Ship Date: 
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Bungie redefined the first-person shooter genre with the release of Halo: Combat Evolved in 2001. Thirteen years later, they’re looking to do it again with the developer’s latest release, Destiny. A hybrid mix of the FPS and MMO genres, Destiny is Bungie’s most ambitious project to date and strives to create an experience that will remain prevalent for years to come.

Set in the distant future, a mysterious enemy force known as ‘The Darkness’ threatens the universe and it is up to a special group of beings called Guardians to defeat The Darkness and keep peace within the colonies. Empowered by The Traveler, a celestial orb protecting what remains of the Earth, Guardians are able to wield the light to repel The Darkness.

Destiny’s story is about as basic as it gets. It’s a typical tale of good versus evil and the game’s story missions will take you across Earth, the moon, Venus, and Mars as you fight the Darkness’ minions to protect what remains of the colonies. The majority of the story is delivered by your own personal Ghost, a floating mechanical orb that informs you where to go on missions and provides exposition. Voiced by veteran actor Peter Dinklage, your Ghost actually has quite the personality for a character that looks like one of those paper fortune tellers you would make in grade school.

Unfortunately the story itself feels more like a prologue of what’s to come. Destiny isn’t like other games as Bungie has made it clear that it intends to be around for the long run, but in it’s current form there is a lot to be desired. The earlier missions on Earth heavily mention an artificial intelligence named Rasputin, but he’s forgotten by the time you move on to other planets. Even the dialogue itself is trite. At one point someone tells you, “"I don't even have time to explain why I don't have time to explain.” It’s dialogue like that that really makes you question the game. That being said, it’s the gameplay that will have players returning in the long run.

At the start of the game, players are able to choose between three Guardian classes; Titan, Hunter, and Warlock. The Titan is a more physical character that specializes in armor, the Hunter is more agile and wields a throwing knife, and the Warlock uses magical abilities to vanquish its foes. Each class has it’s own ability trees that you can upgrade with experience as well as a separate subclass with a new set of abilities. There’s plenty of customization throughout the classes that fit every kind of playstyle.

Destiny’s strongest element is in its RPG-like experience system. As you level up your character, you’ll collect various loot from fallen enemies and as mission rewards. Better weapons and armor can also be upgraded with experience and materials gathered on each planet. It’s a constant grind to have the best equipment so you can tackle the more difficult missions.

Aside from the main story, each planet has Strikes that are longer and more difficult objective missions that typically require teamwork between you and other Guardians in order to complete. You can also patrol each planet and free roam the environments to find hidden areas with chests or complete mini-quests to further level up your character.

There’s a lot to do in Destiny, but it does become repetitive after a while. Much of the game relies on repeating the same missions over and over using different modifiers that increase the difficulty. You’ll often revisit the same environments and enemies with a different end goal. It’s currently been fine since the game’s launch a few weeks ago, but I do worry that it will soon become stale.

Destiny also features competitive multiplayer that consists of your typical gametype modes. Team modes feature 6v6 or 3v3 so they’re much smaller and more coordinated games. Players can still level their characters and earn precious loot during mutliplayer matches, too. No matter how you play Destiny you’ll always been progressing your character.

Destiny was an ambitious project from the start, and while Bungie have absolutely nailed the core concept of the FPS meets MMO genre, it can’t help but feel incomplete. As I stated before, the game feels like a prologue of better things to come. Destiny is just a small taste of this massive world Bungie has created, and things are constantly changing so there’s always something new to explore. It’s still too early to tell whether or not the game will be as Bungie envisioned, but so far they’re off to a pretty decent start.
Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
Follow him @ Twitter
Friend him @ Facebook