Complete Destiny Review: From Beginning to Endgame

Expectations breed negativity, and Destiny’s long awaited start has certainly been hurt by it. Bungie’s latest endeavor has brought the ire of quite a few players since the game went live, even though it has been breaking sales records left and right. The release of the game has caused it to go through quite a bit of criticism from gamers and reviewers everywhere, but a lot of that stems from these insanely high expectations.

It all comes down to anticipation; you will be viciously disappointed if you were waiting for a glorious scifi narrative full of depth and discovery comparable to something like Mass Effect. Similarly, if you were looking forward to a colossal and diverse trek on the other side of the galaxy, you are going to leave feeling quite unfulfilled. Yet, even though one’s expectations can significantly affect the enjoyment of a game, it really never results in a logical and sensible judgment. When you go into the game with a clear head, it is apparent that Destiny has some issues, however there is no denying that it is still an amazing shooter that can bring plenty of enjoyment.

Developer Bungie is obviously no stranger to the FPS world. Gunplay in the game is quick and pleasing. Each weapon group that you pick up has a unique feeling to it, and discovering a specific firearm that actually clicks with your style of play is exceptionally rewarding. As far as the game’s gunplay goes, it is not easy to think of an FPS that feels as natural and smooth as this title.

Review of Destiny’s Combat

The shooting that takes place in the game is obviously the base system for combat, which is easily one of the greatest strengths of the game. You will be battling a number of different alien races, which all have some kind of weakness. As an example, the Fallen (four-armed space pirates), hate head shots (who knew?!) while the mechanical Vex turn into a bunch of goop if shot in their stomach.

Due to your foes’ determination in regards to flushing you out and flanking you, the battles in the game frequently demand that you find the appropriate position before going all in. It feels like there are always a large number of distinct choices during any actual conflict, whether you are sitting somewhere sniping, or running in close and tearing your enemies apart with your awesome skills.

Each class in the game has a specific technique that it can use. Whichever character class you decide on, their abilities add some welcome components to the overall gameplay that can really be quite fun. All three of the class types to choose from can equip any weapons they prefer, but their melee attacks, armor, and Super Abilities are what make your pick a significant one.

Whichever route you choose to follow, however, growing your own custom made Guardian can be quite addictive. The game works on a conventional XP system where completing mission goals and slaughtering enemies will propel you through the levels. After not too long you’ll find yourself flying upward through the levels, getting abilities, new perks, and cool gear as you progress. This is only one facet of the role playing side that Destiny flaunts, and I must admit that it is quite satisfying.

Having said that, for many, it will feel like the days of experience points are over much too soon. There is a soft level cap of 20, and things get slightly more complex once this is reached. To progress beyond that point you will need to get specific pieces of gear, which in turn helps to boost your level. On paper, it is not exactly a system that is bad as you are constantly looking for that all important loot, but it does turn the game into more of a grind than it should be. It wouldn’t be so terrible if loot dropped at a speed that is more steady and rewarding, but the seeming randomness of loot drops means you can go from getting several pieces of important loot in rapid sequence, to spending hours playing with next to nothing of value.

From the narrative assignments to exploring, coop gameplay to the game’s competitive multiplayer, there is constantly something that you’ll want to be working on. This is all amplified, of course, by the need to acquire better and better gear.

Destiny’s Storyline

Unfortunately, there is little praise for the story within Destiny. You are given virtually no clue as to how all the pieces of the universe fit together, although it is certainly an intriguing one. If anything, the story is in place just to link together the reality that you will be leaping from planet to planet, and sometimes, the incredibly thin storyline does figure out how to evoke some kind of feeling of a purpose during the scenarios you will end up in. However, there is an overbearing feeling that so much more could have been elaborated on within the game world.

Around midway through the initial narrative of the game, matters appear to pick up a bit as you unexpectedly come across a few interesting characters (and your own Guardian suddenly starts showing a bit of personality), but within several assignments that is all cast aside and never mentioned whatsoever for as long as you play the game. Before long you’ll find yourself prepping for your final mission in the game. The last boss battle was perhaps the most striking the story has to offer, but considering how little fights change within the game that is not saying much.

Luckily, cooperative play is another place where the game really shows off how amazing it can be. Find some friends to play with you and trekking through the giant, open maps can be very immersive. After you guys are done checking out the terrain of Mars from your sweet space bikes, you can try your luck at a Strike mission for some rare gear.

The Strikes are unlocked as you move through the narrative, and by the time that you are done, they will make up much of your endgame encounters. These can continue for as much as an hour determined by how well you, along with two others, work as a team, but it isn’t quite as great as I make it out to be. Ripping through waves of alien scum with your best pals makes for an incredible encounter, but when it comes time for the boss fights, well…you’re left feeling quite disappointed.

The bosses’s insanely significant life means that clashes with these guys will probably account for the majority of your time spent doing Strikes. You’ll find yourself chipping away at their life at such a slow speed you will start to see that the actual challenge of these encounters comes from attempting to remain conscious. It certainly doesn’t ruin the 3 player fun, but it will make you think long and hard before deciding to finish them up.

But like everything else that you will do in the game, there is still that sense of progression that is enough to keep pulling you back in. Even when you are gallivanting around the open world’s randomized side quests, you will be getting Vanguard points you can use to purchase some sweet gear with.

Crossing several game styles that encompass objective focused missions, team conflicts, and free for alls, the Crucible turns out to be a remarkably dependable option to blasting away at the enemy A.I.. Destiny’s remarkable on-line system means that joining a match with friends or strangers is fast as well as simple, which lets you leap right into the activity and rack up rep and marks for more exotic gear.

