We've taken to Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order like a Womprat to sand. But how does it hold up?
Light or Dark? Our In-Depth Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order Review
We take the lesser plumber through a Gooigi-tastic hotel, combined... with numerous ghosts and levels for review spin!
Ectoplasmic! Luigi's Mansion 3 Switch Review!
Obsidian returns with its latest RPG, this time with the creators of Fallout in tow. So then, is this New Vegas in Space? Or something entirely different?
The Outer Worlds Review - Spacer's Choice
Going hands-on with Minecraft RTX we immediately knew we were witnessing something truly special.
Minecraft RTX – The Building Blocks For a Ray Traced Future
Destiny
Destiny

PlayStation 3 | PlayStation 4 | Xbox 360 | Xbox One
Genre: First Person Shooter
Developer: Bungie Official Site: http://www.destinythegame.com
Publisher: Activision
Release Date:
September 2014
Destiny Review
Review By @ 02:00pm 16/09/14
XBOXONE
When a game is capable of polarising audiences both core and casual, it must be doing something right. Destiny has been garnering some of the most fluctuating review scores for a Triple-A title in quite some time, and looks to have struck myriad nerves among a lot of people who were expecting more.

It’s not a bad expectation, mind, but it’s one that is premature in the type of game Destiny is and perhaps shows a narrow mindedness built on the shooter genre, that really doesn’t need to be there (or simply can’t) because of Destiny’s persistent online nature.

Before I get into my subjective verdict (and let “subjective” be the only warning to any militants out there that our reviews are always going to be based on personal experience applied to a broad understanding of games and their audiences), I want to address the lower-end scores and concerns that have been rearing their head since Destiny’s launch on September 9.



I mentioned earlier that the game’s persistent nature is a hindrance to certain expectations. These are more easily addressed in the narrative construct of the game, because as a persistent world, Destiny’s story can’t really reflect player impact. Moreover, the idea that at its core, the game’s storyline is too vague and lacking in finer detail, is a moot point because there’s a timeline for its lifespan that intends to flesh the game-universe out with new events and bigger story sequences that will eventually weave a very rich tapestry. These aren’t supposed to happen in 15-30 hours of gameplay from purchase, they’re supposed to happen over a two or three-year lifespan.

In short, what players are getting their space gloves on now, and what reviewers are lamenting is a base game. And that’s okay.

It’s also okay that people might have an issue with this. The barrier of entry, as has been pointed out by many, is relatively low and easy. Even the Hard missions can be tackled with a decent Fireteam and so you’re able to progress pretty quickly to higher levels (like, 10 and onwards). But when you look at Bungie’s heritage there’s a certain deliberation in this, because the deeper you get into the game the more it pulls you down a rather scaling rabbit hole.

If you haven’t picked up the game yet, or you really only farmed the first few levels on Earth, it’s important to know that Destiny becomes a glimmer of its future self at around level 15. 15 is where character micro-management becomes an active thing, and its where crafting, collecting, bounties and Strikes start to feel more expansive and important. It’s also from 15 that the game’s difficulty spike hits where making your way to the higher levels definitely keeps you on your toes.

By 15 the game-world(s) should also all be open to you now, meaning you’re now in charge of your own fate. Of course the story and endgame content continues to deliver for higher levels, and then there’s the raid but as a lite MMO, Destiny finally feels like a certifiable investment when you’re properly in your teens. I managed to practically solo my way to this level, which is a pretty good indication of the split between co-op requirement and couched-up single-player investment. That deliberation I talked about earlier, this is where it becomes important, because the game does a wonderful job sucking you in through its sheer scale, its gorgeous art-direction and design and its visceral combat. And as the challenge scales while you’re being pulled into this ambitious world, the chief requirement to actively seek out people for a Fireteam starts to flicker and before you know it, you’ve become a Destiny social butterfly.



