The humans of Earth have embarked upon a prosperous period. Their venture out into the darkest and brightest corners of the universe has led them to a glorious era known as the “Golden Age.” Over time, humans have discovered new planets, colonized them and lived in perfect harmony. However, this Golden Age comes to a horrifying close thanks to an event known as “The Collapse.” A celestial entity known as “The Traveler” saves the human race, therefore allowing them to take refuge in The City. Mankind looks to rebuild and repopulate, while at the same time deal with the growing threat of the alien races that seek to destroy them. You play a huge part in meeting this goal by taking on the role of a Guardian — the chosen defenders of the city and the only being capable of wielding a power known as “The Light.”
Bungie is known for putting together an intricate plot that hardcore sci-fi followers and gamers have become accustomed to. However, that grand piece of storytelling that took place in the Halo series is not found here. Destiny’s story is primarily told through the presence of main campaign missions set on the different planets you’ll set your Guardian upon. Your mostly silent avatar is followed around by a Ghost, a robotic companion that’s voiced by Peter Dinklage. Peter’s voice work works well here, as he pushes you farther along and gives you some backstory on what’s to come. Sadly, the plot never gets entirely too interesting. Venturing to different planets such as Venus and discovering hidden caverns are always a fun experience. It’s just unfortunate that the lackluster storytelling does nothing to make these new adventures any more exciting.
Destiny doesn’t fail too hard in the visual department. Simply put, the game looks incredible. The beautiful sunsets on Earth’s ruins, the vast darkness that encapsulates the Moon’s surface and the lush green jungles of Venus all look amazing. You’ll most definitely take an opportunity or two to stand completely still while in the 3rd-person viewpoint and bask in the glory of the last human refuge. The character designs for both the Guardians and their many alien adversaries all look great and lend some extra character to them all. For such a vast game with some much to see and explore, Destiny rarely shows any sign of graphical hiccups or frame rate drops. The extensive loading times do become an annoyance after several hours of play, though.
The audio department also does a fine job of giving you the experience of exploring the universe. Your guns, magical special powers and the boost that emanates form your chosen vehicles all sound great. The soothing orchestral score and the presence of tunes that change the mood from safe to threatening fit this title perfectly. The aforementioned voice work from Peter Dinklage and the other denizens of The City sound as good as you probably expected them to sound.
At its core, Destiny is a FPS with MMO sensibilities. You create a custom Guardian, collect and equip the appropriate gear, take on story missions and side quests and level up along the way. The gameplay component of Destiny is as enjoyable as it gets. The addictive nature that comes from farming for experience, randomly bumping into fellow Guardians and embarking on missions together is awesome to experience. The gunplay is comparable to the fast and furious skirmishes seen in title such as Halo and Call of Duty. The added abilities that come with each Guardian class and extensive upgrade trees that are tied to your gear improve upon the strong gameplay.
Destiny is an always-online game, but you’ll have the chance to move by your lonesome. The best moments from the game’s co-cop Strike missions, though. You and two other players get matches up and try to complete much more difficult quests that require extensive teamwork. You’ll get the most fun from heading into these tough missions and randomly pairing up with Guardians that will (hopefully) protect you as much as you protect them. At this point, Destiny already comes packed with a nice suite of content. It still feels like the game’s world is simply going through its beginning stages. The story campaign isn’t too long and you’ll end up running through the side quests/Strike missions faster than you think. Destiny is a fun experience, but it seems like it will only get better as future DLC improves upon the game’s weak plot.
Destiny’s competitive multiplayer is quite fun. Having to unlock this mode of play may seem like an annoyance, but getting to access it is not that difficult to do. Your Guardian comes into these multiplayer matches with the gear that’s been obtained in single-player, plus the always changing multiplayer playlists keep matches fresh. The multiplayer modes don’t exactly deviate from the norm of modes seen in other FPS game, but they still provide a fun time thanks to Destiny’s fast and fluid gunplay.
Destiny feels like Bungie’s attempt at creating an ever present world that will continue to expand over time. The starting plot is nothing to write home about and get entirely engaged with, but the always entertaining gameplay will push you to see and do as much as possible. The stat building behind Guardians, the wonderful graphical and audio output and the incredibly fun co-op situations all make Destiny hard to put down. The hype behind this game is a tad bit overkill, but it still operates as one of the more entertaining releases of 2014.
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