Bungie’s latest is frequently at its best when you are fighting side by side with your buddies – or even with complete strangers who you have found roaming about. That is not to imply that handling assignments and investigating by yourself is not interesting, though, as there is undoubtedly a particular intrigue in browsing around with only your Ghost as a companion.

No matter the perks of the game, however, there is always the potential stress that in the event that the servers go down, you are basically left with a coaster to set your coffee on as the game is online only.

Review of the User Interface for Destiny

And so we move on to another of the finest components of the game: its user interface. A slick, user-friendly menu system can make a huge difference in regards to micromanaging your inventory in a role-playing game, although it might appear to be a fairly insignificant point to mention in a game such as Destiny. Hovering over text or icons brings up additional advice, and clicking on stuff lets you interact. Something as easy as holding down the R2 button to instantly compare equipment saves you valuable time, and to be honest, its hard to think of a better interface out there. It is easy, accessible, and is everything that you need it to be.

Destiny’s awesome design elements don’t end there. As already mentioned, the places that you can visit in the game are superbly crafted. The same is true of the designs of the gear itself and also the character designs; armor constantly looks amazing and fascinating, while the enemies are all different and very well animated. As such, it is near impossible to discover a defect in Destiny’s graphics – particularly as it appears to drip with polish and swagger.

The quality bleeds into the sound, also. The soundtrack is, in a word, stunning (Paul McCartney helped after all), while the actual design of the sound demands to be heard via a rather costly pair of headphones. Everything about the sound in the game screams quality, as Bungie definitely put forth a huge effort in this aspect of the game. With echoes, small noises, and awesome background music to suit the experience, the audio design is truly a work of art.

More on Destiny’s Endgame Content

Bungie insists the game evolves once you hit level 20, and many have accepted this challenge. Hitting level 20 isn’t the end you see, but instead it is a brand new path of progression for individuals who would like to experience the content that is most challenging within the game. To raise your level you will need to get new pieces of equipment using a stat exclusive to items over level 20: Light. This is what is going to help you level up the fastest after level 20. Getting equipment is your primary goal and means of boosting that level the fastest, although getting your XP may be carried out in exactly the same manner as before.

Level now has a much larger impact on the game than it previously did. Formerly it only decided which assignments unlocked in what area, but now new missions and modes of play will unlock every day. You are also free to equip any equipment you happen to find, provided it is for your class, so the level restrictions are almost completely removed. Initially this sounds pretty great, but then you’ll realization something: there is quite a bit of grinding ahead of you. You’re going to have wear faction armor to get in good standing with the Vanguard/Crucible in order to earn their marks, and you’ll have to do their patrols often to get Cryptarch rep increases and to find things like Strange Coins. At first this appeared tolerable on my Warlock, however when it is tied into whatever you do in the game it immediately becomes a chore that fills me with the desire to stop playing with the game minutes after logging in. If you haven’t started the game, take my advice: pace yourself when leveling up from levels 1 through 20. You are going to appreciate that part of the game a lot and you will not get that feeling again once its over.

Patrol is really where you will be spending a good bit of time in case you lack the resources to handle more demanding content in PvE. Need to build up some rep with a specific faction? Want a fast touch of Glimmer? Patrolling is going to be your occupation. And it is here where Destiny actually started to drag for me. It isn’t exactly a choice if its the best way to get your armor and weapon engrams, after all. You see, despite the fact that you CAN get a Legendary engram through PvP, its actually a pretty rare thing. No, if you want a specific piece of gear or rep you’ll need to hit up the Patrols, unless you’re feeling lucky, of course. ;)

With Strike Playlists you’ll be able to pick which reward you get based on some difficulty options, all of which are completely random. At least, they are designed to be random. Considerably more often than not its the same one.

Which brings me to the final piece of endgame content that Destiny offers, and you’ll either be disappointed or delighted with this. At endgame you’ll be able to unlock two new gameplay options. These are 3 on 3 versions of modes you’ve already played in the game: Clash and Capture. These types of gameplay will be more suited to a united team or clan, as rarely have I had a matchmaking experience that went smoothly. This is due to the fact that everyone in the group has different things that they’d like to do.

At endgame I do not feel as inspired to play the PvP combat as I once was. Sure, you can play it for some rep to get gear or for some Crucible marks, but its not quite as gripping as it once was. To be fair, it is still satisfying, but shouldn’t endgame content aspire to be BETTER than the earlier content in a game? In the event you absolutely love the PvP you’ll likely last a long time. After all, I’ve had some of the best multiplayer fights ever in Destiny.

Destiny certainly could have some great endgame content, but it just isn’t quite there yet from the initial release. At the time of composing this review, Bungie have said that they will be adding more and more content, both free and purchasable, over time as they work on the sequel. What will happen when that comes out, though? It is not that the content immediately gets old and is not interesting, but that much of it is quite repetitive. The endgame content feels a bit neglected, but it attempts to create replay value as best it can.

Quick Recap

The budget of Destiny was absolutely insane, and it certainly shows up in the game’s release. Bungie’s smash hit is not the gameplay revolution that some wished it’d be, as so many reviews have already shown, but unbelievable presentation over all facets of the game elevate it beyond some of the best first person shooters available to date. Though the defects it does have will likely prevent the game from turning into the legend it hoped it would be, if you team up with some friends you’ll enjoy a fascinating experience that is out of this world.

Release Date: September 9, 2014
Developer: Bungie
Game’s Website:
Where to Buy: Amazon

User Rating: 4.5 (6 votes)