The wait is over (although I'm very late with the review), and Destiny is upon us - and Bungie has brought a fresh new universe and story to their fans worldwide. Destiny has been a highly anticipated (and hyped) game since details were leaked about the game in 2012. As such, expectations for the game have been incredibly high, both for its single and multiplayer aspects. The question is whether or not the game lived up to the hype, and we hope to answer that question in our review.
The first thing that players will encounter once they boot up the game, is the fantastic music that was score by Martin O'Donnell - the same composer who worked on the Halo series' music under Bungie. To say the least, the music really adds an "epic" vibe to the game, similar to how well the compositions of Halo really accentuated the gameplay and general vibe of the games. There's not much more that can be said about Destiny's music and sound effects than that they were as incredible as we've come to expect from O'Donnell - even if he's no longer with Bungie. Outside of the music, however, the voice acting was less than what would have been expected. The Ghost, played by Peter Dinklage, had a less than enthusiastic performance (As well as others), which truly hampered some of the cutscenes. Most had hope this would have been addressed after the Beta, but alas they were not.
There are two big components to the gameplay of Destiny - single player (co-op optional) and multiplayer. The single player of Destiny is all about travelling our solar system (for now) and completing missions that will benefit humanity and the other Guardians at the Tower. The multiplayer ties in to the game a bit as well, offering multiplayer-only factions, as well as players can level up by playing Crucible if they really wish. Both parts of the game have their pro's and con's, so let's delve!
Destiny is meant to be a game that has a lot of content over time, with Bungie promising about 10 years of content - which is a long lifespan for a console game. With that said, the content of Destiny at release is short and somewhat lacking overall despite being enjoyable to play your way through. Destiny is split up into various “areas” which happen to be planets and areas of the solar system, with individual missions and dungeons within them. Those missions each offer a different experience, depending on the type, and the missions which are party-based have the option to have the difficulty increased as well.
All missions and strikes are accessible through the same area that patrol missions are run through. For clarity, patrol missions are “open world” and allow you to roam the area and completing small objectives which award experience, glimmer (currency), and repuatation. In all honesty, every mission in destiny is linear with a start and end point, although they diverse in both difficulty and quality. The amount of story content is only enough to really get you to level 20, which is the soft level cap of the game (final is 28, explained below).
Multiplayer, as many would expect from Bungie after the success of the Halo series, is where Destiny will take up a lot of your time, and it’s worth it to do so. The multiplayer, which is aptly called the “Crucible” gives you an array of playlists to play on in either 3v3, 6v6, or free for all. There are a few options afforded to players who wish to play against other players:
- Control – Fight in a 6v6 arena, to control 3 points, getting points for kils + control. (no level advantage)
- Clash - Fight in a 6v6 team deathmatch setting. (no level advantage)
- Rumble - Fight in a 6 player free-for-all. (no level advantage)
- Skirmish - Fight in a 3v3 team deathmatch setting (no level advantage)
- Salvage - Fight in a 3v3 arena, to claim and salvage relics (no level advantage)
- Combined Arms - Fight in a 6v6 arena (with vehicles) team deathmatch setting (no level advantage)
- The Iron Banner - The ultimate in Crucible warfare, 6v6 team deathmatch WITH level/gear advantage. Winners get Iron Banner Repuation.
The cool thing about Destiny’s Crucible, is that you play in the exact same gear which you play with in the rest of the game. So if you prefer a scout rifle and a fusion rifle, then you can play with them – and even switch mid-game! While you won’t start with heavy weapon ammo, there will be drops throughout the match, as well as drops for special ammo. All playlists (except Iron Banner) are auto-balanced as well, affording the same experience around the board – level and gear, while their “skills” matter, will be scaled to match all the other players. If you want to be the best in the Crucible, then leveling up your class and customizing your character for your PvP playstyle is the way to get ahead.
The funny thing about the Destiny multiplayer, is that once you reach the minimum level for the Crucible, you can level all the way to level 20 through it if you wish. Because at the end of each match there are gear drops, you will still be able to get new guns and armor, although at a slower rate than you would in the single player content. Once you hit level 20, it’s also a great way to get new upgraded gear as you work on your weekly collection of Crucible marks and bounties. After level 20, players have the chance for Rare and Legendary Engram drops at the end of matches!