The social aspect of the game is perhaps a bit muted though, but in my time during the beta and post-release across both PS4 and Xbox One I’ve had nothing but good experiences. It’s a difficult game to troll in, and there’s a greater emphasis on getting the job done in Destiny because the challenge can be pretty unforgiving when you’re doing top-end Strikes and the like (better off played in an invited party for chat purposes). Getting in and out of games with friends and strangers is ridiculously easy, allowing you to cater the experience to what you’re feeling is the right approach at that point in time.

I also feel that it has a solid element of pick-up-and-play where bite-sized chunks of gameplay are concerned. It’s the sort of game you can come home from work or school and just jump into for an hour or two, without losing your place or feeling lost in the world and narrative. That isn’t a comment on its ‘apparent’ lack of finer detail, rather a point about the pacing of missions and combat and how digestible everything is. Though at higher levels your required time in certain aspects can surpass an hour or two, but more on this shortly.

I’ve alluded a bit to it in the latter part of this review’s opening, but Destiny’s most compelling element is its combat. AI is the usual Bungie affair of smart and challenging, where they’re tactics and tenacity can often take you off guard. And enemy types are varied enough throughout the playspace that it doesn’t (currently) feel like too much of a grind. Player movement is also pretty neat and if you can master the double (and eventual triple) jump mechanic with sprint and slide, you can start to really show off and play the game the way it was intended. However, there are a few glaring omissions from conflict where missions are concerned that might have propelled the combat and tactical component of the game to new heights, and they’re just a small part of a lot of problems.

Most missions and encounters follow a very familiar path: find destination, deploy Ghost. Ghost hacks thing, enemies come in swarms, Ghost finishes. Move on. Rinse, repeat.

Destiny very rarely mixes up the above formula which is a real shame because its core gameplay principle where combat is concerned is fantastic, but even this starts to decline when you’re in your 20s because enemy encounters aren’t changed with behaviour modifiers or different mission parameters, the baddies just come packed with higher health which really only forces the conflict to last longer. And loot, so far, has been one of the biggest lacking factors of the game post-launch.



The loot system is problematic early on because you can plough through most encounters with level-specific basics. When you start to get greens the game’s micro-management stuff does open up, and you do become more powerful but the urge to seek out higher gear isn’t really there because the game scales appropriately. Moreover, drops just aren’t that good and it can take a really long time before you even get your first blue, let alone anything else worth jumping up and down for, but the rarity of these drops has the opposite effect Bungie likely hoped for, by way of removing your desire altogether. Basically, if loot doesn’t matter, why should you worry about getting any?

And this is why Destiny has divided so many people: it’s trying to be all things to all people without realising it should carve out its own path. As a persistent online shooter with fantastic combat, great AI and visual vistas to die for, it’s a winner. If you like your settings both sci-fi and fantasy-based, like some 80s rock opera, you’re going to bite into it here (the lore based on the Moon is fantastic, in my opinion). And if you thoroughly enjoy rewarding cooperative play with friends while facing crazy, giant bosses or just riding around together on different planets on your speederbike, Destiny more than delivers.

If you’re a more core MMO player though, or someone who enjoys games with loot for the loot, Destiny might not initially give you what you’re after. It might take a while for you to realise the meat of the game isn’t collection, it’s combat. You’re able to vanity brag in the Tower and collect items, but these are rarely brought to the fore and can often go unnoticed or even unloved. There’s depth to be had here though, and it’s how you play and approach Destiny that will determine what you get out of it. The studio’s heritage is bound to it in spades, but really, that’s not a bad thing when all’s considered.

Personally I’ve found the experience to be a visceral and engaging one. I’m a huge fan of the mythical sci-fi fusion and have eaten up the planetary environments -- on a visual level -- like they’re going out of fashion (though I can’t really buy cars being on Venus, Bungie). Destiny is a visual design utopia and looks great on both consoles, regardless of your allegiance. It could have done with a bit more diversity in character creation -- generican voices, for one (read: generic American), but that’s an aesthetic thing, really. It’s also a game still more than worth the price of admission in its initial form because its presentation, narrative-game length, visuals and core mechanics are top-notch, they’re a pinnacle of Triple-A and show a maturity on Bungie’s part in waves over their last Halo gig.



