Destiny PS4 Review

The highest profile game of 2014 so far, Destiny is a first-person shooter with emphasis on RPG elements and online multiplayer; a trope I largely disregarded until now. Thanks to Destiny, I’m warming to online multiplayer, but even played solo, it is very satisfying.

Incorporating some of the most advanced video game graphics available, Destiny is intricately detailed and well polished. However, I feel the game is less appealing conceptually. Since I’ve played a lot of science fiction-themed games, like Halo, Mass Effect etc, it seems like a collaboration of ideas from different games rather than it being a fully cohesive concept. There are some standout locations, like the Black Garden, but overall, the influences behind this game are obvious. But there are a few sights to behold, and whilst the Servitors and Ghosts resemble the Monitor from Halo, many other character designs are fairly unique, such as the Hive and the Vex, as well as the bosses, which stand out; so there is small basis in conceptual appeal.

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Developed by Bungie, the team originally behind Halo, Destiny is one of the most addictive and fun first-person shooters I’ve played for some time. Players will never be at a loss for things to do, since the story campaign is the tip of the iceberg. There are optional missions on each planet and free-roaming scenarios with infinite missions, complete with strong RPG elements.

Another positive aspect is that even hard mode is delightfully accessible after level grinding, and completing missions on hard mode is rewarding; experience bonuses and additional equipment is on offer for completing them. Even though the gameplay mechanics draw influence from other games, each idea comes together flawlessly to deliver a very enjoyable gaming experience with much variety.

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Given Bungie’s experience with first-person shooters, there should never have been any issues with the control scheme, and so there isn’t. Bungie have also clearly been familiarizing themselves with different ideas conceived over the years of what a first-person shooter should entail, and the control scheme has also been tailored to compensate nicely for the heightened level of variety compared to most other mainstream first-person shooters.

Since the story mode of this game is merely a drop in the pond compared to the bulk of what this game has to offer, it will only last as long as player’s interest, which I can personally guarantee should be a long time. With so many different game modes, missions to undertake and abilities and upgrades to earn, this will easily make for hours upon hours of first-person shooting excellence.

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The aspect not worth waxing poetic about is the story. The narrative follows the player-named character out to save a relic known as the traveller, which when discovered, helped humanity to thrive, but now is under threat and must be revived to prevent other warring life forms from obliterating the human race. The problem for me is that story hardly plays a role in the game. Aside from a basic premise, there are hardly any common story elements present, like character development, suspense, plot-twists etc. Consequently, the few hours spent going through the game’s campaign will feel empty in terms of narrative. Events progress at a pace whereby the player is not given much time to comprehend them; they just happen in the background whilst time is spent enjoying the great gameplay.

But personally, I’d much rather have a game developed as such than it being the other way round, whereby story supersedes gameplay. Gameplay is the most important aspect of any video game, and I believe Bungie hit the nail on the head, which is becoming uncommon in mainstream titles in my opinion, so I can greatly respect this game because of that.

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Destiny is not the first mainstream online multiplayer first-person shooter, and will not be the last. But I consider it the best and most unique. Though most cite Modern Warfare 2 as the be-all and end-all of the genre, I enjoyed this game far more, and has made me look at online multiplayer shooters in a much more positive way than I ever did before. And I believe that any game that can do something like that certainly has some basis in originality about it.

In summation, although it makes no artistic statement and conveys little in terms of story, Destiny is still one of the most fun and addictive games I’ve played this year, and I would recommend it to anyone sitting on the fence about it. Although I have a disdain for games that fall under the same category as Destiny, neither Call of Duty, Battlefield nor Medal of Honor are nowhere near as enjoyable as this.

8 out of 10