Your story begins at this moment of great adventure and peril. You are a Guardian of the City; a soldier able to wield some of the Traveler’s incredible power. If you can find a way to save The City – to reclaim all that we have lost – you will become legend. If you fail, the last light of civilization will go out.
These words echo in your head throughout Destiny, your man’s only hope and boy do you feel like it.
Destiny, released in September this year from world renowned developer Bungie and released by Activision. An online first person shooter, with a scientific setting, Destiny is both visually stunning and story enriched. Destiny also features some big names as voice actors, Peter Dinklage (made famous by Game of Thrones) plays your faithful companion, Ghost and Bill Nighy cast as The Speaker.
The game depicts our world, seven hundred years in the future in a post-apocalyptic world with the opening story set in old-time Russia. The setting follow the “Golden Age,” a prosperous period of exploration, peace and technological advancement, in which humans colonised numerous planets in the Solar System and then “the Collapse” meaning the end of the Golden Age and mankind almost ceasing to exist.
The only survivors being “the Traveler,” a celestial body and those saved by it. The Traveler now situates itself above the City (the last safe haven) and allowing “Guardians” known as the defenders of the City to wield the mysterious power known as “The Light” of which the Guardians are said to be forged out of. Playing one of the said Guardians, the player is able to choose one of three races, Humans; the most common race, the Awoken; a mysterious species with dark blue and white skin tones and finally the Exo; a machine-like race known for their ruthlessness and power. With each race you can play a few different classes, Hunters, Titans and Warlocks, with each class having its own perks and powers.
Along with choosing your race and class you can customise your character with hairstyles, facial markings etc.
With the voice actors I have previously mentioned, some were a good fit however one left me wondering why. Peter Dinklage who I have previously mentioned, plays Ghost, however his acting is uncharacteristically flat. You keep expecting him to say something amusing however it never really comes. I mean don’t get me wrong he is funny, but something not up to his usual standard.
Bill Nighy, however continues to amaze me with all his talent and was tickled pink when I discovered he was a voice actor for Destiny. He plays his part very well with his characteristics and mannerisms shining through. Providing a very nice change of pace when you speak with him.
Unlike numerous other first-person-shooters you become the focus, not your gun. I spent way more time customising my appearance with each defence update with my armour and ship/ ride rather than the guns I was carrying. In saying that however there is a huge arsenal of futuristic weapons. You can choose between four primary weapons, fours secondary and two heavy weapons.
In saying that in the weapons and gear side of things lies a problem, all of it is pretty much left to chance. Acquiring new shiny things becomes a pain when random loot drops can reward you with rare and uncommon items or simply things that you can metaphorically decorate your ships dashboard with. Loot drops are few and far between and it’s the highest quality stuff that is like chasing that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, never ending and extremely frustrating. It always feels like a grind to earn the gear to play the most challenging content and get a 1UP on the various other players in the PVP content.
With Destiny front running as a game of immense exploration I was quite disappointed with the lack of exploration there was. Players can access 4 different main combat areas, Earth, The Moon, Venus and Mars. Although these maps are rather large I would have liked to explore more of the solar system. Sneakily hidden chests yield some glimmer but they disappointingly don’t level with your character, yielding more so always better to get them the first time around. High-level monsters and unique public events that spawn at random times are all well and good however there was just not enough variety to keep me entertained for my third or fourth run through of each location.
As a social game I was quite disappointed with the lack of communication. You can only talk to your Fireteam members and no one else. I think it would have been best if they made it proximity only, positive so you can speak to people near you, rather than having to communicate with dancing and pointing like an endless game of charades, when you come across a fellow Guardian on a mission. And possibly when you were at the tower, could have made it so that you could turn voice chat on and off. The dance parties held at the tower are quite a fun little break from the grind.
The missions in the campaign themselves are enjoyable however their seems to be a fair bit of repetitiveness as each mission consists of mainly reaching an objective, activating your Ghost and defending it from waves of constant attackers, whilst all being in a respawning restricted area which can be quite a pain when you unexpectedly die when you are almost at the end of the mission.
The graphics in Destiny are fantastic. The landscape is stunning and each location is set out differently. Earth is best described as a junkyard, hundreds of broken bodies of cars littered around, our legacy as humans long forgotten. The moon is just as it is described to us, barren and white and not made of cheese, thankfully. Venus is a dense jungle planet and Mars, the typical red planet. The way that Bungie has designed the landscapes is truly awe-inspiring, looking as realistic as possible and definitely something I would imagine.
Now that I have covered the main game I shall bring you to the Crucible. Or if you don’t know, the multiplayer, competitive component. The playing field is levelled with gear and weapons normalised however it is fast paced and challenging which is as you would expect. According to Bungie there are eleven multiplayer maps, all tied to specific playlists so I have only seen a few of them. Bungie also still hasn’t released the multiplayer modes so if you don’t play on a specific day you can’t play all Bungie has to offer.
In summary, Destiny was always going to aim high, Bungie’s last success with Halo was definitely a couple of big shoes to fill. It looks and sounds fantastic on next generation consoles and PC players have a lot to be jealous of. Drop in multiplayer system is almost perfect and the game universe is fun to explore. However with all its positive aspects Destiny simply doesn’t have enough currently to justify the slow grind of gear progression.