The tagline of Destiny is “Become a Legend,” but did the game itself become a legend among all other video games?

It did reach $325 million in its first five days, and it even helped bring PS4 sales up last September, which attributed to beating Xbox One for the ninth month in a row. In terms of sales, heck yes, it’s one of the legends.

But take away the cash cow attribute, is Destiny still legendary? It depends on who you’re talking to. Destiny garnered polarizing opinions, and for many, it’s hard to say if the game really lives up to its tagline. So, here’s my verdict.

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Graphics and Aesthetics

destiny graphics

Props to Bungie for the wonderful detailing of each planet.

Bungie made a bang up job on the aesthetic look and feel of the game. The world of Destiny is so visually arresting, that it almost feels alive. Each astronomical body has their own unique visual characteristic and gives players a general idea of its history and what it offered before the alien conflict. Venus has lush terrain with orange lakes and ponds. Mars is a desert with grand rock formations, hills, and sandy mountains. The Earth and the Moon is exactly what we would picture in a post-apocalyptic scenario.

The conceptualization of each location in Destiny was well thought of. Aside from this, Bungie has also paid attention to little details that most gamers would not notice. There is a general sense of time in Destiny, and the skies change from day to night and vice versa. The skies and planets in view move as well. Fancy taking a trip to the Moon? Notice that the stars actually twinkle and move slowly. You will even see the earth rotating in its axis.

The menu’s layout, though a little awkward to navigate, has a clean, modern, and minimalist look that I didn’t expect in a sci-fi game. While most sci-fi games present large, clunky, and over-the-top menu designs, Bungie makes Destiny’s menus more readable with a sleeker interface.

Gameplay

Combat

destiny world

The game’s combat feels so similar to Halo, it almost felt Bungie used Halo as its foundation

Right off the bat, you will immediately be hit by a wave of nostalgia as the combat system and controls are very Halo-like. Experienced Halo players will find it easier to get into the game, and if you have not played a Halo game in your life, the controls are simple enough to understand and you will find that your character is light and easy to manipulate. For the more serious FPS gamers, you’ll find that there is no cover system in Destiny but with the many large objects scattered in any map, be it in campaign mode or competitive multiplayer mode, you can quickly find your work-around in those spots.

In campaign mode, or any other PvE mode, the pacing of enemies and levels are once again, very Halo-like. Each level feels like a dance floor, and as soon as you hear the epic music fade up, you’ll know that your enemies will soon file out of the corridors, hallways, spaceships, and other nooks and crannies. As you travel through each level, a few enemies will be scattered around your pathways, and most of the time, you’ll be able to predict their presence.

Speaking of predicting the presence of an enemy, Destiny introduces a new feature in your HUD that will let you know when enemies are close to you. Two circles surround your navigator, and are divided into different directions. When your outer circle is red, that means your enemy is within the zone. When your inner circle is red, that means your enemy is close by. When your inner circle starts blinking red, then your enemy is within shotgun range. While I prefer the element of surprise, the HUD does a great job in preventing campers in competitive multiplayer.

Aside from its new HUD however, there’s nothing significantly new that Destiny brings to the table. Combat is rather simple in Destiny if you don’t put your character’s “special” abilities in the equation.

i bet more of this would have made destiny better

Perhaps more hack and slash moments incorporated in the combat of the game would be a nice and exciting twist?

Multiplayer

destiny friend

Meeting up with friends is surprisingly hassle-free.

This is Destiny’s strongest asset. Playing with friends or against other players is quick and almost seamless. Organizing cooperative games like Strikes, Raids, and campaign missions, takes only a few seconds. Once you and your Fireteam (Destiny’s “party” equivalent) are ready, the game quickly takes you to your destination. Destiny’s social hub is called the Tower, where you and your friends can hang out and just goof around. Your camera gives you a third-person perspective, which allows you to appreciate your character more and indicates that the Tower is a place to lower your guns and enjoy the view.

Destiny’s competitive multiplayer “arena” is called the Crucible with a variety of modes a player can choose from. A maximum of 12 players can join one Crucible game, which is just the right size in my opinion. Levels are disregarded and weapons are balanced generally when it comes to matchmaking, thus your own skill is the determinant in winning. This is a great and thoughtful decision. Even if I have one of the poorest K/D ratios (which usually happens to me), it only means that I should get better, and not buy “premium” items or close the level gap.

One thing I wish Bungie considered however, is the map size. Some of the maps are too large or too small. Some maps take your more than a minute to find an enemy if you aren’t in a hot spot. Other maps don’t give you a chance to breathe.

RPG Elements

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Three classes with their own sub-classes. They’re simple enough to understand, which is good for gamers who aren’t into MMORPGs.

