by Demi Moumas, Reporter
Despite having the biggest game debut of $500 million and the most pre-order new IP ever, Destiny is receiving mix reviews. Bungie and Activision pushed the marketing for a game they consider a first person shooter with a massive multiplayer online aspect. Demos and trailers and glimpses of some spectacular gameplay bombarded us for months since it was revealed. With Bungie wanting to keep away from the day one reviews, even press had to wait until the servers were live to even get the first impressions. Sure there are some comments from those who were in the alpha and beta for the game, but most others were there just a day before launch. That’s why even now; it’s hard to find a fully detailed press review of the game or one that doesn’t say ‘Destiny Review in Progress’, while user reviews are crashing the internet in abundance.
Destiny is Bungie’s big project after 343 Industries was given (took over? I forget which one it was) the Halo series. Teaming up with Activision, who is known for the Call of Duty series, big things are expected to come from Destiny. I personally was able to preview a demo of Destiny at RTX 2014, down in Austin in early July. The graphics were awesome and spot on, on par with the new generation systems. The gameplay reminded me of Halo and a bit of Borderlands. Most of what I was playing was the player versus player matches, so I didn’t get to see the single campaign or the extent of the MMO aspect they were talking about but what I did see was pretty good combat wise. Each class has a different skill set, but because of the FPS aspect it reminded me of Halo 4 and the different armor equipment.
Because of the big hype that was raised about this game, everything and anything in the game is being nitpicked at and torn apart with criticism. I would like to remind most people that this game came on both last and next generation consoles, so it will look and feel different depending and what you play it on. In addition to that, relatively small things are being nagged about. I won’t go into which, but there are few key things I am concerned about in all the different reviews I am reading. I will highlight a few good things and bad things about the game then you can decide. Reminder, I have not played the game in full yet, just a few deathmatches during a convention.
One of the many jabs I have been hearing about Destiny, is that the A.I. has been lacking severely. Now, I have not played the single player campaign yet but in various – in progress – reviews I have read a player can be standing in front of an enemy and they will not notice them. I find this surprising considering the A.I of the enemies in Halo could duck, hide, retreat, and then assassinate you out of nowhere. Even the enemies of Call of Duty had pretty advanced intelligence if you were spotted to swarm you on the spot. According to Metro.co.uk, there are moon zombies (seriously? I need to grab this game) but they won’t wander too far from their main homebase or location. Um…aren’t zombies ravenous undead monsters wanting brains for food? Why stay in one location if the food is constantly moving? Even the Star Wars the Old Republic enemies continue to chase you through three different sections before returning to their original spots, if you aren’t dead already.
Counterpoint to the bad A.I., the environment is realistic and beautiful. I saw this in the demo I played as well as the many different trailers and gameplay walkthroughs and whatnot. Despite it being realistic and stunning in the accuracy of each planet, example Venus has pools of sulphur. The abandoned structures and ruins also make it look more alien that you would expect it to be. Yet there is talk about how despite how realistic the terrain and landscape is, Bungie didn’t account for the gravity shift on each planet. I mean in Mass Effect it was explained that their armor adjusts or the vehicle you were in would be able to soar off cliffs like a glider. Even one of the Borderlands games had the moon gravity simulation attempt. If Borderlands could simulate the gravity….then what was Bungie’s excuse to not attempt it? I mean come on, I expected more from the people who created Halo.
My biggest worry is the talk about the game lacking a good storyline and plot that we all know Bungie is capable of producing. One of the major things a good game needs to have is characters that we can relate to and a good story that draws the gamer into the game. According to multiple sources, including Forbes.com, the player customization is fantastic and well thought out, but the story is nothing special. I really hope this wasn’t because they were focusing so much on the MMO aspect of the game. Bungie, you need to concentrate on the story of the game as well, if you just think that you can breeze by it because you created Halo, think again. DO NOT GET COCKY!
From all the hype about the MMO part of Destiny, I do know that the public events that happen seem to be awesome and an epic battle of craziness. These public events are timed and as soon as one hits, players from all over make a beeline straight for the event. The results ends up being a large group that contains a glorious fusion of Halo, Call of Duty, and Borderlands-esque fighting, healing, and killing of creature possibilities that are highly engaging for the player. The other MMO aspect that is causing some controversy is the fact that looting and scavenging is the only thing forcing players to explore the game further and travel to other planets. Many hope that there are DLC’s that extend the single player campaign to encompass the other worlds. I personally would like to see if someone makes a joke about being on Uranus…seriously….or if they are on the non-planet Pluto. PLUTO IS A PLANET THANK YOU! Do not make Sailor Pluto kick your ass. (Screw you science it’s been a planet for how long before you changed your mind?!)
Many of the professional reviewers and companies are saying that they are trying to wait before reviewing Destiny in full. One of the sole reasons is because there are not enough players playing it yet. Others are trying to level past the beta caps that they have been at before the launch. In all the speculations I have read, Bungie first and foremost states that the players are the most important thing for the world of Destiny. It is supposed to be an MMO so I can see where they are going with this, but even Star Wars The Old Republic can stand on its own without that many people on the servers due to the compelling single player story. Personally, Bungie might have wanted too many people to be playing all at the same time. I’m sorry Bungie, but I don’t have the same schedule as someone on the West Coast or even in England.
So maybe the review embargo they have set was a good thing, if forces people to play the game before giving their thoughts on it…or like me read all I can before I make a decision. Either way, Bungie states they are happy with the product they have created. Despite all the mixed reviews piling in, I think I’ll have to wait and see what Destiny holds for people who are able to go past level 20 (the cap in the beta). I do know one thing, if Destiny does live up to the epic hype they have created for it, it is going to be an idea that many other companies might try to replicate and improve on. Good luck little IP-space-cowboy!