Geeks of the Week: Destiny

By: Miguel Valencia

Destiny: One Week Later

** First, I’d like to state that this isn’t meant to be a review for the game. I’m not going to give Destiny a score at the bottom. I’m not going to tell people if they should or shouldn’t play the game. This is simply meant to share my opinion on the game. **

Destiny, developed by Bungie, is easily one of the most hyped games to ever be released. In terms of hype, Destiny is up there with Grand Theft Auto V and Watch Dogs. Following GTA V and Watch Dogs, Destiny collected large amounts of cash for developer Bungie and publisher Activision. However, like both GTA V and Watch Dogs, Destiny is having a hard time living up to all the hype that we built around it. Hype will always be a dangerous thing that we will continue to abuse. We aren’t the only culprits though. Bungie and Activision especially, definitely stocked up on fuel when they started the hype train. Now, I’m not saying that hyping up a product is wrong, nor am I saying that we, the fans, shouldn’t get hyped for a game. We see the reveals, the trailers, the gameplay demos and it comes to no surprise that we would get excited. Bungie and Activision did everything you are supposed to do when promoting a new product. New IP’s (intellectual properties/new game) are the hardest products to sell. We always buy what we know. It’s that simple. Regardless, we still want something new, something to whet our appetite. We expect that there will be a game that will come out and change everything for us. Bungie and Activision built Destiny up as the game to revolutionize video games. Not just the shooter genre but every genre of gaming. We were promised a game that would challenge the norm and cause change within gaming. However, we weren’t given exactly that. Is that Bungie and Activision’s fault? Yes and no. This is where hype becomes dangerous. Like GTA V and Watch Dogs before it, Destiny ended up becoming an overhyped game. We constantly got told that Destiny was the game. Destiny would be like nothing else. Bungie already changed the video game norm once before with Halo: Combat Evolved for the original Xbox. If any developer could change things up again it should be Bungie, right? Instead, we received a game that feels unfinished, from mainly a story aspect. Bungie and Activision aren’t the only ones at fault though. We, the fans, are just as responsible for overhyping Destiny as Destiny’s developer and publisher are. We know by now that hype only ever hurts a game once it is released to us. We think and expect all these things to be a part of the game only to have usually half of those expectations fully realized upon release. Promises, made by the developer and publisher, aren’t kept, and we expect things that are never even promised.

Where was this in the game?

Destiny being lackluster stems from Bungie and Activision as well as us. We need to stop overhyping games. That’s the solution for this continuing problem. We’re allowed to be excited, but we need to keep that excitement leveled. I’m a victim to the hype train for Destiny just like I was for Watch Dogs and GTA V and many other games. I believed there would more than we were given. I believed Destiny would be this huge socially connected MMO shooter. I believed I was going to be engrossed in this huge complex story. I believed a lot of things that weren’t fulfilled in Destiny’s final release. There are only three planets and the Moon to explore? I had this idea that I would be able to at least visit all eight planets, a few moons, and some space stations. The fireteams are only three people? I expected six if not four at the least. You can only do raids with your friends? What is this, Halo: ODST Firefight mode? Bungie never agreed to these notions that I believed, but I, like many others, thought otherwise. Still, Destiny is a very polished game. Everything from movement, to controls, to enemy A.I. all work well and better than most games. At least for me, internet connectivity issues have been very minimal which is surprising when so many games now a days have major issues with players connecting to servers (I’m looking at you Battlefield 4) and since Destiny is always online. Even when I would disconnect from the Destiny servers I would be able to connect back immediately. At least Bungie gave us a fun, entertaining game that we are able to easily play from start to finish.

We wish to explore that city.

