Thursday, September 11, 2014

Destiny

Become Legend, or at least a pretty cool space wizard.




Destiny is the hot new release from Bungie, the folks that brought us Halo and I'm sure a few other games, but mostly Halo. But how does it stack to previous games released by Bungie and other popular games?

Day One sales for Halo and other popular games
As you can see, Destiny is Bungie's best selling game, and one of the highest sellers this year. It should be noted that Activision did spend roughly $500 million in adverts and development for the game as well, so this isn't all net profit, and sales are TO the retailers.

So while the numbers aren't in fully (this takes in to account only US, not worldwide), Destiny is shaping to be a big hit, at least sales wise.


Story

I'm a little lost on the story, however what I take from it is you are a Guardian, a member of a group dedicated to preserving the last remnants of humanity from The Fallen and The Hive. The Fallen are what we would consider mercenaries, and are divided amongst Houses, who are as hostile to each other as they are to humans, adapting a 'survive at all costs' lifestyle, to everyone. The Hive are an ancient species that seek conquest and expansion, having lived for thousands of years, they have been at war with humans and Fallen in their quest for domination (honestly, they remind me of Flood from Halo).

The Guardians must protect the last human stronghold and keep peace at all costs.


Graphics

Graphically, Destiny is gorgeous, the environments are lush and detailed. Characters, enemies and other environmental objects all interact with each other and don't seem to have any AI issues (i.e. clipping). Special abilities have nice special effects, as do weapons and vehicles.

Hunter in the field

Destiny PvP
Objects in the distance also look crisp, versus poorly rendered like some games have had, where they only load if you approach them. Specifically, I like the shadowing from the star in the PvP shot above.

Even the last gen graphics look good, not as good, but still impressive.


Controls

I've you've played Halo: Reach or Halo 4 (or ANY shooter really), the controls are pretty much the same, a few minor tweaks (such as the shoulder being used for grenades vs the trigger). The directional pad is used for 'emotes', these include 'wave', 'dance', 'point' and sitting down, I'm not sure if there are more than those, I've not really used them. The controls are tight and respond quickly, I've had only a few issues where I swear I pulled the trigger after a melee, but that could just be the game mechanic to not allow you to spam the two.

Xbox One Layout
PS4 Layout
So it shouldn't take FPS fans long, or even those who have casually played an FPS, there's almost no real variation. These are, of course, the default controls, you can adjust them as you see fit.


Audio

The game sports a very nice cast of VO, including the loved Peter Dinklage of Game of Thrones, as well as many other names who may be familiar to those who like The Walking Dead (the show), The Matrix, Bleach and others.

The music has a very Halo-like feel, so fans of the series when Bungie was in charge should enjoy it very much. The sounds of gun fire, enemy communications, footsteps, explosions and everything else are very well done and varied.


Other

Destiny can only be played online, as indicated on the front of the box, it is an MMOFPS (w.RPG elements). Players explore various planets on a medium sized map, where other players may also be exploring and doing missions. You can team up with them or ignore them altogether, it's up to you.

You can also customize your character with new armor, colors, hair style, race, skin color, gender and even a few different species. (see Destiny: First Impressions)

The game also has a central Hub known as 'The Tower', where you can buy gear, for parties or just BS around. It is very reminiscent of the Mass Effect series when on the Citadel.

I've only played a few games of PvP, but it's pretty much like most MP games out there, you are on a team of up to 6 (at least in Control) and score points to win. Players bring their own gear in, so a low level player can be at a disadvantage, but if you are good, you can make up for it. Upon completing a PvP match, you earn exp, money, and PvP currency that can be used to buy PvP gear.

The game offers a clan feature as well, I'm not to sure what this means, as I've just started getting involved, but I believe there are in-game bonuses to be had for joining. If interested, and on the Xbox One, feel free to join ours. (The Blood Alliance)

Players can take on 'dungeons' as well, these are longer than normal missions, and can be rewarding. They pit you against tougher enemies, but with a team of 2 other players, so getting a team together before, or getting randoms, is an option.

First dungeon boss

Players also have a special killer move, this move causes MASSIVE damage and kills most things instantly, if it doesn't kill them, it brings them to the brink of death. The video below shows the Warlock special ability, check it out.

The game also has grimoires, which are somewhat like in-game achievements or challenges. You earn them by fulfilling various requirements (i.e. kill X amount of Hive, X amount of Fallen, get X kills with precision, etc), what these do, beside increase you grimoire score, I don't yet know. You can find some exclusive grimoire codes here: Destiny Grimoire Codes


Overall

Destiny is shaping up to be a great game, the variety from main missions to side, PvP and exploration, there's a lot to do. Character customization is great and varied. With expansions on the way, I'm hoping for more awesome content. The only downside is that missions aren't terribly long and going back to the tower to complete them, only to go back to the same world is annoying

If you'd like, I recorded a short series of clips to show the various parts of the game.



9.0/10.0

Pros
- Looks beautiful
- Playing with others is a blast
- Dungeons offer a challenge and are rewarding (usually)

Cons
- Feels tedious to go back and forth between the Tower and worlds so much
- Missions could be longer