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Review: Destiny


Destiny has been out in the wild now for a week and some players like myself have finished the main storyline (so far) and hit the max. level cap, So what did I think of it?
Welcome Guardian, to the evolution of FPS gameplay, better strap in because its going to be a fun and exciting ride. I first experienced the world of Destiny during its BETA period at the end of July this year, over the space of two days I levelled my character (Warlock Class) to the maximum of level 8 and I explored every single inch of the Cosmodrome, the Earth based section that was the primary playing field for the beta test. As soon as the beta ended I marched straight into my local game store  threw my hard earned cash onto the counter and demanded I pre-order the limited edition Destiny PS4 console & game.
Now to give you some perspective on this, I have never ever done anything like this before, I tend to wait a few weeks after a games release, gauge the public’s reaction and then decide if I’ll be buying the game at full price, but the beta for Destiny was so immersive, beautiful and down right fun that not only did it make me throw my usual cautious purchasing method out the window it also made want it on the latest gen console as well.
destiny1The development of Destiny has been a long road for Bungie, hints of the game started to appear as far back as the excellent Halo 3: ODST in the form of a blink and you’ll miss it advert in the city of New Mombasa.
Over the next five years, following the announcement that Bungie was signing a deal with Activision after their split from Microsoft Studios more and more info regarding Destiny was released, and excitement grew. At rumoured budget of close to $500 million gamers waited with bated breath to see what wondrous marvel Bungie were about to unleash on the gaming populous. Following the huge response to the Alpha and Beta testing, with numbers reaching a staggering 6.5 million games played in the Alpha alone, the final version of the game was all but guaranteed to hit silly numbers once released. And hit the sillies it did, Destiny now holds the record for “the most successful release of a new game franchise ever” hitting the $500 million mark in the US alone, Bungie seem to have once again hit a home run.
Now on to the game itself.
When you first start up Destiny you need to create your character, there a few choices you need to make, like what race your are going to choose, Human, Exo (Robot type)  or Awoken (these guys look like a cross between a Vampire and an Elf) the game also has three class types to choose from, Titan, Warlock and Hunter. Each class has its own look and set of abilities, your choice of class does not effect the overall gameplay of Destiny so choose which ever you prefer personally and jump straight in. The opening sequence of Destiny sees your “Ghost” (voiced by Game of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage) searching the ruins of a Cosmodrome on Earth. What is he searching for? Well he is searching for you, he resurrects your remains, dragging you smack bang into the middle of solar system wide war between “The Darkness” and Earth’s protector “The Traveller” You have been chosen to join the ranks of the Guardians, Earth’s last line of defence against the oncoming Darkness.

