When in the tower you will either see a bustling environment or a few players talking to some NPC’s between missions. Either scenario will feel the same in that you will talk to the Post Master, the Bounty giver and The Cryptarch. The Tower feels like a watered down MMO hub with no player interaction or trading possible, you are basically there for your own needs which also means that Bungie missed the whole MMO feeling of Destiny by a massive margin as that experience just feels shallow. Luckily, this isn’t where the game is, that takes place on a number of different planets (Ed. And the Moon) including Earth, Mars and Venus along with a mysterious ares known as The Reef.
When you travel to one of the destinations you start in one big starting area which then breaks down into instances when you reach bosses, so while you do see others populating the game world fighting the good fight, they won’t be there to troll you as you fight a particularly difficult boss.
The mediocre and often scattered story line culminates in one of recent history’s most forgettable final bosses which hits a number of gaming boss fight clichés which you can see how to beat as soon as you enter the area. If someone were to ask, what is Destiny’s story line it’d basically be “Traveller came to protect Earth and the Darkness was trying to kill it, and there is a lady robot that appears for no apparent reason other than to tell you she knows what you are doing”. There are no plot twists and you are left feeling like Destiny opened up a number of story lines but closed none of them or even fully explained them.
Where Destiny does shine, is the solid combat which Bungie is known for in their past titles. The movement and gun play feels right, the AI never feels like it is watching you through walls waiting to pop you as you come through the door and
The rewards you get from your play feel right up to around the level 18 mark, then everything feels like a grind. This is in part to the Engram issue they are resolving in Update 1.0.2 which should hopefully make the end game feel a lot more satisfying.
You can finish the campaign pretty quickly in just a few hours if you are with an organised team but don’t let that put you off. Destiny gets its longevity from Strike Missions, Patrols, special events and PvP.
Strike missions see you do the campaign missions over again but with the chance of some sweet drops to level up your guardian beyond the level 20 soft cap.
Patrols basically put you on the planet (or moon) of choice and let you go free roam. You can also find green flashing beacons as you go should you want to do some side missions while checking out the area. This is probably one of the weaker modes as all the enemies are pretty much levelled for the players coming in from the campaign. So while you may be level 18, a lot of the AI will be level 8 for example meaning they are there just to use up ammo on.
If PvP is your thing, Bungie has you covered with four standard game modes and a guest appearance mode which is active only at certain times. The matches take place in the same locations as the campaign so you should feel familiarised with the layout pretty quickly, however this same familiarity can also make the whole thing feel repetitive as you see the same maps over and over. Currently, PvP is limited to a maximum of 6vs6 so if you are looking for the big team battles of Halo, this isn’t going to deliver but what it does offer are special abilities you learn to use in the campaign which means a low level newbie has all the chance to take down a high level enemy with some careful planning and swift approach.
While Bungie has said that armour and weapons are normalised in PvP matches, you can’t help but feel that not everything is a level playing field. With players able to pop a shield that affords them extra health while they are in it only susceptible to a Titan pound special move. It never feels like you are totally out classed by the opposition but a well organised opponent can dominate the match from start to end.
Destiny is definitely set up to take advantage of the multi-class system where you’ll find yourself setting up one of each class (Titan, Warlock and Hunter) to find what plays best for you while keeping the foundations of all three pretty similar so you can easily switch between them without spending time figuring out what is what.
On the plus side, Bungie has proven to be quick at reacting to player feedback and making adjustments based on that information such as the Engram issue mentioned above. Destiny has the opportunity to improve on itself with Bungie promising ongoing content with daily, weekly and special strike missions and raids to keep the game fresh. Destiny can be so much more than it currently is, we’ll have to wait and see if Bungie can deliver it with future updates.