Bungie’s Destiny is an ambitious game. Retaining the atmospheric sci-fi feel of their Halo series, the team is trying to redefine gaming for the new generation. Mixing together open world, MMO-style gameplay, deep story-based dungeons, seamless four player co-op and competitive multiplayer, it would be awfully easy for Destiny to collapse under its own weight. It’s impressive, then, that it doesn’t. In fact, based on our weekend with the alpha, Destiny could be one of the best games this year.
Starting with the obvious: Destiny is gorgeous. On PS4 the graphics are utterly captivating, and hours can be spent simply roaming the huge open world and taking it all in. The alpha had one mini sandbox, Old Russia: we’re told that the full game will have around five or six of these. This is promising, as the world we were presented with was not only vast, but also full of stuff to do. Thanks to the ability to summon a vehicle from anywhere, you can quickly traverse the landscape, bouncing from one side quest to another and taking out some alien enemies along the way. Destiny draws inspiration from MMOs like World of Warcraft – the side missions are all quite simplistic, such as “defend this area” or “destroy 10 robots”. They get repetitive after a while, but are a perfectly serviceable way of grinding.
You’ll likely be doing a lot of that – the game has quite robust RPG mechanics, encouraging you to upgrade your armour, weapons and abilities. The inventory system is simple enough for those uninterested in it, whilst providing the depth that more dedicated fans desire. There seems to be a dizzying array of weapons – a welcome sign for those that want to have a completely unique character.
DESTINY IS A MELTING POT OF GENRES AND INFLUENCES
After you’ve geared up, you can try and take on one of the story missions. These played out like a dungeon from an MMO, or a boss battle from Borderlands. The co-op shines here: you’re matched up with either friends or strangers, depending on your settings, and then work together to take out the huge beast you’ve been put up against. Although these missions start off strong, they quickly become dull – the enemies are overpowered, and it becomes a long, tiring grind, rather than the exciting fight it should be. Shoot, die, respawn, repeat. Not the most imaginative formula.
This is the main problem with Destiny: repetition. Both within and outside of missions, the same principles are reworked over and over. The ideas are stretched to their limit even within this small alpha, and there’s a serious concern that there just isn’t enough variety to sustain a full campaign.
Other issues include Peter Dinklage’s uncharacteristically dismal voice acting, a few small glitches and poor signposting in the social hub – but these can all be ironed out before release. What can’t be overhauled is the gameplay and the competitive multiplayer, which is currently pretty standard fare. A Domination-style mode was available, and it’s certainly fun. There nothing particularly special about it, however (although the inclusion of vehicles makes for a faster pace than Call of Duty).
Destiny, then, has promise. A melting pot of genres and influences, it has the potential to be something truly special. But the repetition is a serious issue, and could drastically affect the value of the final product. We’ll have to wait and see – the beta starts soon, and we’ll reevaluate the game after that.