The opening section of the game is as always a find your feet and get used to the controls bit. When you start out you do not have all of your abilities, these come to you over time, but do not worry, the game moves along a solid pace so you will get to grips with it quickly and will soon find yourself blasting your way through large groups of foes. Once you complete the opening sequence you find yourself at The Tower, Earth’s last stronghold against the Darkness, this is the central hub of the game, and you will find yourself returning here countless times to buy weapons, new armor, collect bounties and perform numerous other tasks. You will also meet your Class Vanguard here, who over time can provide you with mission rewards, and when you garner enough Vanguard points and Level will also provide you with legendary gear and weapons.
The main story of Destiny is cut up into sections, with each part taking place at a different planet. The first section of the game takes place on Earth where you fight two races of Alien, the Fallen and the Hive, second on the Moon again you fight the Fallen, and the Hive, who are much more of a threat here, third is on Venus where you face the Vex, a rob0tic like race, with a slight detour to a place called The Rift to meet the leader of The Awoken, then back to Venus for more Vex fighting. then its on to Mars to fight the hulking cabal who look like giant turtles in Space Hulk armour. The storyline is quite straight forward, with Bungie opting for putting a lot of the backstory into grimoires that are unlocked as you playthrough the game and can be read on bungie.net or on the destiny mobile app. Bungie have also employed their usual cast of geektastic voice cast with folks like Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Bill Nighy and Peter Stormare to name but a few.
Each section of the main storyline can be played solo or in a fire-team of three. Bungie have pushed Destiny as a multiplayer experience be it in story mode or the PVP sections of the game, and it certainly shines when played in a group, especially if the group has a representative of each class taking part. The play area for each section of the story mode is enormous, and breathtaking to look at, I have spent a lot of time just looking at the scenery in this game, and Im not alone, many a gaming session I see a few players just standing on a cliff edge staring at the sunset or the moon.
destiny3Bungie do the usual amazing job at game mechanics, Destiny boasts some of the best mechanics I have ever seen, everything flows so well. Gunplay is a joy to behold, with each weapon type having their own advantages and disadvantages.
I loved the melee mechanics Bungie have always delivered in this category, there is nothing more satisfying than landing a solid blow to the face of your enemy and hearing the crunch of their mug caving in Each class have their own variation on the melee attack, the Hunter whips out a short blade and combines a stab and a punch which even made me wince slighty the first time I landed it, the Warlock mixes in their Jedi like powers which eventually power up enough to allow you to turn the poor recipient of a solid smack to the chops into a floating bomb, and finally the Titan pummels their victim into an undulating mass of crushed matter with a punch so powerful their ancestors can feel it.
As with most of your abilities in the game the melee attack grows in power with each level, allowing you to add modifiers for numerous effects, and with each class comes to different subclasses which allow you to mix up your abilities depending on what way you wish to power up you character.
The other part of Destiny is the PVP multiplayer section called the Crucible, and in true Bungie style the gameplay here is second to none.  The game types that are current available are Clash, Control, Rumble, Salvage and Skirmish. When you start the Crucible only Control is available, you must complete one game of this type in order to unlock the others. Bungie have always excelled in the PVP environment, Halo boasted some of the best multiplayer FPS maps and games types ever conceived, it also took older PVP ideas like capture the flag and gave them fresh new life, Destiny seeks to do the same with game types like Control and Salavage. Participating in the Crucible is also garners you points with the Crucible Vanguard, which in turn allows you procure legendary amour and weaponry.
Destiny is not without its flaws though, some might find the story section of the game quite short, even though it spans across the four main sections of the game. Bungie have promised that Destiny will have quite a long lifespan, with constant story updates and DLC becoming available over time. I personally went into this game looking at it as the first chapter of a long story, I completed the main storyline in a few days, I took my time and enjoyed every second of it. They game itself is immensely replayable, in fact it relys on the player to re-visit the same locations numerous times, giving you new challenges when you do. The four main areas of the game are reused throughout the game, for the main story, the patrol missions and for the Stiek missions which sets you up against big bad bosses for new gear and experience. Bungie have been updating the game types over the last few days with different Strike Playlists available depending on your level.
The game areas are huge, some of the largest areas I have ever seen in a game, only yesterday after already reaching the lvl cap and finishing the main storyline did I find a new section of the Cosmodrome on Earth that was filled with high level beasties that were a solid challenge and gave up some nice loot.
Another outstanding part of Destiny is the phenomenal score from Marty O’Donnell and partner Mike Salvatori. Definite echoes of their work on the Halo series, but Destiny’s score jumps to a more grand scale, particularly in moments in the game like the “Last Array” mission or even just the main ship screen where you choose you next destination, O’Donnell and Salvatori have out done themselves.

To sum up, I have really enjoyed my time playing Destiny, both at the single player level and also the multiplayer level. Some reviewers have complained that it’s a game with very little substance, I personally disagree with this. I find it boggling that some review sites have led with headlines like “Bungie’s worst ever reviewed game!” clearly deciding to go for the now tired and horrible click bait headline, only to give the game a solid 8 out of 10.
This is only the beginning for this title, I look forward to the in-game universe expanding. Destiny looks amazing and plays like a dream. Yes the story mode is short, but more instalments are coming which will add to this, areas are reused but they are so big that everything remains fresh and replayable. The PVP is second to none, with a fast learning curve and brilliantly designed maps that complement the multiple game types. Graphically the game is beautiful, I have seen comparisons between the last gen and new gen systems and the differences are subtle, with the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions holding their own against their new shiny brothers.

Destiny delivers on many levels, it may not have given us everything promised on launch but patience is a virtue! 9/10


[Words, Wayne Talbot]