‘Destiny’ struggles to find its own
Exploding into existence with a record-shattering entry is “Destiny,” the first in a genre defined by its creator, Bungie, as an ‘open-world shooter.’ The game launched to the Xbox One, PS4, and their previous generations this Tuesday, but whether the last two years of hype are justified remains unknown.
Before you’ve even set your animated feet on the ground, Bungie sets the standard high with a seamless user interface. The character creation screen is fluid and easy to access while sharing key information. This persists into the game play as every aspect of menu use feels great on a controller. It seems like it’ll transfer to the computer smoothly.
Destiny takes you by the hand and throws you to the floor with the first mission. You awaken from death with no real explanation as to what is going on, only to find out that you have to flee from figures called The Fallen. This is all explained to you by a tiny floating robot voiced by Peter Dinklage, known for his role as Tyrion Lannister in HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”
The game sticks to this formula of visiting war-torn landscapes with Dinklage-Bot reading off your purpose and goals, with the occasional cinematic cutscenes. The cinematics are gorgeous, but the writing is so bland that any kind of personality that could have come from Dinklage’s voice acting is entirely lost. Graphics of this quality from the PS4 so early on make me excited for what’s to come.
Beyond that, it seems the story was crafted by throwing a variety of fantasy tropes and terms into a melting pot, and spooning out bits to cook up a story.
The biggest goof in this self-proclaimed multiplayer online game comes from the fact that communication with other players is nearly impossible. For one to be able to speak to another player in the world or on missions, you must go through your PS4 friendslist, and invite them through PS4 tags. At least you can talk in match-making, right? Wrong. Even when playing the multiplayer aspect of the game, no speaking can go on unless the player is in your ‘fireteam,’ kind of like a party. It’s hard to feel like I’m playing a multiplayer game, even with other players right beside me fighting the same creatures, whenever you can’t even communicate with them.
Despite its hiccups, the gameplay is enthralling. “Destiny” lives and breathes a Halo environment. Everything from the controls to the combat to the handling on the vehicles feels like it could have taken place on Coagulate from the original Xbox. Anyone that’s put any kind of time into a Halo game is going to feel at home in “Destiny.”
As with many massively multiplayer online games, it’s hard to tell what may come in the long run. Bungie already has content lined up for the rest of September and the whole of October, but if they aren’t able to find some sort of medium through which players can communicate freely, it’s doubtful the game’s long-term life will be noticed.