By Chance Croft on October 8, 2014 at 4:00pm
“Destiny” has been out for nearly a month now, and a lot has happened in that month. From a rise and fall of a cave of loot wonders to a vendor who nearly stole our items (I want my legendary back cryptarch), “Destiny” has managed to become more than a game. It has gathered a community for those of us who have been waiting for another fun sci-fi coop shooter. If that isn’t what you wanted, then it may not be worth the time.
The core component to any shooter based game is how fun and compelling it feels to simply shoot at an enemy. In “Destiny,” that value is incredibly high. Each Guardian is equipped with a primary weapon, secondary weapon, heavy weapon, grenade, melee ability, and super ability.
Primary Weapon / Secondary Weapon
Primary weapons consist of auto rifles, scout rifles (single shot), pulse rifles (burst), and hand cannons (pistols). Secondary weapons consist of shotguns, sniper rifles, and fusions rifles, which are a charge-up plasma style mid-range weapon. These weapons are very easy to find ammo for. “Destiny” doesn’t follow the "Borderlands" design of sometimes needing to buy ammo. Getting ammo caches for difficult challenges like raids makes sense, but not for everyday gameplay.
Heavy weapons consist of rocket launchers and heavy machine guns. Both have different intensities of velocity, range, rate of fire, etc. Rockets may seem like the obvious choice (and they probably are for PvP), but a battle-hardened Titan with a heavy machine gun can do work on a strike boss.
Grenade / Melee
Every class is given a different grenade and melee ability. Grenades don’t operate the same way in the majority of games as they do in “Destiny.” In “Destiny” a grenade is based on a cooldown, and that cooldown can be lowered based on what gear someone gets (but we’ll get into that later). Each class and subclass has multiple grenade options to choose from as they level up, giving quite a large variety. The melee operates on a similar function with one key difference. A guardian can still melee when the ability is on cooldown, but it is simply a melee. The ability charges a melee attack, but doesn’t take the place of it.
This is what you’ve been waiting for! A Guardian’s super is gained by shooting things and collecting orbs of light. Orbs of light are an object that is generated by ally abilities (usually, but not always, super abilities). A guardian cannot see their own orbs of light, but others can, and then in turn generate them for you! These supers include creating a big shield to protect your allies, charging a blade with lightning to rip through foes, throwing a giant magical sphere of “ouch”, and many more. Well, three more, but I’ll keep those a secret.
Classes and Subclasses
When you create a character in “Destiny” you get the option of choosing Titan, Hunter, or Warlock. Titans are the big strong ones, Hunters are the agile scouts, and Warlocks are the magical jerks who will kill you in PvP … at least in my experience. Each of these classes also has a subclass which can be leveled once you reach 15 (with a max level of 20). However, once you reach 15 on any one class, any subclass can be leveled. Each of these separate subclasses has a unique skill tree than can be tinkered to the player’s liking.
Leveling Up Weapons and Armor
One of the most important aspects of “Destiny” is the fact that you level up the gear that you get. A guardian can reach the max level fairly quickly, but the progression continues into the gear that one attains. These aren’t boring upgrades either. Some upgrades will say cool things such as “Melee kills replenish grenade energy.” Then when you start finding exotic gear, which is the highest quality, you can get direct upgrades to your specific subclass. One helmet may give you extra time in your lightning blade form when you kill people. Not that that would be overpowered at all… (/sarcasm)
Gear and Stats
There are three different stats that a guardian can find on their armor: Intellect, Discipline, and Strength. Intellect reduces the cooldown of the super ability, Discipline reduces the cooldown of the grenade, and Strength reduces the cooldown of the melee ability. Once a guardian reaches a certain level they will also begin finding “Light” on their gear. This will increase their effective level beyond the max, allowing them to take on more difficult challenges.
PvE Content: Strikes and Raids
Story missions are fun, and I will avoid them for spoilers. You can also choose to patrol a planet to get materials for gear upgrades and do boring fetch quests… or you can man up and do the strikes… like a man.
Strikes are 3 player dungeon style experiences that involve a big boss fight towards the end. These are extremely fun, and have multiple difficulty levels to adjust to the guardian’s current skill level. Eventually you can do nightmare strikes which have added effects, like getting booted back to orbit if you all die…
Raids are six player experiences, although I should say “experience” because there is only one right now (although there have been leaks to show two more in the near future). I personally haven’t done the raid yet (though I’m a high enough level, hit me up!) but have talked to people who have and watched many videos. There is no looking for group system, and the challenge level is extremely high… If you can get five friends and a few hours, give this a shot.
Bungie has always been known for having a competitive scene behind their shooters, but I just don’t quite see it with “Destiny” yet. I’ve played a lot, and I do enjoy a bit of variety in competitive shooters, but “Destiny” goes to a new extreme. Those crazy insane antics that occur in PvE translate to PvP sometimes, and that can get annoying. You’ll be one shot by a Hunter with his golden gun from across the map so many times, just get used to it. But things of that nature didn’t exist in Halo, Halo 2, or Halo 3, all of which I would consider to be a more competitive shooter choice than “Destiny”. Bungie is also having a lot more trouble balancing “Destiny” for PvE and PvP, which will always create some issues.
Repetition, Repetition, Repetition, Repetition......
“Destiny” is a very repetitive shooter. Now I’m not saying that “Destiny” is a bad shooter, far from it! I’ve spent many hours in “Destiny” already and I’m not done with it yet! But it is impossible to argue the fact that a lot of the mobs are repeated throughout the story missions and strikes. Rather than presenting the guardian with a whole new set of challenges to overcome Bungie simply chose to ramp up the difficulty. There are more mobs, they do more damage, and are harder to kill. It still does create a compelling challenge, but not the ideal one we all would like to experience.
Any Other Negatives?
More or less just with the variety of things. The variety of ability upgrade options is amazing, but it doesn't translate to the options for gear, weapons, or even story-mode gameplay. Every single mission is just a big game of "follow the Dinkle-bot until waves of enemies come at you." There are no vehicle missions, race missions, explore missions, etc. All of them just end up throwing wave after wave of monsters at you, until you eventually kill them. This negative can be diminished by playing with people, but it shouldn't rely on it. Solo players should be able to experience the joy of story missions without getting bored of doing the same thing over and over. Even the explorable areas aren't as large as, and don't contain the variety that, you need to fully enjoy them. Hopefully there are more in the near future, because as of now I have explored it all.
“Destiny” is a great game, but it does have a lot of flaws for how long it’s been in development. The shooting is fun, and you will spend many hours in game with a smile on your face, but it doesn’t quite reach the potential it fully could given the money it had. They couldn't even scrounge up enough money to get a voice coach to tell Peter Dinklage that his speeches are bumming everyone out. With the cast they had, the story and the voice acting should have been phenomenal, but were letdowns. I won't even begin to go into it, because it is so shallow I want to save what spoilers I can. But it’s fun, and I’ll still be trying to level up my Titan for the foreseeable future. Bungie has, so far, been one of the most helpful and responsive developer teams that I have experienced to date. So I do see a future for “Destiny.”
Want to get hyped? Watch the live-action trailer below!