Destiny Review: A Tale of Two Genres
Destiny has been out a little over a week. I still think the game needs a little more time for a full review, but this is enough time for a "state of the game" so far review.
So far, I've had a lot of fun with Destiny. I'm someone who plays both First-Person Shooters and Massively Multiplayer Online games. I understand both sides of the coin, and I also listened to what Bungie said about holding off on reviews.
Is the game perfect? No, but it isn't done. But this isn't because Bungie just shipped an unfinished product, it is meant to be this way.
An Evolving World
Most people agree that the story missions in Destiny get stale quickly and the story is not done well. I agree, but it also isn't the end. People have to understand that the last story mission in the game now, isn't the last story mission the game will have. Will the quality of the story get better? I don't know, but if you feel like there should be more after you finish the story missions, that's because there will be more.
The story so far is more of an introduction. Is this because Bungie is lazy or want to ship with low content? Nope. They purposely did this because Destiny is a world that will keep changing. Their purpose is to introduce you to their world and have everything unfold over time.
They want players to feel a sense of progression, rather than the whole story and finale at once. Some players don't like this and that's okay, but saying the game is bad because of this isn't fair to the design.
There are already events listed that are coming out this month. One of those is the Queen's Wrath. This adds new bounties and a new faction with new gear.
Not just a shooter, not quite an MMO
Destiny does not fit nicely into one genre. Reviewing as one or the other isn't right. Take into account what Destiny actually is, an online world you can constantly come back to that allows you to shoot things with friends and strangers.
There are 3 main classes to choose from, each with 2 sub-classes. Each sub-class is different from the other and is leveled up separately. This effectively makes Destiny have 6 classes to choose from. You level up, get new skills, choose a character build, and so on. This is similar to many Role-Playing Games.
Yes, Borderlands had this as well, but what sets Destiny apart from everything else is what happens when you hit the max level of 20. Once you hit level 20, the essence of an MMO appears.
You have marks that you collect to buy better gear and there is a weekly cap to how many you can get. There are factions you need to gain reputation with to actually buy the gear.
There are bounties to complete that change every day, daily heroic story missions, and weekly heroic strike missions. High level gear has light, which raises your level past 20. Think of this as a gear level because the only way to raise power is to get better gear... starting to sound familiar?
Also, you keep leveling your class past level 20, as well as your other sub-class if you choose. Not to mention the experience you need to level up your gear so you can upgrade it. You'll have a long grind ahead after hitting 20. It may not actually be an MMO, but there is no denying that nearly everything you do at max level are things you do in MMOs.
The Raid was recently released and it is amazing. If all the PvE content was like this, the game would get a perfect score.
Of course, remember that this is all experienced as a First-Person Shooter and the core mechanics of the game are that of a shooter. This is blended with abilities and stats to create a beautiful hybrid that I greatly appreciate.
Things that need improvement
The game is far from perfect, realize that. The story missions are the same, repetitive content every time: Kill guys, run here, kill guys, wait as the Ghost fails at his one job, kill waves of guys, done.
The story so far isn't well written and has awkward dialogue. The strikes are essentially killing enemies until you make it to a boss that has a bazillion health and constantly spawns the world on you. Health doesn't necessarily mean difficulty. All the enemies that come out during encounters are what make the boss fights so hard - not any real mechanic.
There are some small things that could help the game a lot: easier ways to create and join fireteams, heading back to the tower after a mission, and seeing grimoire cards in-game, are all things that would be greatly appreciated.
Although the plot isn't very good, the lore that Bungie created is amazing. I've started reading the grimoire cards and after going through one, I found better writing than the whole story combined. That's why these cards should be in-game! Having these only accessible from bungie.net is a terrible idea and doesn't give the cards room to shine.
From what I've seen, Destiny is more of a world that you want to be part of. You should want to come back everyday to complete new challenges, defeat opponents in the Crucible, and have dance parties at the Tower. As I leave you with my impression of the game so far, I've got one thing to say to the Cryptarch: Be thankful Guardians can't carry weapons in the Tower.
Despite some of the problems, the game is still really fun with friends and is designed to be played with others - it isn't a single-payer game. Give this game a try, you won't be disappointed.