That alongside this we not only get excellent co-op options, PvP by way of the Crucible and the promise of more content to be delivered over the course of the game’s (expected long) life actually feels like a bonus. There is room to improve and build upon this base, but it’s a fantastic base regardless. It should only get better from here on out.
What we liked
  • Tight, visceral combat with excellent enemy AI
  • Incredible art-direction throughout -- Mars and the Moon are standouts
  • Co-operative play is easy-as-you-please, engaging and fun
  • Some bosses are ridiculously awesome in power and size
  • When you get decent loot, the game's combat can shift in your direction for the good
  • Great player movement system
  • The Hunter's throwing knife
  • Promised flow of future content
What we didn't like
  • Not available on PC
  • Higher-level combat just boosts enemy health and damage, there are no interesting modifiers
  • The game-world(s) could be filled with more discoverable elements
  • Mission structures remain largely unchanged mission-to-mission
  • Loot system needs some work
More
We gave it:
8.8
OUT OF 10
Latest Comments
groganus
Posted 03:10pm 16/9/14
I disagree with Steves feelings that the game isn't about loot its about shooting, yet I certainly agree with the fact the community is divided on it.

The emphasis on loot is huge at level 20, getting your light level up to increase your overall level so you can partake in higher level content is the game. They provide a great and fun to use mechanic to get you there (shooting s***). But ultimately its about shooting a lot of s*** to get those rare drops.

All I think about is loot and running more crucible and strikes to get it. The raid drops today and again, you need to be level 26, how you going to get there, with loot, what are you going to get for doing it.. loot. How do you upgrade your loot.. with loot. Its loot loot loot!

Other than that, great review.
Khel
Posted 03:30pm 16/9/14
I'm really enjoying it, but I don't think its fair to say that its only a base game and people shouldn't expect it to be fully fleshed out because theres more patches/expansions on the way. I mean, its basically following the MMO model in that regard, and when a new MMO launches (or a new WoW expansion or whatever), it still has a fully fleshed out world with a complete story, then the patches add new areas and new stories, or continue on with the story the base game told. The game at launch should still be a full game though that tells a full story, no excuse for that.

Currently its just all over the place, often you're shunted from location to location with absolutely zero information on why you're doing what you're doing. Perfect example of that is you do that last mission on Earth where you're trying to initialise the array in the cosmodrome (for what reason, I still have no idea), and then when you finish that mission nothing happens and you go to the moon and start an entirely new story thread with absolutely no link between the two or explanation of why. Then it starts talking about the Hive guys like you should already know who and what they are. Its just confusing and disjointed.

Yeah, you can go to the bungie website and read those grimoire cards you unlock ingame, and that gives a bit more background info on the enemies and whats going on, but really that should be ingame. At the very least I'd expect something like a Mass Effect style Codex ingame so even if the game itself does a fail job of explaining things, you can go there and read about it yourself.

I'll give them a pass since its their first attempt at it and the game is still good though. Its a testament to how fun the actual game is I spose because I'm a HUGE nut for lore and story, usually something done this half-ass I'd have no time for, but it doesn't bother me as much when I get into the thick of the action and I'm dropping nova bombs like they're hot.
Vash
Posted 03:25pm 16/9/14
The gameplay is fun enough to keep playing to obtain said loot, though.
The world is nice, but there is not enough incentive to explore the nook and crannies.
arkter
Posted 03:40pm 16/9/14
Not available on PC


"We hate more money" - Bungie (or whoever made this call)
Khel
Posted 03:57pm 16/9/14
Oh yeah, and it also REALLY bugged me when the game completely ignores the fact my character is Awoken when you go to the reef to see the other Awoken. He acts all dumb like he doesn't know what Awoken are or how they survived, and then the others act like hes a complete stranger/outsider. It was seriously sloppy storytelling.
groganus
Posted 04:03pm 16/9/14
Currently its just all over the place, often you're shunted from location to location with absolutely zero information on why you're doing what you're doing. Perfect example of that is you do that last mission on Earth where you're trying to initialise the array in the cosmodrome (for what reason, I still have no idea), and then when you finish that mission nothing happens and you go to the moon and start an entirely new story thread with absolutely no link between the two or explanation of why. Then it starts talking about the Hive guys like you should already know who and what they are. Its just confusing and disjointed.