On the note of drops in Crucible and Strikes, it's worth noting that it they are indeed random. No matter how well (or poorly) you do, the drops that occur at the end of Strikes and Crucible matches will be random. This his annoyed many gamers, mainly because instead of legendary drops being earned, they're gained by a random roll. But at least now Legendary Engrams are now guaranteed legendary items!
Once players hit level 20, the game adds a bunch of new features and aspects that aren't available before you hit the soft cap. First off, the actual "final" level at this current time is level 30, and is attained not through levelling - but by acquring gear that has a special stat on it. As a guardian, you're fighting the growing darkness, so what better to fight it with than Light? Once you hit level 20, your charcter has the chance for drops (blue or higher) that are above level 17 to have the "Light" stat on them, with your cumulative light score adding up to get you to a certain level. The light stat doesn't do much in terms of adding abilities, but the gear that has light on it is definitely more powerful than other gear without the stat.
There's a few ways to earn gear that will get you that coveted light gear, and players really have a variety of ways to get better gear. There are three main ways to do it (outside of loot caves and grinding enemies, if you feel like torturing yourself) - Strikes, Crucible, and through reputations/marks. Strikes, which are the same as the strikes you'll come across as you make your way through the solar system, have a playlist with varying difficulties as you get better gear - and you can earn Vanguard Rep and Vanguard Marks which can be used to purchase Light items from the Vanguard vendors. Crucible is the same at level 20, but allows you to earn Crucible reputation and marks, as well as gain repuation (if you have the correct items) for PvP Factions. Earning reputation and marks can also be done in the daily and weekly missions (strikes/story), as well as limited time events (such as the current one Queen's Wrath). Also, don't forget your daily bounties! They may be small, but they add up!
Once your light level is high enough, then you'll make your way into raids - which are 6 player co-operative dungeons designed to test the skills and teamwork of your group. These aren't to be taken lightly, as they are incredibly difficult! This is the true bit of Destiny endgame, and what you work towards after level 20. While Strikes allow you to queue up for parties to complete them, you must assemble your own team to attempt raids!
Destiny isn't just a shooter, it's also an RPG with an array of customization, and a social experience. Offering a wide range of customization options such as ships, weapons, armor, armor coloring, and more - Destiny offers players more than just guns or armor to choose from in order to make their character stand out. Want the coolest armor? Work towards it. Want to look a certain way? Find a shader! On top of that, it offers a great social experience that will bring players together to (usually) communicate as they complete tasks. While some of the social aspects could use tweaking, overall the system is well done.
A lot of players have had issues with Destiny and how short the content and story is, which for a normal game would be relatively fair - and does stand true for Destiny. Bungie wanted to create a shooterRPG, and while the content is short, the endgame is a long haul worthy of any MMO. One thing that likely could have been changed to alleviate a lot of players' complaints, would have been to add more content and increase the amount of time it takes to level. Generally, if you play regularly enough - level 20 can be achieved in under 24 hours of gameplay.
There are also two glaring issues that can cause issues for some players. First off, there is no couch co-op, so you can only play with your friends on other consoles across the web. So if you're looking to find a fun co-op game that you can play with your roommate or significant other, this isn't the best one for you. For any Twitch streamers, as well, you will find yourself having issues turning down the game volume in your stream because there is no option to do so. Just a warning before you try and talk and play!
The last thing that should really be touched on is the visuals of Destiny...which are downright phenomenal. From the environments, to your character's features, the care put into the looks of Destiny is fantastic. The Tower, which overlooks the Traveller and the Earth below, is gorgeous and you'll likely find yourself standing out on the ledge to look over! While Destiny is a game, and you want to beat everything you can, don't forget to stop and take in the incredibly well-crafted sights.
Overall, Destiny is certainly an enjoyable RPG-based shooter, with its only fault being that there just wasn't enough primary content and story to fulfill the single-player elements of the game. For anyone who is a Halo fan, you will certainly feel at home in the game, especially in the multiplayer aspects - which you can easily lose yourself in for hours at a time. Bungie took careful care to craft what was released at launch, and while some aspects (voice acting, for example) can be a bit dry, the game is truly enjoyable. If you're looking for a solid shooter wth both single, co-op, and multiplayer gameplay - we would recommend you check it out!
Author's blurb: Personally, I'd rank Destiny at a 90/100, but can definitely see some aspects of the game which should detract from the score, which are reflected in the review. I loved both the Alpha and the Beta, but wish many issues from them had been addressed a bit more.
If you're looking for a solid shooter wth both single, co-op, and multiplayer gameplay - we would highly recommend you check it out!