Now, I’m not only writing to badmouth Destiny. Honestly, I’ve really tried to do just the opposite. Halo 3, developed by Bungie, is my favorite home console video game. Halo: Reach and Halo 3: ODST, both developed by Bungie, were decent and entertaining games, but nothing could recreate the magic that was Halo 3. Destiny seemed like the game that would make me fall in love with the shooter genre all over again. Titanfall, developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by EA, gave me something new, but it didn’t rekindle the spark like I thought it would. However, I really believed Destiny would, and it started to. I bought Destiny at midnight because I couldn’t wait until the middle of Tuesday to pick it up. The moment I started playing Destiny I barely sat still in my chair. I wanted nothing more than to start playing the game. I quickly created my Exo Titan character, remembering every detail from the beta, and waited as, the Peter Dinklage voiced, Ghost revived me. Now this is where playing a beta becomes a problem. From the starting mision until the first mission on the Moon, everything I did in Destiny was routine and nothing new. I had played all of these missions during the beta and experienced them for the first time back in July. For the first two or so hours, nothing special seemed to be occurring. I knew everything that was going on and going to happen. I wasn’t able to experience the beginning of Destiny with the same level of intrigue and excitement as I wanted to. Once I started doing new missions and strikes, Destiny started feeling new and fresh. I grew attached to the game and all it had to offer. I played the game every opportunity that I was presented with. I agree that the story and the missions are very cookie cutter, but I still enjoyed every moment that I played. Honestly, the biggest problem I have with the story in Destiny is that it ends when it feels like it’s truly beginning.

—-Insert Destiny Trailer—-

Like many players, it only took me two days to reach level twenty on my character. Level twenty is the maximum level that a character can reach through normal experience growth. However, once a player hits level twenty, there are six additional levels to obtain. These extra levels can only be obtained through light which is found in different pieces of armor. It’s a cool concept, but I feel the level twenty max is too low. Granted, I wouldn’t want to deal with having to level my character all the way to level eighty-five, but twenty just seems too low. This has to do with experience being too easy to obtain. Twenty levels wouldn’t feel short if Bungie had greatly extended the amount of experience needed to receive that next level up. I thought that it would have taken me at least a week and a half to reach max level. Even though grinding over and over again for experience is a chore, I thought I would have to do some grinding in the game. I got level twenty just by playing through each mission, completing the strike on each planet/moon, picking up bounties, and playing in the competitive multiplayer. Now that may all sound like a lot but it really isn’t. At no point did I think I’d have to continuously start bounties to grind experience or feel that I needed to exceedingly perform well in competitive multiplayer. However, there are still those six extra levels for me to achieve as well as all the legendary and exotic armor and weapons. I don’t have any legendary or exotic items yet, but they all look amazing. Even though I’ve finished the story and hit the max level, I still enjoy playing Destiny.

Warlock, Hunter, and Titan

It might be lackluster, but Destiny in some ways has breathed new life into the shooter genre. It stands up there with Titanfall as a game that was on the cusp of redefining the way we play shooters but ultimately fell short. Does that mean Destiny is a failure of a game? Is Bungie starting to show signs of decline in their ability to create something amazing? The answer is no to both. Destiny is still successful on many notes. The game itself is polished and looks beautiful. It plays smoothly and everything about the game is natural. The open world feels somewhat small but updates can further expand to other planets and moons. The story needs work, but DLC can always help with that. I know DLC usually leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths, but not all DLC is bad DLC. If you look at GTA V and Mass Effect 3 you’ll noticed that both games have been given multiple free DLC packs that furthered the gaming experience. Destiny does have two expansion packs being released that cost money, but Bungie could always release extra DLC that is free. Has the DLC for GTA V given us heist? Did the multiple DLC packs for Mass Effect 3 completely fix the ending? I’ll answer no for both, but the developers understood where we were coming from when we shouted and screamed on the internet about how we were lied to and hadn’t gotten what we expected. We do enough complaining on the internet and sometimes we are rewarded for it. Now, I’m not saying we should constantly annoy Bungie with complaints. They know what we think. Bungie is a developer that listens to its fan base. In the end, Bungie will make things right. Bungie will also learn from this and not make the same mistake again. If a Destiny 2 were to come out, it would probably live up to more of the expectations that we all thought up. It really shouldn’t be a surprise to us that Destiny is what it is. Just like the first season of a show, the first game in a series is usually just a test run. It’s when the second game comes out that all the concepts start really being realized.

At least the gameplay is good.

Bungie still has to own up to the lack of content in Destiny, but Destiny isn’t a total failure of a game. Honestly, Destiny is a great game that is fun and exciting. Destiny gives us something that feels familiar while also feeling new and unique. Regardless of all the qualms, I see myself continuing to play Destiny for a long time. I may have beaten the story and reached level twenty, but I still have the extra six levels, the raids, and the competitive multiplayer mode, the Crucible to keep me going.

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