I've heard this a bit, I managed to follow the story fairly well, it is posted below, shrouded by spoiler tags, only read if you have finished the game.
Spoiler:

The traveller arrives to earth, it’s a f*****g wondrous beast, technology age booms, life expectancy increases, we travel the galaxy and colonise planets, and everything is awesome. Suddenly we are attacked, it’s a Darkness that has followed the traveller to our system. It badly damages the traveller, in its dying breaths it creates ghosts, to help defend it while it lies dormant (maybe its repairing itself, maybe its turned off, who f*****g knows.)
A ghost is traveling around looking for a guardian to revive, he requires an intact body, guardians are unique, they can wield light and help protect earth.
Dinklebot finds you, you are revived, the first missions are about getting you ready, get yo gun get yo ship. Oh snap you killed a bad dude, you are a tad more unique compared to other guardians, say since your unique I heard a rumour about some s***, it involves some signals I picked up, could be nothing but who knows. Oh btw, the hive are on earth again, what the f*** are they doing here I thought they were on the moon, something serious is going on.
Check out signals, holy s***, definitely something there (maybe related to Rasputin, As you learn a bit later Rasputin was an AI). Signals point to the moon… message from another guardian that needs help.
Go to moon, trace guardians steps, discover the hive are very active on the moon and have managed to take down the guardian you were following. His ghost is dead, but you find out the Hive are definitely up to no good and it looks like they are ramping up to attack. Stop the hive but get another signal pointing to venus, once again you go check it out.

Boom enter the stranger, Boom Enter Vex, Stranger informs you that the small presence of Vex are nothing compared to what else is out and about, and you need to stop it. Find the black garden.
Go to the awoken, they tell you kill a gate keeper (vex uses gates to get around, its how they attack worlds, I think gate keepers stop people using the portals the other way). You kill gate keeper, Awoken are pulling some s*** and are still hesitant to give you details, but the queen sees your potential and sees you are a future tool for her doing, so after agreeing to do what shes asks when you ask she gives you the rough locations to the entrance of the black garden.

Arrive on mars, the cabal are here, they are race that have a strong military background. They are fighting the vex on mars and trying to keep territory. You learn they too have discovered a portal which dinklebot believes to be the gate. Take on the cabal and power up the portal. Head through the black garden.
Find the heart of the black garden, the vex think this is a god, in reality its more like corruption, it’s a part of the darkness that is following the traveller and is trying to consume the galaxy it’s hiding in the black garden. You destroy the heart by weakening it as it protects itself. On its death the magic it used to hide itself and the blackgarden vanishes and you realise you never left mars, you are still there.
One traveller is slightly repaired yet still not functioning, you have also removed a serious threat. The end.




There is even more stories in the strikes, but the above spoiler restricted stuff is the core of the main storyline. I felt it was a complete story that leaves the world open to expansion. It could of been clearer I guess, but I can't say, I picked it up and followed it well.

Oh yeah, and it also REALLY bugged me when the game completely ignores the fact my character is Awoken when you go to the reef to see the other Awoken. He acts all dumb like he doesn't know what Awoken are or how they survived, and then the others act like hes a complete stranger/outsider. It was seriously sloppy storytelling.


