Miscalibrated Internet Receptor Stalks

Destiny + Two Weeks (Or Thereabouts)

Anybody still playing Destiny? I've been at it on the PS4 for about a couple of weeks now, and with one or two reservations, I'm having a pretty good time. In fact, I've even run into a familiar face.

A sort-of review in progress:

Gameplay: Solid. Bungie's ported Halo's shoot-recharge-reload play mechanics and amped them to a faster, more satisfying tempo. Shooting a hideous starbeast in the face has never been more fun. My big complaint here is that you can only use Guardian weapons, and can't pick up your enemies' firearms. I always liked being able to alternate between the UNSC and Covenant guns in Halo.


There are aspects of gameplay that seem horribly unbalanced, though. The worst of it is the bullet-sponge bosses. Honestly, the end battles go on for way too long, and are horribly paced. At the very least they need some sort of halfway checkpoint so you don't have to start over from the beginning if your fireteam dies just before you can dispatch the beasts. It would also be nice to see grenades and special attacks that were not inherently worthless — especially since punching things almost always gets the job done.

Audiovisuals: Outstanding. Even more so than Mass Effect, Destiny's environments make you feel like you're running around in a Dan Simmons or Iain Banks space opera. And the level design is actually pretty good, too. (I did think the Hive were maybe a little too Diablo-esque for a space opera, though.)

Story: Eh. Granted, it's a game in which you run around and shoot everything that moves, but despite the cool visuals there doesn't really seem to be much going on beneath the surface. The original Halo actually had a twisty narrative that forced you to adopt new combat tactics once the Covenant was superseded by the Flood as your chief adversary. Here, your enemies seem to be mostly interchangeable — as long as you aim for the head, you'll make out okay.

In Destiny it's often easy to forget there's any kind of plot at all. If you play the story missions in order, as I did, it does seem like there's some sort of narrative, with traditional cutscenes and everything. But once I got through the Black Garden, which is the final mission, nothing happened. No congratulatory cutscene, no "here's what you do next" prompt, just a big explosion and a forgettable observation from the DinkleBot. It felt weirdly old school, like something from an Atari 2600 game, where you have to supply your own story and meaning to what you're doing. I know this isn't the end, with epic raids at Level 25 and a number of expansions on the way, but it felt really anticlimactic.


Multiplayer: My biggest hangup of the game. I've enjoyed the co-op missions but I suck at PvP gaming in general and just don't enjoy it that much. Unfortunately, it looks like the Crucible missions are the quickest way to level up after you hit the Level 20 "soft cap." And don't get me started on Light gear. I can't think of a more unintuitive way to level up a character.

Overall, though, I've had a lot of fun playing the game in the 20 or so hours I've put in so far. Like any MMO game, Destiny is clearly a work in progress and will change (and hopefully improve) over time. If you're on the PlayStation Network and have a PS4, hit me up. I'm lightninglouie there as well, so I should be easy to spot. I'm probably going to finish that David Mitchell book tonight, but I'll be around most evenings between 8-10 CST.

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