Monday, 29 September 2014

An MMO of the Future - Destiny: Review

Review by Jack Sutton

So I’ve had Destiny for a while now, and it’s safe to say that I’ve played the holy hell out of it, and despite some of its flaws, I had a blast playing it. Destiny is a great game, but doesn’t live up to the wild expectations that we had, but that’s only because those expectations were so incredibly high. It might have been overhyped, but Destiny is certainly worth picking up for any shooter/RPG fan.

You take control of a Guardian, a mysterious character that has been tasked with pushing back “The Darkness”. Set in a future where creatures known as “The Fallen” are making a return after a god-like entity called “The Traveller” defeated them centuries ago, Destiny spans Earth, Venus, Mars and the Moon. With a story as basic as “bad things are coming, kill them”, and told in a way that is sometimes hard to make sense of, this title won’t be winning any awards for groundbreaking storylines.

What I mean is that after a few missions done in a certain order, the map begins to open up, starting on Earth, then to the Moon, and later to Venus and finally Mars. When the map begins to open up, you are given multiple missions at once, and can complete them in any order that you wish. A basic idea of the recommended order can be seen by looking at the level of difficulty that each mission has, but this is more of a guideline, and you can take the game any way you wish.

As you tackle missions, you see cutscenes that push the story further, and open up new missions and objectives to complete, but due to the fact that there is no linear way through the game, it’s often easy to get confused as to what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and who you’re doing it for. This tends to lead to just killing big alien things because they’re ugly and trying to kill you, as opposed to fighting for a reason.

Whilst this stops the player from being completely immersed, it shouldn’t put anyone off playing. In a game like this players should be interested in one thing – gameplay. At the end of the day, Destiny is an MMORPG, so levelling and looting should – and are – included in a good way. Combine this with addictive, responsive shooter controls and seamless co-operative play, and it makes for a gaming experience that is fun, satisfying and rewarding.

As a Guardian, you will have access to a large array of weapons and abilities that you can use to decimate your enemies. From the brute force of the Titan, to the more precise tactics of a Hunter, Destiny does well to allow you to play your way. Stay at a distance and snipe two races of aliens who are fighting eachother, or charge in guns blazing to take them head on, the choice is yours. This isn’t fully explored though, and most firefights – whether they start off stealthily or aggressively – end up the same way.

And here we have Destiny’s biggest shortcoming. It tries to do too much, and suffers because of it. Rather than choose one thing to excel at, and perfect it, Destiny spreads it’s wings and does as much as it possibly can. It certainly accomplishes a lot, but in its attempts to tackle too much, it never truly explores any specific element to its fullest potential.

For example, Destiny has a far bigger world and more variety in it’s environments than a game like Borderlands, but its RPG elements aren’t as refined. The shooting has more variety than a game like Call of Duty, but the competitive multiplayer is far less rewarding. Destiny spreads itself too thinly over too many elements, and so doesn’t manage to truly nail any one of them.

At the end of the day, Destiny is a great start for what could easily be a fantastic new IP. The story is blah, and riddled with clichés, and it manages to do more than other games, but not as well. In spite of all this though, I have been playing pretty much non-stop since I got it, and I plan to play far more in the future. If you can pick this up at a reasonable price (and for this title, anything under £40 is reasonable), you should definitely try it out.

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