Sadly this small detail is explained in the grimoire cards, those who leave the awoken in the reef are treated as outcast and no longer recongised. (excluding the dead orbit guy who is in the tower at the queens request, hes not happy about it). It doesn't pair up completely but its the only explanation you will get.
Eorl
Posted 04:54pm 16/9/14
I just want them to fix loot. Spending a good 10-15 minutes doing a strike and I get awarded maybe a green is just stupid. If you are going to be a loot-based game, have the decency to give me loot please.
Khel
Posted 05:11pm 16/9/14
I haven't got to max level or anything yet, only about level 15 I think, but I haven't had too much drama with loot, I'm wearing three blue items atm I think, and even destroyed a couple of blue items I got because I didn't need them. Got greens in pretty much every other slot. Also got a few blue engrams and a few green engrams in the bank that I've saving to decrypt later on as well.
Viper119
Posted 08:28pm 16/9/14

Man, suprised at the not great review from Gamespot:

You might summarize Destiny by the way in which it wraps up its story. Once the final, hackneyed closing scene finishes, fireteam members are awarded the same weapon, regardless of class, and a handful of currency. This reminder of how wholly unspecial you are is the big finale of a lavishly produced but troubled game that excels in the basics but lacks creativity and heart. It is role-playing grind in shooter form--an empty house built on a firm foundation.
http://www.gamespot.com/reviews/destiny-review/1900-6415863/


tvcars
Posted 10:18pm 16/9/14
Interesting, still don't know why I would buy it. When they make a FPS and not provide a PC version then that by itself isn't going to get my vote. They keep getting it wrong these game developers these days. I bet you would need Playstation plus on the ps4 as well which equals more $$$. Was quite disappointed to find out when I got D3 on PS4 that either myself or my friend would need to buy a playstation plus subscription just to join games over the net, was free on the PS3. Can anyone confirm this for the PS4 version?
Meddek
Posted 06:45am 17/9/14
Eorl does have a point after level 20 finding the loot to increase your light and level is a bit more tedious, I played three hours last night did a few strike playlists with some mates and the only decent thing I got was gloves but the gloves were a huge improvement, and then found some new weapons but they were only slightly improved.

Still loving this game though, I was the Grimore cards were more accessible in game though like they were an audio log to play
groganus
Posted 07:48am 17/9/14
Leveling up light gear will also increase your light rating, the defense upgrade on gear in particular, I hit 20 on Friday and have just hit 25, it's been slow, but at the same time i'm leveling up my 2 classes so I don't mind.

The raid dropped yesterday and going by what I've read its amazing. Full on strategy, Sadly getting 6 people together is going to be the real challenge.
Tollaz0r!
Posted 08:34am 17/9/14
link
Eorl
Posted 08:51am 17/9/14
The way engram identifying is just absurd and so, so backwards. If they wanted to have an RNG system just make it roll lower stats or something. Don't make it so an engram that is legendary has the chance to turn into a blue, it literally makes no sense.
Meddek
Posted 02:49pm 17/9/14
Yeah I picked up a legendary engram today and I was jumping out of my seat, I was so dissaponted when it was a blue
glynd
Posted 03:41pm 17/9/14
Interesting, still don't know why I would buy it. When they make a FPS and not provide a PC version then that by itself isn't going to get my vote. They keep getting it wrong these game developers these days. I bet you would need Playstation plus on the ps4 as well which equals more $$$. Was quite disappointed to find out when I got D3 on PS4 that either myself or my friend would need to buy a playstation plus subscription just to join games over the net, was free on the PS3. Can anyone confirm this for the PS4 version?


You can do the normal missions but Strikes require PS+ iirc
Mantorok
Posted 05:01pm 17/9/14
The worst thing is when a legendary engram isn't even gear. You think "Yeah, I'm getting a weapon!" and it turns out to be currency or a crafting material.
tommoz
Posted 05:24pm 22/9/14
Does not deserver 8.8. Borderlands blows this OUT OF THE WATER in almost every possible way, other than the persistent online and pvp, which is nearly pointless anyway. What a piece of s***, typical over hyped activision trash, dont waste your money.
copuis
Posted 05:37pm 22/9/14
until I got thru the story, and the grind that is trying to level up after hitting 20 this game was really enjoyable, and was a firm nine in my book

sure the missions are really re-playable, but i'm not as sold on the rest as I was during the beta
Khel
Posted 05:43pm 22/9/14
Does not deserver 8.8. Borderlands blows this OUT OF THE WATER in almost every possible way, other than the persistent online and pvp


Apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order... what have the Romans done for us?
Commenting has been locked for this item.
20 Comments
Show