Destiny is the type of game that a good number of console players are not familiar with. The core gameplay is a first-person shooter, however, that is only one part of the overall package. As you progress and get deeper into Destiny you can see that the base of a lot of the concepts come from the MMO genre. There is loot to be found, items to be upgraded, leveling up your own character, joining clans and much more. Obviously all of that is not exclusive to MMOs, however, the way Destiny approaches some of these conventions is very “MMOesque.” Once you get past level 20 the game really then begins to open up for you where you will be given many more options when the weapons that are being dropped have their own skill trees and you can truly start to customize your character, among many other things. Amidst all of this there is also a story where you as a Guardian need to save humanity itself from impending extinction at the hands of the Darkness. I’m not going to go too deep into storyline details here but I enjoyed learning the backstory and how we arrived at our current position. There are a number of different enemy groups to fight off here with the Fallen, Hive and more. If you finish the story and want to go a bit deeper into Destiny lore you can also go on to Bungie.net and look at all of the Grimoire cards that you have unlocked which will give you backstory on a number of different items.
As I mentioned above, you are on a quest to save humanity from impending doom. When you begin the game you can choose one of three character classes to play as: Titan, Hunter and Warlock. I spent the majority of the time on the Titan class as it seemed to be the best fit for my playstyle. The Titans are the warriors, they will get up in your face and go at challenges head on, whether it be shooting an enemy from 20 yards away or smacking them in the face with a melee attack. The way Destiny approaches telling its story is interesting as it is somewhat linear but not really. When you get to where you can pick what story missions you want to do next you are given a brief description of each mission. You can do them in any order you want, however, a little strategy is going to be necessary here. You obviously aren’t going to want to go through a mission where it is recommended you be at level 10 if your character is only at level five. You could go through that mission but you will have a much more difficult time then if you had waited until you were at the appropriate level.
As you go through story missions other avenues open up to you, such as being able to participate in strikes. Strike missions really aren’t connected with the main story but they are great places to gain experience, loot and more. You can play with up to two of your friends forming a fire team of three players and you are going to need every single person to take down some of the big bosses in the game. In one strike mission early on in the game you need to find a Servitor and and destroy it so that the enemy’s strength in that area weakens. Doing that will give you some decent experience points, upgrades and potentially some cool armor if the enemy happens to drop anything. Working as team here will obviously make things a bit easier. If you try to lone wolf it then you put your whole team in jeopardy. If a teammate gets taken out you will have the chance to revive them or, if enough time passes, they can simply respawn themselves. You want to be careful here though because if all three of you get wiped out at the same time then you are going to have to restart at the last checkpoint. There were a couple of instances where both of my team members where down waiting to be revived. It was far too dangerous for me to run to where they were though so I just stayed where I was and waited for them to respawn on their own. If I had tried to rush over and revive them and was taken out before completing that objective, then all of us would have been downed and we would have had to restart the fight at the last checkpoint. Having great weapons, armor and stats is fantastic but you also need to play intelligently if you want to succeed.
As you progress through the game you will get to visit a few different planets. You can’t completely free roam on these planets but it at least changes up the scenery, enemies and things of that nature when you do planet hop. You can also sign up for “patrols” that will allow to explore the planet at your leisure and you can help everyone out by completing small, optional side quests. Your quests might range from getting 200 shards that enemies will drop so people in the last human city can study them or simply exploring an area and getting as much intel on a specific location as you can.
In addition to all of the single player content there is also competitive multiplayer as well. To participate in these multiplayer modes you need to visit the Crucible. You will need to go through some story first as the Crucible isn’t immediately available, however, once it is, you can go there if you want to participate in some competition against other Destiny players. There are five different modes to select, however, again, they aren’t all available at once. The first mode is “Control.” In this mode you are on a team with others trying to control certain locations of a map. When the round first begins you can see markers for “A,” “B,” and “C” and the objective is to have your team control as many of those as possible for the longest amount of time. The more control zones you are able to hold down, the more points you get. If you are controlling only one zone you will get 50 bonus points for kills as opposed to if you are controlling all three zones and gaining 200 bonus points per kill. The first team to 20,000 points wins.
