Figures and More Reviews DESTINY for PS4
It’s easily one of the most anticipated games of the year. The hype has been astonishing. The teasers have been numerous and cryptic. Now, Destiny has finally arrived and it’s time to answer the question on everyone’s mind concerning the game’s developer, Bungie: Is there life after Halo? It is time we found out?
Playstation 4, Playstation 3, X-Box One, X-Box 360
NOTE: This review is of the Playstation 4 version
Yes, friends, there is life after Halo, and then some. Bungie makes their triumphant return to the gaming scene with Destiny and they seem poised to pick up right where they left off. Bungie, of course, is the superstar developer who shot their way into our hearts and changed gaming forever with a little game called Halo: Combat Evolved. And, in many ways, to understand Destiny, you have to think of it as being similar to Halo. It’s a pretty shooter with tight controls and an engaging story that satisfies you in the end, but also makes you hungry for what’s to come. And, make no mistake my friends, there will be more to come.
The story of Destiny casts you in the role of a Guardian of the last city on Earth. The back story, told at the very beginning of the game, in beautiful cinematic cutscenes, goes like this: On an expedition to Mars, in the future, astronauts discover a large white sphere in the sky (Think of it looking like the one at Epcot Center at Disney World, or a REALLY big ping pong ball). This is the Traveler. The light from the Traveler made Mars and Venus hospitable places and ushered in a new Golden Age on Earth in which mankind traveled out into the cosmos. But, the Traveler had an enemy, the Darkness, which pursued it though space and finally caught up with it on Earth. A great war broke out and in the end, humanity was driven to a single city, the only area on Earth still protected by the Traveler. On it, the Guardians, beings who fight using the light of the Traveler, have a built a massive Tower as their home base. You play as one of these Guardians, which is one of the ways this franchise differentiates itself from Halo. You get to create your character , picking from a variety of races, skin colors, etc. This makes the experience more immersive, since you are playing as your character that YOU created.
You start the game dead. No, that’s not a typo. The game begins in the ruins of a Cosmosdrome in Old Russia on Earth. A small floating robot known as a Ghost flies over the ruins looking for signs of life and finds you. You’re not alive at this point. but, don’t worry, the Ghost is going to fix that. Shortly after reviving you, the Ghost informs you that you are in mortal danger, as the Cosmodrome is Fallen territory. The Fallen is one of the four races of enemies you will face in the game. They are most prevalent in the missions on Earth, but they show up in the later levels as well. You have been revived without a weapon, so the ghost urges you to flee into an old building, in the hope you will find a weapon, The base is dark and claustrophobic, and as the Ghost goes to repair the lights, you find a rifle and from that point on, it is you against the Fallen. Enemy encounters are random, sometimes sudden and you are almost always outnumbered. It is usually better strategy to try to sneak up on them and pick them off one at a time, but sometimes this is just not possible. After, a few missions on Earth, which mainly serve to find you transportation to get off planet, you are introduced to the Tower, the home of the Guardians and your base of operations. From there, you strike out into the Solar System, traveling to the Moon, Mars and Venus in pursuit of the agents of the Darkness. Along the way, you will be introduced to three other races: The Hive, a symbiotic, insect-like race, The Vex, swift and deadly robots and The Cabal, a highly militarized armored race. Each of these has their own similar subdivisions and enemy types. Firefights happen early and often in this game and are massive and loud, with TONS of enemies on the screen at once, and explosions happening all around you. The Enemy AI is very smart too. It takes a lot to get the drop on enemies in this game and attention to the HUD is very important.
Leveling up is an interesting concept in this game as well. You earn XP for defeating enemies and completing mission in “tried and true fashion.” At each level, you gain access to new abilities based on the class you chose at the beginning of the game. However, you can only level up to level 20 by this method. After that, your leveling up is based on your collection of “light”, which is assigned as a numeric value to certain items and is increased by developing those items’ abilities through use. The best way to get these items and equipment pieces is by playing in Public Events, Daily Heroic Stories and Weekly Heroic Strikes, all of which are online events, which take place outside of the main story.
Likewise, new weapons, armor and transports are gained by winning them in levels, decoding special “cryptograms” or buying them in the shop at the Tower. Also, in the Tower, you can take on special missions called “bounties”, which require to satisfy certain conditions in story mode and join one of several factions for which you fight and receive appropriate rewards.
Before we go any further, we have to talk about the elephant in the room. Destiny is an ALWAYS ONLINE game. That means you MUST maintain a constant connection to the Destiny servers if you want to play it. It does not matter whether you are only playing single player, you must be connected to the servers. The upside however, is that if your buddies are online while you are playing, they can instantly join your fire team in a story mode mission to even the odds a little. It’s not a huge bother, but since Destiny is one of the biggest name titles to employ this directive, it is worth noting.
The graphics are superb on the next gen console, with spectacular environment effects and stark ruined vistas which exemplify the post-apocalyptic nature of the title. Sound, especially music, which played such a big part for Bungie in Halo does so again here, especially when the enemy is lying in wait and you can hear, but not see them. Controls are tight, with all of the buttons smartly assigned.
So, to sum it up, is Destiny the second coming of the FPS? No. Is Destiny the second coming of Halo? The jury is still out. However, Destiny is a pretty looking game that’s pretty fun to play. It’s a well visualized escape, with tight controls, which means therefore that it serves the purpose that most people use games for: an escape. Was it ever going to live up to the hype that preceded it? Probably not, but, it is still worth checking out. This story is not over and I can’t wait for the next chapter. This review, however, is.
Destiny gets a 4 out of 5
My Thanks to Steve Cherrier and Neil Wood at Step-3
More information on Destiny is available at www.destinythegame.com