Destiny Review: Still a player

I wanted to put out another round of impressions entitled, “Still not a review.” or “I don’t wanna be a review no more.” or “I’m not a review I just grind a lot.”  But multiple internet outages later, I’m short on time and decided to just weigh in anyway.

Destiny is Bungie’s latest attempt at capturing our hearts, minds and gaming hours through hours of repetition, grinding, leveling up and death by misadventure.   What is Destiny?  I believe it aims to fuse MMO and RPG in a way that will appeal to more than just the hardcore gamer.  The ideas are simple enough that any FPS fan can pick it up and grasp the concept of point, shoot, kill, level up, wash, rinse and repeat.   I believe Bungie is attempting to create a world that will continue to give users more and more activities to accomplish and keep them interested.  I also believe Bungie will continue to tweak and fine tune what they already created.

I say “I believe…” because Destiny still seems to be a moving target which is a good and bad thing.  There are two planned DLC expansions about which not much is currently known.  If these expansions do not open up the game significantly then the game could end up feeling more stunted and empty than it should.   I say “I believe…” because Bungie has opened up an area previously locked that while rather empty…
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…show some sort of promise or intent that other options may pass through at some point.
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You’ll start by creating your character.  You can pick between male/female from one of three races.
Snapshot_20140909_084123The Awoken


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…The Exo…

Snapshot_20140909_084506And Human

There are three classes.  The Titan, Wizard & Hunter each with their own set of abilities.  It would be fun to experiment with each type but I dove right into the Hunter.

The “core game” of Destiny is short but you can (and should) get a lot out of it.  Rushing through the game will only lead to more frustration later.   Several players rush to the finale only to realize that their Vanguard rating is pitiful.  If only they had taken on daily bounties and participated in strikes, perhaps they would have gotten more out of their playthroughs.

It should be noted that it is not a requirement to participate in every single event to get the most out of this game.  I have never (nor do I intend to) take advantage of the PvP/Crucible portions of this game. I assume it is not unlike most other Player Vs. Player option and I have no interest in it.  Other than losing out on PvP gear and Crucible points, I’m not losing out on very many opportunities that will level up or make my character stronger.   It is important to do your daily missions and daily bounties which you can pick up from this dapper thing in the tower.
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Usually he offers two sets of bounties, Crucible and Vanguard. Ranking up these two ratings requires reputation and marks.  Bounties give you reputation and marks are the currency that allows you to buy special items.  As an example, you must be Vanguard Rank 2 and have 65 marks to purchase one of your class legendary items.  Before you can even purchase the item, your reputation needs to be high enough which means grinding Vanguard/Crucible reputation, an act you’re not doing if you’re plowing through the story.

Speaking of currency, there are several.  The basic currency you’ll use for transactions are called glimmers.  Glimmers are obtained by killing enemies, finding loot chests, completing missions and breaking down items.  There is no need to visit vendors to sell items in Destiny. All items can be broken down on the spot into glimmers and other various upgrade items.  Other currency are Motes of Light which allow the purchase of special items and Strange Coins which can only spent on weekends at a very special vendor.
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Speaking of “very special vendors”… I do believe I should warn you about the Cryptarch.

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Bungie will be releasing a patch very soon that addresses this jerk.  If you’ve dealt with him prior to this review, you know what I mean.  Chances are you may not have to deal with him but allow me to warn you.  He is a dick. It is his job to decode items you find during battle.  At first you’ll find white and green items you won’t be able to use because they will be encoded.  Soon those items will change to blue and purple gibberish.  You would think the Cryptarch would decode a blue item and the end result would be blue… no.  You would think your so-called Cryptarch rating would have something to do with it. No.  Depending on this guy’s mood, your awesome legendary purple engram could be decoded into that purple you need or the green you never wanted… or worse.  BEWARE THE CRYPTARCH!

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The action is fun! The controls definitely remind me of Halo but the action is usually less hectic.  There is more opportunity to come up with strategies to defeat enemies rather than just constantly run and gun through a hail of bullets.  However, when communication breaks down or fails to form during some Strike missions in Destiny, do not be surprised if death claims you.  Even if the action is not as hectic most of the time, the way and speed at which you move through the space has Bungie’s feel to it.

Every class has two subclasses that accompany it. The second class is unlocked at level 15.  I chose the Hunter class and paired it with the Bladedancer subclass.  I am a space ninja.  The action relies mostly on guns which sounds obvious but it needs to be noted that you will not be chucking grenades constantly.  Grenades have a cooldown on them as does your special ability.  You’ll have opportunities to reduce the cooldowns on your grenades/abilities through armor customization and upgrades, though.

You will have access to three types of weapons, Primary, Special and Heavy.  Each type of weapon has two or more variants for you to play around with until you find a feel for the ones you prefer.  Scout rifles fire in burst shots, assault rifles are the opposite and fusion weapons fire energy instead of bullets.  Every gun has a different feel and impacts the enemies differently.  Also, when weapons can be modified/upgraded, their uses improve or can change the way you use that gun in battle. Maybe your sniper scope upgrade means you can use it over longer distances or now you have explosive rounds.
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Every enemy type has a weakness.  Most of the weaknesses are located on the glowy bits of your foe.  These glowy bits are usually the face.  On some Vex enemies it is the chest (which you will be able to identify because it is glowing.) and Fallen Walkers it is the legs and exposed neck (again, glowing).   When in doubt, aim for the face.  This shouldn’t suggest that the enemies are not varied.  You’ll run into the same enemies over and over but it is more important to note their character model color or the palette swap because it may look like a Vandal but that yellow bar over its head means business.  It is always important to identify your enemy before you pull the trigger.  Even enemies ten levels below you can shred you if you are outnumbered too much.

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It is possible to exhaust the story missions and not reach the level cap of twenty.  However, I replayed most of the missions available to me more than once and participated in as many Strikes and Bounties as I could so I was able to hit the level cap before I unlocked Mars.

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Each planet has around five or more story missions to tackle, one patrol route (which opens up the entire planet to roam) and one or two Strike missions.  Strike missions are usually forced co-op instances in which you and two other Guardians accomplish a string of objectives usually by taking out boss-like enemies. They can be fulfilling but require you to rely on teammates.  If you’d rather not trust your fate to matchmaking then find some friends!

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After you reach level 20, the end-game quests will be very familiar to you but there is a lot more at stake.  Sure you defeated Riksis before but now you might be doing it for a legendary piece of loot.  Currently there is a special set of missions and bounties entitled “Queen’s Wrath” which will only last a limited amount of time.  Participants have the chance to get legendary gear and items which may never appear again.

VERDICT!

If you and your friends are looking for a game you can lose yourself in for hours on end, getting addicted to statistics, kill/death ratios, dungeon raids and trying to grind out the best loot you can… BUY IT!

If you’re looking for a nice solo campaign to tide you over until Master Chief rolls around again… SKIP IT!

If you’re on the fence and not entirely sure this game is for you… TRY IT!

For the most part, I am encouraging everybody who likes action or just the first person genre to give this game a go.   Perhaps you liked Fallout 3 or New Vegas but wanted more action.  This could fill that void for you.  It is a great title even if it can be slightly hollow or lonely at times.  Hopefully it continues to grow and find new ways to keep players engaged.

A- / 4 Stars / 8 out of 10 / Two Thumbs

PARENTAL NOTE: If you have a teenager in your home, this is a great game to co-op and have bonding time.  Unless they already think you’re lame.  At that point, I can’t help you.

The Jaded Gamer
@IamFN2K

 

 

 

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