Review: Destiny

I get Destiny and more importantly Destiny gets me. 

Destiny has been described by its developer Bungie as an investment game. At the core of this intersection of first person shooter and MMO are progression, quest and loot systems. RPG mechanics that get their hooks into you and pull you though what would normally be heavy repetition. 

I believe Bungie saw the way people played their older games, where if you were friends, you would play multi player but if you were alone, you would play the single player levels over and over again. I'm thinking of you "Truth and Reconciliation" and "The Library." Encouraging this behavior is something that they did with Halo 3 through Reach with the "skull" modifiers and campaign scoring.

My titan is supposed to look like  Eva Unit 02

My titan is supposed to look like Eva Unit 02

I think Destiny is the evolution of this idea, where you have this set of repayable content but this time you have persistent rewards, actual reasons for coming back beyond personal challenges, score comparisons or just plain fun. Whether you are jumping in to complete a 5 minute public event, a 15 minute Crucible bounty, a 45 minute strike or a part of a week long exotic weapon bounty, Destiny has a lot of timers to keep track of and to keep you on track and playing.

My OCD especially clicked with this game when I realized that you could complete the daily public event on a character above level four where the first patrol mission opens up. Before I knew, I had two other characters at level 20 who had not finished the story missions and I was rolling in ascendant materials. This became my daily half hour ritual, the return versus time investment was very good. This is the way I play games, it has been since I raided in Warcraft. Goals, time management and rewards, if only I was as good at managing real life.

I play this game the same way I play something like Diablo, turn on, tune in, drop out. I keep track of goals but ultimately zone out and let my fingers do the walking. I zone out and enjoy the mechanics. My complaints about this game ultimately don't have any effect on my overall enjoyment. The story is a mess but I don't care, it doesn't have any impact on the fact that I will headshot some dregs while waiting for a public event to start not because I have any goal but for the same reason I will romp around in Diablo stomping monsters, it just feels good.

That isn't to say Destiny isn't challenging, it can be. Doing the raid, the Vault of Glass was one of the most interesting and difficult things I've done in a video game in a long time. It combined unique mechanics and sequences, like a group stealth section in first person that not only worked but thrived. The coordination required during the two boss fights was wonderfully intense as well, it really brought me back to Warcraft raiding.

The one real issue I have with this game is the lack of variety throughout, there are a lot of different modes but all of them are fairly one note. Examples of this are the variety of missions in patrol mode, and the bulk of single player missions being run and gun until you protect a point. The modes in the Crucible are also pretty weak, one objective mode and a variety of deathmatch variants.

In the time since Destiny released, there have been events with new factions, loot and challenges. There have been new Crucible playlists on weekends. There have been balance changes. I have a feeling that the variety the game lacks will be added. The game feels alive because of the updates but also because of the people you find running along side you.