sheer love for your friends but even that is tested on hard missions. Teamwork is the only key to winning most of the game’s most difficult missions which is actually where Destiny shines the most. Communication is a must when playing with your friends and sometimes you have to change your skill set to complement your friends’ needs on the battlefield in order to survive; again a great way of Destiny forcing the players to work together!
The leveling system in Destiny is also cool, but seems to bottleneck right at 27 as it is very hard to level after 24, but this is a very organic way to make the player explore the world of Destiny and all of its quests. You will definitely find yourself doing everything you can to get experience after you reach level 20, trust me because I know I did once I reached the higher end levels, but fear not as you will be doing bounty missions over and over again to gain experience and reputation. I really have no complaints about the leveling system, but again you will have to work for it and grind! All in all, it is fair and it is fun; 30 is the level cap, but once you get to level 20, you must search for armor and equipment that give you light properties which allow you to take your powers to the next level. Oh and also there will be a higher level cap when the new expansion comes out later this year.
Destiny is a fantastic game and it brings you that teamwork oriented first person shooter you have always wanted, but definitely makes you work for it. While it does fall short in the loot department unlike its competition Borderlands, it does preserve a sense of accomplishment with each rare or exotic weapon you get and makes you feel proud you spent hours grinding for it. It has its fair share of glitches and oversights, but that is not to say this game is not awesome or without merit; it is doing many things I would love to see in other video games and I expect a lot more out of it to come. I do hope they are listening to fan suggestions like bike races, ship battles, and more towns instead of just one. And also to the people who are screaming there is no storyline, this is not true; there is a huge story to everything involved in Destiny, but it is only told through the Grimoire cards you earn as you progress through the game. I highly recommend reading those as it is very informative. I also would have like to have gotten a better, more in depth back story for my personally created character, but I am okay with being a passenger archetype in this story.
I recommend Destiny for everyone who wanted a more serious Borderlands game to play with your friends or wanted a good space action co-op to play with your buddies online. I love Destiny and I role with my crew all of the time; Destiny’s Grandchild ALL DAY!!! So I recommend Destiny, it is an outstanding game, but not for everyone or those who expected Call of Duty in space. But please don’t take my word for it, play it for yourself!