Next up is “Clash” which is essentially the team deathmatch mode you find in a lot of shooters. Pretty much everyone should be familiar with this concept but for those who aren’t, the team with the most kills at the end of the round is victorious. Next is “Skirmish” which is essentially like team deathmatch with a couple of different changes. In this mode if you have a teammate that gets taken out you have the option to revive them or let them respawn somewhere else. If you do choose to revive them you will receive 50 bonus points as well as a temporary armor boost for both of you. This is a game of strategy though as reviving someone might not always be the best course of action. Obviously you want your team at full power the entire time, however, if reviving a fallen teammate puts you in harms way then you will need to quickly weigh the risk vs. the reward in that instance.
“Rumble” is the fourth mode on offer here and is basically a free-for-all deathmatch. There are no teams here and it is everyone man for himself. The final mode is “Salvage” which is essentially an objective based team deathmatch. You will want to take out your opposition like you normally do, however, you need to concentrate on finding relics as well and sending them back to your ship for bonus points. Once you have acquired a relic you will need to set up a probe so that you can activate the transmission. You can also prevent the other team from capturing a relic as well. In this mode the match will end when either the time limit expires or one team reaches 10,000 points, whichever comes first.
As I alluded to before, the way you experience Destiny will change as your character levels up. From the beginning of the game until you reach level 20, you can level up by doing normal tasks such as completing missions, playing multiplayer in the Crucible and just your normal tasks within the game. Once you get to level 20 you will notice how things change and the game lets you get more creative. There are, for example, guns that can save ammo when you miss a shot. You will gain better access to Rare and Legendary gear (with that said though, it can still be tough to get). Once you have hit level 20 there is a new leveling system that you will need to get used to as well. Leveling up from that point forward is based on the amount of Light your armor is carrying. If you haven’t hit level 20 yet in Destiny then you probably have no idea what I am talking about as Light isn’t a property that becomes available until you hit level 20. After going through and beating the story, I was also able to sort of “re-mix” story missions I had previously played with a bunch of different modifiers such as having new enemies be there, increasing the difficulty of the mission and much more Even later on in the game you will gain access to Nightfall missions which Bungie makes available on a daily and/or weekly basis. These up the challenge even more as enemies might be immune to things they weren’t before here, they might have a higher defense and various other things like that. There is a significant amount of content available for you to do and Bungie keeps adding more. There is no way for me to cover it all in this review but it can be pretty staggering.
I’ve referenced loot on a number of occasions throughout this review and Destiny seems to have a very interesting loot system in place. When I say “interesting,” that could be either a positive or negative depending on your own personal experience. It appears to me that getting any type of Legendary or Exotic weapon (once you are able to do so) is somewhat random. Once you come across a engram in the game you have to take it to the Cryptarch to decode it. Once he decodes it you could very well get a Legendary or Exotic item…or you could get an uncommon or rare item that you really can’t use. When you are playing against others in the Crucible, at the end of fights it also seems to be somewhat random as to if you will receive any rewards or not. There are slots for two possible rewards and there were some matches where both slots were filled with rewards and then other matches where I wouldn’t receive anything. In my time with the game I can’t really see much rhyme or reason to it. Of course, if you are really lucky, then this could be a great way for you to get some really valuable items in your inventory. If you aren’t so lucky then you might get frustrated.
Destiny is the type of game console gamers are not used to. As such there will undoubtedly be some “growing pains” for players to become accustomed to this as well as for Bungie as they find out better ways to get people comfortable with these “new” systems. That said though I had an absolute blast playing Destiny. The gameplay is spot on, the game looks really pretty, the score is pretty amazing amazing and so on. Destiny is a game I can see myself playing for a very long time due to the sheer amount of content there is to do coupled with the fact that Bungie keeps adding new content. I highly recommend picking this game up, just have the appropriate expectations going in. This isn’t Call of Duty or Halo and it isn’t supposed to be. This is an FPS mixed with some MMO tendencies and more. The exciting part is that this is only the beginning of the franchise and as good as this game is, the inevitable sequels should be much better. This is a great foundation for what Bungie hopes is the next big franchise and I can’t wait to see what else they have to offer.
Originally posted on Gaming Target