Bungie added RPG elements to this FPS game, and though they are basic, these elements are just enough to not overwhelm or over-complicate the gameplay and mechanics for average gamers.

Character Class

You can choose from three character classes (Hunter, Warlock, and Titan), play a bit with the look and race, and upon reaching a certain level, you can choose whether you want to switch to a sub-character type or stick with your original choice. Though it gives you flexibility, switching from your main character type to your sub-character type has a major setback that could deter you from switching at all. All the attributes you received from your main character type does not transfer when you choose to be a sub-character. So you have to earn even the most basic skills or attributes again if you choose to be a sub-character, even if you’re at a certain level already.

Levelling

One of the most interesting things I’ve noticed in Destiny is the fact that upon reaching level 20, you can no longer level up through the usual means. To reach above 20, you must have items that contain “Light.” These items aren’t completely rare, but they aren’t so common either. Most of the time, you can get these items through the Crucible, though. This makes the game more interesting.  Levelling up through “Light” is very important, as it makes it easier for you and your friends to finish Strikes and Raids (a Raid game can take players hours to finish), thus you are given a goal even after playing the main campaign. Some items start with a low “Light” amount, but that can easily be remedied through upgrading your armor, which brings me to the next segment.

Upgrading

Crafting isn’t a feature in the game, but there is upgrading. When you use a specific armor or weapon over and over again, it gains “experience.” When you fill that item’s bar, you are given the option to upgrade. Some upgrades are free of cost. Others cost Glimmer, the game’s most common currency. Special ones however, cost specific items. These items can be very common or very rare.

It will be a good idea to stock up on these items as soon as you start seeing them. Come level 20, you’ll realize that some items are hard to come by. Upgrade items are important when you reach level 20, as most of the time, these are needed to upgrade “Light” armor. FPS shooters who aren’t used to farming and grinding may not appreciate this, and will choose to just spend more time at the Crucible or play Raids and Strikes to get items with more “Light” points. Either way, it continues the players’ quests even after the main campaign.

Narrative

too soon destiny

I didn’t even have a clue that this was the last battle in the campaign.

This is the most disappointing aspect of Destiny. Destiny has the best set up for a great, fulfilling narrative, and it failed badly. The setting is beautiful. There are a variety of races and “cultures.” The concept of “the Traveller” and “Light” and how it helped the human race flourish and expand territories beyond earth is very interesting. Even the few characters you meet have potentially interesting stories. The lore is enough to garner a deserving narrative, yet we end up not knowing the hows and whys of the game.

So many questions aren’t answered in Destiny. Why are certain enemy factions against other enemy factions? How do Ghosts give life to the dead? How do they choose which people to resurrect? Who is the Traveller? Who is the mysterious character who follows you and why does she always speak of doom? Why does the Queen treat some enemy aliens as a part of her people? What happened to the Reef? The game raised so many questions, and answered none.

Sure, there are Grimoire cards (rewards for certain achievements) , to give you the lore of Destiny. But rarely does anyone check their cards anyway. These types of strategies should be reserved to supplement the game’s story. Not tell the whole thing. It’s incredibly annoying to step out of the game and read just to know how and why everyone and everything happened in the world of Destiny.

Looking at Destiny, there should be an exciting and rich story that gives a player purpose. With such a huge and wonderful setting, the story should have been the main driving force of a player to play the game. Instead, after the main campaign, we are left with only routine activities just for the sake of leveling up and becoming more powerful to fulfill non main campaign missions.

And this is even more disappointing considering the fact that Bungie made this game and it is so easy to compare the game to Halo. One of the main reasons why Halo was such a success, was despite the fact that the general narrative was a huge “save the world” trope, the characters, the emotions, the stories of the different factions and the unfolding of events made the game exciting. How Bungie bungled the main campaign of Destiny is baffling to me!

Conclusion

dinklage

They already have an epic setting. They even have Peter Dinklage as the voice actor. This SHOULD be a legendary game. Sadly, even if they had all the bells and whistles, it still wasn’t enough to make it feel like a legend. It didnt even make me feel like a legend.

Destiny was a let down instead of a legend. Technically, the game lets you have fun on your own. You have a vast world to check out. You can have friends play with you without the hassle. The game is wonderful to look at. And most of the mechanics of the game are well thought of. However despite it being a fun game, it feels dead when you’re doing routine and almost robotic activities for the purpose of doing an activity that is not even part of the main goal or narrative. Only by playing with or against other people does the game become alive. The game doesn’t make you feel legendary. It only gives you your set-up and it’s up to you to do that on your own. If I only look at the Multiplayer aspect of Destiny, I’d give it a 9/10. But as a whole game…I’d give Destiny a 6.5/10. It’s a smart game, but it doesn’t have a soul.

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