Developed by:Bungie Published by:Activision Genre(s):
  • FPS
  • Platform:
  • Microsoft
  • Sony
  • Cost:$59.99 ESRB Rating:TEEN Players:1 (2-12 Online) Release date:September 9, 2014 Reviewed on:XBox One


    Ever since the “next gen” consoles where announces, gamers have been on the edge of their seats in anticipation of the new experiences being offered. And even though Destiny wasn’t a next gen exclusive, it was high on the anticipation list. After a slow year for new IPs, Bungie and Activision’s first person shooter was posed to dominate our play time for the foreseeable future; they did promise the franchise would grow over the next ten years. With images of Guardians jumping into huge worlds from space ships, socializing with fellow players before kicking all kinds of alien butt – with such heavy expectations and pressure from hyperbole, this game had a lot to live up to.  So it kind of makes sense that, after spending a serious amount of time in-game, I am mostly underwhelmed…

    I say that with a very mixed bag of feelings to match. This game has some mountainous highs but some very obvious lows. Some in which I won’t critique too harshly because they can be fixed with a simple software updates, while others are caused by broken promises given at previous E3 showings. But with that said, I can’t seem to put the game down! The fast paced gunfights tend to help me overlook what isn’t present even though, at times, it’s maddening to think about the massive potential that game has.

    When we first were shown this game we all marveled at the beautiful landscapes within. We saw endless opportunities for adventures and chances to create our own fun on different planets. The brilliant minds behind Destiny also told us to look out into the horizon and that anything you saw could be traveled to. To our unpleasant surprise, this was one of those broken promises. The game itself has a very linear feel even though the planets themselves feel bigger than what they actually are. Each planet, though different in look, feels identical when traveling through them. As you and up to two friends travel through space fighting off the darkness, it’s hard to not notice how repetitive the gameplay can be with the planets being so small.

    As I continued to play through missions, I forgot exactly why I was playing in the first place. The reason I haven’t given a brief explanation of the story is because that would in turn spoil the entire narrative; the developers included the barest of bones story that ultimately leads to more questions than answers.  It’s easy to lose countless hours replaying missions for rare pieces of armor and weapons. But when finding loot is the sole purpose for playing rather than discovering the rest of the story, a game can become stale. It’s bad enough that the missions are really repetitive, but when you add an ambiguous story and environments that lack many reasons to be explored (besides a golden chest or two), there isn’t much pushing to you continue playing –  at least not before you hit level 20.

    desting-character-artOnce you’ve beaten the story and reached level 20, that’s when the game is supposed to really start. At this point you’ll unlock the strike mission playlists (special co-op missions), daily and weekly missions, and basically more events to try and snag more loot. In order to get over the level cap of 20, you’ll need to get gear that has “light”. The more light your gear has the closer you’ll be to that next level. It boils down to grinding but, like the rest of the game, can be really fun when playing with friends. When played solo…well, that’s a different matter.

    One of the issues that really have people torn on the game’s quality is how difficult it is to actually socialize with other gamers. How can you advertise being able to join fellow gamers in battle and you can’t even say hello to even begin meeting people? With no matchmaking beyond the Crucible (PvP) and some strike missions, it can be a lonely affair despite the fact that there are other players all around you. Sure, you can jump into a random person’s fireteam but that’s only if they have it set to allow strangers to join. Messaging them is possible, though I don’t have to tell you how tedious that can be. With no convenient way of communicating, attempting certain events, like the newly added raid, seem impossible for most people. Imagine trying to get five of your friends who all are well above the level cap to get online at the exact same time to play a raid. We are expected to go into forums and meet people to play certain missions, which is beyond ridiculous. So not only can I not talk to people if they aren’t in my fireteam, but I must go online and hope to add people from around the world to play with me? Did the developers not think about how many people live in different time zones? Its simple issues like this that can truly make or break the experience.

    The toughest part about this review, regardless of everything I mentioned up to this point, is that I can’t get enough of Destiny. When you get a fireteam together, on a heroic mission or competitive multiplayer match, it’s an incredible amount of fun. With every Guardian using one of the three unique classes, fighting together to reach a common goal, is absolutely breathtaking. With the Hunter’s golden gun taking down foes left and right while the Warlock and Titian clearing a path using their void blast and ground pounds respectfully – when a team has synergy it’s hard not to want to keep playing on. On top of that, add an addictive RPG element that compels you to do one more mission in hopes of getting rare stuff. If only I could speak to these other guardians I am playing with while my friends are offline it would make the experience much more enjoyable.

    One thing that Bungie does right, beyond the moment to moment gun play, is the competitive multiplayer or Crucible. There are plenty of well-designed maps to play on and different modes (Team Deathmatch, etc.) to jump into. What’s cool is that your character is persistent across all modes, so you’ll continue to level up/unlock new items while playing competitively. For now though, the gun differences don’t give an unfair balance as the stats aren’t taken into context. Same thing goes with the gear you’ve unlocked. This makes the PvP feel great as the already enjoyable gameplay is heighten by the trill of taking on other players. There is word that when the Iron Banner event begins, we will be able to actually see those advantages in battle. So those looking to show off with truly unique gear can.

    With so many promises out of the box, it seems that Bungie and Activision’s goal for the game to last ten years does seem possible. I mean, they’ve been adding new-ish content since launch. Still, at the rate that this game is evolving, it is possible that the wool was being pulled over our eyes. Even ants look big up close, who’s to say the hype isn’t magnifying this game? Did we buy a full game ready to go day one or is it more like an Early Access title?

    Like I said, it was truly difficult to review this game. With the amount of fun I am having in such a linear experience, it became hard for me to separate myself as a reviewer instead of just another excited gamer. Destiny has a huge amount of potential, but right out of the box it’s a bit of a shell – an unfinished experience. Let’s hope we get more content fast or else people will feel as if they paid to be a part of a beta test!

    Last Gen Difference: We also received a last gen version of Destiny for review. During our playtime, we felt that there wasn’t much difference between the consoles versions besides the visuals; the Xbox 360 version looked fine with the PS3 just a little behind when it came to rendering textures. The game played exactly like it did on the Xbox One and there wasn’t an increase in load times (that we noticed at least). If you don’t have an Xbox One or PS4, we’d still recommend Destiny as you can always transfer your characters to the newer systems at a later time. As for the score, the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions get a 7/10 due to the hit in visual quality!



    The game can be incredibly fun with friends. That said, I feel like it is lacking in a lot of areas. Especially when it comes to delivering what was promised.



    The game looks great; though the planets aren’t that big, what’s there is visually appealing.



    The music in this game is up to par with the great soundtracks from the original Halo trilogy. It’s easily one of the few aspects that stood up to expectations set from E3.

    Replay Value:


    It can be addictive; grinding for loot with friends often leads to a good time. That said, it’s hard to shake that hollow feeling when your friends aren’t online.

    Final Score:


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