Destiny (PlayStation 4) Review

By Leigh Groocock 28.09.2014 1

Review for Destiny on PlayStation 4

The day has finally come, ladies and gentlemen. Bungie has finally released its highly anticipated MMO-shooter and nothing could be more exciting than to get hands-on with it. It's still weird to think that Bungie isn't working on the beloved Halo series anymore, but hey, times change. Let's move onto their new IP, Destiny, a game that is meant to keep players occupied for the next ten years.

It's not the best way to kick off a review, but it's the elephant in the room when it comes to Destiny. Bungie is famous for its incredible, epic storylines and immersive worlds, but unfortunately, Destiny only features the second half of that statement. Reviews tend to cover a glimpse of what the story revolves around, but after an ungodly number of hours in this wonderful universe, the best information that can be provided is that dinklebot (the little ghost companion) awakes the chosen character, tells them to run, then it's off to travel around the solar system killing everything in the path. There's no linear storyline in the game, other than the occasional cut-scene, which may not even make any sense if one happens to not play the missions in their experience-related level. An example of this poor storytelling is in a brief cut-scene where the Speaker basically tells the player that he could tell them what happened to Earth and what the guardians are, but for whatever reason, he decides not to and walks off.

As the game is played, 'Grimoire' cards will gradually be unlocked from accomplishing in-game milestones, which range from collecting dead ghosts to killing X number of a certain enemy with a particular class. These cards can only be accessed on Bungie.net, which makes zero sense as they contain the entire lore behind Destiny and actually give it some semi-logical plot. There is some really fascinating, imaginative stuff in there, but fans are forced to go out of their way to enjoy it. It makes no sense whatsoever why these can't be accessed directly in the game, as they'd be a great time killer during the extremely long load times.

Screenshot for Destiny on PlayStation 4

Earth, the moon, Venus and Mars are available to be explored and conquered, and it's fairly disappointing really, as the universe that the player experiences as they travel from planet to planet is so unique, unlike anything that games have seen on this scale before. It's almost as if Bungie ran out of time trying to implement the actual story into the game; piecing it together is what's left instead. Every environment is different from the other, running into everything from grand, alien colonies to ruined relics of previous civilisations.

Destiny contains a variety of different activities to participate in, however, the majority of the missions boil down to travelling to a location and killing a boss, or travelling to a location, interacting with an object, then defending against multiple waves. These vary on length depending on whether playing in a single story mission, a daily mission or strike mission, which can last anything from 20-60 minutes. The raids are the only thing that breaks away from this formula, involving a variety of the above, as well as multiple stage boss fights and massive puzzles, which require top notch team work.

As can be imagined in a game like this, a lot of different enemy types are come up against, and Destiny does not disappoint in this area. Each planet has its own unique enemy type, and they're notably different from each other; anything from robots on Venus to giant ape-like people on Mars will be faced. One similarity between the bunch is that the harder difficulty enemies tend to have shields, which turn them into the most ridiculous bullet sponges imaginable. After each kill, there is a small chance that weapons, armour or an engram may drop, which can then be handed in at the Cryptarch in exchange for a random engram-related item - these can be anything from a common white item to an extraordinarily rare exotic, which are the true power items of Destiny.

Screenshot for Destiny on PlayStation 4

If looking to kill a bit of time, then it is easy enough to head towards the Tower where a range of different NPCs can be interacted with, which will sell all sorts of lovely items, saving the effort of grinding away and being endlessly heartbroken by the Cryptarch. Other than these NPCs, the Tower serves as the main hub world for Destiny, but lacks actual social features, making organising teams with strangers almost impossible. The bounty board is always worth checking out as completing these random tasks will reward with large amounts of experience, making levelling up to 20 a breeze, and it'll allow different aspects of the game that you may have missed can be experienced.

One thing that Destiny does unfortunately fall short on is the multilayer and social features that were advertised and players hoped for. Throughout the game, the majority of missions have a hard-cap of only three players in a single fire team for story, Strike and Patrol missions, and only six in Raids and the Crucible (Player vs. Player, competitive), meaning someone will always be left out. The social side is disappointing, as well, as there are no options for trading with players, no voice chat in public areas and no in-game clan support, yet it's available on the website. This means that communicating with others is impossible - unless already in a pre-arranged group - as most game modes have no matchmaking support at all.

Screenshot for Destiny on PlayStation 4

Destiny boils down to three main classes, which are the powerful Titan, the speedy Hunter and the magic-fuelled Warlock. Each of these classes has two separate subclasses, letting one tailor the skills to how the game is preferred to be played. The Titan allows enemies to be dominated with a powerful ground slam, or defensive bubble shield can be summoned; the Hunter can wield a flaming pistol that will kill even the most powerful enemies, or dash to enemies slicing them in half; and finally, the Warlock can unleash a devastating nova bomb, or control the power of the sun to support team mates. Even though it may feel that one class is more powerful than another, Destiny is surprisingly balanced, and each class fills a very specific role, especially when tackling more difficult circumstances, such as the Strike and Raid missions, which require huge amounts of team work and communication. The skill set in each class has a decent amount of variety, but some are notably better than others. This does tend to mean that at the endgame, players have the same skills equipped.

It has taken most players a fair amount of time to understand how Destiny's endgame levelling system works, and it's possibly one of the weirdest features in a game to date. The player will play through the game, completing bounties and battling in the Crucible to hit level 20, which is the level/experience cap. After this point, the next few weeks must be spent killing enemies and hoping that an armour piece with light is dropped, letting higher levels be reached. The more light an armour has, the higher the level the character is, meaning to reach the true endgame content, it's completely random. Players' ability to hit the max level should not be based on luck, as the vast majority of time (around light level 24) will be spent losing the will to live, and becoming incredibly bored with the game, and frustrated with the Cryptarch mocking all the while.

Screenshot for Destiny on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

It is easy to want to love Destiny - it does so many things brilliantly, but at the same time, it does so many things half-arsed, almost as if it isn't quite sure what type of game it wants to be. The majority of problems that Destiny currently faces could easily be fixed within the next major update, but that doesn't change the fact that the current state of the game has a lot of issues. It's a truly epic experience once the real endgame content is reached, but until that point, the player constantly hits brick walls, and the only thing they're able to do to progress any further is start the mind numbing grind and hoping that they get lucky enough to receive some armour with light.

Developer

Bungie

Publisher

Activision

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Best review i've seen of Destiny so far. Doesnt let the lack of story put too much of a damper on the final score.
I love the game, but sadly Activision has the tendancy to do this when they sign a contract with a good game company.

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