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Start the fight with Destiny

Sept 30, 2014

By Daniel Barron - G4 Canada

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DestinyFor some, the wait for Destiny has been nigh-unbearable, and the corresponding weight of expectations has grown ever-heavier.

This new IP from the original developer of the Halo series may not be the game-changer many had hoped for, but there's certainly potential the size of Jupiter in this ever-changing title. The ability of its reward system to suck some players in, meanwhile, is stronger than that of a black hole.

Destiny shows off air-tight first-person shooter mechanics that developer Bungie honed throughout the course of several Halo games on the Xbox and Xbox 360, while adding in a melange of upgrading and loot collecting objectives. The result is an interesting yet imperfect game that will surely require weeks, months, and maybe years to come to fruition.

Destiny's story revolves around the Traveler, a massive entity that came to our galaxy and brought with it an age of enlightenment. It allowed humans to populate other planets thanks to its ability to make once-inhabitable environments habitable.

DestinyThen, a powerful enemy of the Traveler's, simply known as the Darkness, came and nearly destroyed everything during an event called the Collapse. The Traveler was able to push back the Darkness, but the Darkness returned, and it, along with several alien races, aim to destroy humanity once and for all.

You, of course, are the soldier who is tasked with making sure humans aren't unceremoniously wiped out from the solar system. You're a Guardian - essentially, a badass who is given special powers in order to combat all the bad things traversing outer space.

That summary sounds plenty intriguing, but Destiny falls into the all-too-common video game trap of trying to meld story exposition simultaneously with gameplay, and it simply doesn't work.

In fact, it was only a few short hours before I was completely lost, story-wise. Players can unlock dozens of digital cards that help flesh out Destiny's back story, but they can only be read outside of the game, whether on a home computer, tablet, or smartphone. I'm confident that only the most dedicated fans of the game and world will actually keep track of Destiny's lore; the rest will be left watching generic cutscene after generic cutscene and listening to the embarrassingly miscast Peter Dinklage as the narrator.

DestinyPlaying through the story is only compelling when you factor in certain parameters. Simply put, Destiny was built as a co-operative experience, and it shines brightest while playing it with friends.

The thing is, virtually every single-player objective comes down to "fight a wave of enemies/get your floating AI helper to open a door/fight more enemies/fight boss." That being said, doing these things can be a lot of fun as long as you're with some buddies, and moreso if you play on a higher difficulty level.

Beyond the brief core campaign experience, players can revisit planets for numerous reasons. There are Patrols, which task players with finishing random bite-sized objectives, as well as Strikes, which are similar to story levels, but culminate in extremely challenging boss fights.

Like virtually every other aspect of this game, Bungie is constantly updating these different modes. Strikes are being added on a regular basis, while Raids - insanely difficult battles that require six friends who are all at a very high level - are also being put into the mix.

DestinyThere is also a much more conventional competitive multiplayer section of Destiny known as the Crucible. Here, players can fight it out on teams of up to six in your usual game modes such as team deathmatch (Clash) and capture-and-hold (Control).

Call me a slave to familiarity, but Crucible is where I've had the most fun so far. Bungie proved with Halo that it's more than capable of crafting balanced modes and extremely well-designed maps, and Destiny is no exception.

As much as I enjoy Crucible, I do have issues with it. There are currently only four modes available (with Bungie swapping out new ones regularly), and only two of them support the maximum six-on-six. This means that if you have a large and dedicated group of friends playing Destiny like I do, you'll be limited to playing the same two game types over and over again.

There are also currently no private matches available, meaning that if six friends are together and want to try the three-on-three modes, they're out of luck unless they split up. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this is downright ludicrous in 2014.

DestinyThere also isn't any in-game voice chat between players who aren't together in a fire team. This probably isn't that big of a deal, since the introduction of private party chats in recent years has all but ended strangers speaking to each other in any way besides to grief. It is worth knowing going in, though.

Regardless of whether you're playing the campaign or the Crucible, there is plenty of opportunity to snag loot, and while upgraded weapons and armor won't make a huge difference in competitive multiplayer, it's imperative to upgrade if you want to stand any chance of completing raids or other missions on higher difficulties.

This is one of the most divisive aspects of Destiny, with some players being completely drawn to the idea of finding rare items, and other players simply wanting to run around and shoot things.

DestinyThe big issue is that loot doesn't come raining down from dead enemies, and as such, it doesn't have the same carrot-on-a-stick draw that similar loot-heavy games have such as Diablo III. More stuff may pop up as you level up, but I discard the majority of what I get now, as it's all too low level for me (I'm currently a level 23 Titan).

You can also earn items randomly after missions and Crucible matches, but it really is just that - random. If you hold your breath waiting for a hard-to-find weapon or piece of armor to appear after a match, you're liable to pass out long before the next round of DLC.

It's clear that Destiny is still a work in progress, although Bungie has never denied the game is anything but that. There's a lot of stuff to keep players busy for the time being, although anyone who buys this game a few months down the road is sure to be downright overwhelmed by what they'll be offered right off the bat.

Bungie made some really strange design decisions with Destiny, but the game is undeniably addictive. The plain truth is, I've put dozens upon dozens of hours into Destiny thus far - and I'm not done yet - and I simply don't play bad games that much.

 

Destiny
Format: Playstation 4
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Bungie
ESRB Rating: T for Teen
Official Site: http://www.destinythegame.com

Rating: 8 / 10

 
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