Ahh Destiny… the next frontier for Halo creator Bungie, teaming up with Call of Duty publisher Activision, the hype train was set on full steam leading up to release, with game starved console owners foaming at the mouth for a slice of Sci-Fi action, and I for one couldn’t wait either.
On September 9th we finally got our hands on it, I’m now 20 hours in and have reached level 25 with my trusted Warlock, and what my general impression? Very Good! Let me give you a run through.
So what is Destiny? In a nutshell, it’s an open world, first person shooter with MMO elements, Bungie refer to it as a shared world shooter; although it is notopen world in a traditional sense, more a series of sand boxes connected together. To reach other parts of the map, you as a player at times will have to pass through a structure or building to reach the next open area, very clever, as there are no loading screens due to this format! Well that’s the theory anyway; I have been caught by a cheeky loading icon that froze my character for a few briefs seconds, nothing major just an inconvenience.
There are 3 character classes, Titan, Warlock and Hunter, and you will have limited customisation on their appearance at the start. To be honest I was hoping it would be at a Skyrim level but was duly let down. Each main class has two sub classes that essentially all play the same but the main differences are their special abilities and ‘Supers’ that is charged after each use, plus appearances are unique to each class . The Titan is the typical tank, defence points are high and you can sustain a heavy amount of damage, ground pound with the Striker sub class or use the defence bubble with the defender (FYI very useful in the Control mode in the Crucible!). On to the Warlock, the support class, wielding the power of the Traveller you have the Voidwalker subclass – Nova bombs! That is all! Then you have the Sunsinger class, I’ve got to be honest…. I really didn’t fancy going down this road, bringing ‘Radiance’ to my fellow Guardians is not how I role, and I felt boosting everybody else’s stats temporarily took away from my ability to dish out the damage! Last but by no means the least is the Hunter, the rogue ranger class, Gunslinger is the primary subclass in which the ‘Super’ gives you 3 high powered shots with a handgun and then then more intriguing Blade Dancer subclass that gives you the ability temporarily teleport to the enemies point blank and knife them, very nice!
Overall gameplay is spot on for me, imagine a Call of Duty/Halo lovechild, open world space COD, that the basic gist of it. There is plenty of running and gunning, with a simple objective…Kill all the enemies! But not to worry as you have plenty of ways to do this. As mentioned earlier the ‘Supers’ are the most devastating and satisfying way to dispose of you enemies, plus you have three weapons slots, Primary, Special and Heavy. Gun mechanics and controls are very similar to the Call of Duty series so most gamers will settle in quick,
Also some vehicles are on offer, I’ve got to say, it’s a bit lacking in this department……. Call me greedy but all you have is a Sparrow – the mandatory non-combat speed bike, a Pike – a fallen combat speed bike and an Inceptor – a kind of small hover tank. Where’s the rest of them Bungie? Halo had way more!
Now you may have read other reviews, you may have seen negative comments about the storyline and the lack of it, and guys… it’s true, I’ve got to say I’m not too interested in it. My best advice to you would be ‘embrace your fellow Guardian’, a ‘Fireteam’ consists of up to 3 players and you will have fun, have a laugh and moan about your peers taking ages sorting through their loot! Playing as a lone wolf may be your style but it gets….lonely. If none of your mates fancy it then you will come across other players in the game, definitely, publics events encourage co-operation between Guardians during patrol missions and also matchmaking is available for the Crucible (competitive multiplayer) and Strikes (a long mission ending in a big boss battle). One of my biggest gripes is the fact there is NO matchmaking for the Raid missions, for me this is unacceptable, you need 5 other players that you know and have to be level 26 or above to take on a mission that takes hours. Epic fail in my view, there are plenty of players that will never be able to partake, this needs sorting!
Moving onto Loot, we all love loot, that why we play most games isn’t it? For the rewards? Each player will get their own loot drops from chests and enemy kills; it’s an elegant system really. The prized loot drops take form of Engrams, they are colour coded to give you an idea of what to expect when decoded by the ‘Cryptarch’ in the Tower – the games 3rd person social safe space – but expect to be disappointed….. A lot! All too often I have found a rare (blue) and legendary (purple) engrams that offer the promise of legendary and exotic loot, but just end up being trolled by the Cryptarch with Uncommon – Green (by the way, this game will make you hate green!) weapons and armour; however when you finally get that sweet gun or armour piece you’ve been waiting for, it’s worth it my friends. Bungie have just release news that a patch is on its way to remedy the complaints about the loot system, once release if you find a legendary engram you WILL get at least a legendary Item. Thanks Bungie, lots of kisses.
Let’s talk effects; visually the game is amazing, running at 1080p and at a steady 30FPS it’s very pleasing to the eyes, especially the environments! The moon surface is probably my favourite, looking up at the Earth and nebula is just beautiful, lighting and shading are all taken into major consideration. Top Class. Sound is also satisfying, plasma grenades, sniper rifles and vehicles all sound crisp plus the backing tracks for each map really add to the experience.
I want to talk competitive multiplayer for just a moment, named the ‘Crucible’, for a lot of people this is very important, the pinnacle, nothing like beatingyour fellow man in an arena of combat! There are various modes Control (capture the flag), Clash (team deathmatch), Combined Arms (maps with vehicles), Salvage (race for ancient relic drops) and Skirmish (3v3 deathmatch). I found the crucible everything you would hope for from a good Call of Duty match, no cheating and a bit more to it than running and gunning, you can use all the weapons you’ve acquired during the campaign but all advantages are disabled to level the playing field. Overall if you’re into competitive multiplayer then I can’t imagine why you would be disappointed!
So it wouldn’t be a real review without pointing out some of my biggest gripes right? The AI at times is predictable but overall is an improvement from the beta, in open areas the enemies are designated zones to stay in, pin point areas and they won’t move from them even if they see you! Why not hunt us down? Why keep them looking from a distance and wondering when you’ll be in shooting distance from their spot? Also lately I’ve been participating ‘Queens Bounty’ missions, Bungie, they are missions from the campaign that we’ve already done! Just making the enemies higher levels does not make it new! Despite the promise of legendary items as rewards! Guys the game does get repetitive, but with 3 character types and being designated 3 character slots I would really recommend you give them all a go, also change the difficulties as like Halo you have different levels to test your skill – Easy, Normal, Hard, Very Hard, Legendary etc.
Overall this is a very good game, there was a lot of hype mainly due to the marketing powerhouse that is Activision, the lack of storyline, limited character customisation and some repetitiveness stops Destiny from being a mind blowing game; however you will enjoy it and you’ll spend many hours grinding away for that exotic armour. All the different game modes do prevent it from going too stale but there is so much potential, let’s see what the DLC bring in December! Definitely pick up a copy!
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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