Destiny: Not Quite a Review (First Impressions)

Update: Read the Complete Destiny Review: From Beginning to Endgame

First off let me state that this isn’t the full Destiny review. Like most other sites, that will be coming later. Why? Well, Bungie has made clear that this game truly begins with the story’s ending. Whether that turns out to be accurate, we have to reach that part of the game before any criticisms are handed down. Once we spend a lot more time playing, then we’ll be sure to see whether or not that is true.

Our present review playthrough is likely around three quarters of the way through the narrative now. We’re around level 14 at this point, and playing as the Hunter. Mars, the Moon, Venus, and Earth are all unlocked; Mars is a little too tough in sections (it is suggested you be between level 15-18), but we have gotten a pretty good feel for the environments within the world of Destiny.

The game is amazing. You got a taste of this if you were one of those who played with the beta. The “finished” product does not really seem all that different, but all the planets that are now explorable feature completely breathtaking views. If what you want is eye candy, you’ll find plenty of it.

Halo is the closest thing you could compare to the game right now, especially Halo 3 and Halo 2. Those games featured similar hallway-style shooting sequences that fed right into bigger conflict “stadiums” that offered a more open ended tactical way of taking down Covenant forces. While this is on a much larger scale in Destiny (massive maps), the overall experience is very similar.

Playing the game this early will most likely have gamers taking sides: they’ll love it or they’ll hate it. some have commented on how overly repetitive the game appeared. There is undoubtedly a feeling of a MMORPG grind design as you scale your way toward the current max level: 20. You will find that, without coop players to play with, some of the challenges in the game are simply too difficult to manage without first leveling up. That is, if you simply stick to doing the storyline assignments.

Besides narrative missions, Destiny additionally offers Patrols. This really is the point where the grinding occurs. Each planet in the game comes with a Patrol choice; you are just dropped into your preferred planet’s open world space with no goals that are particular to pursue. From here, you are free to investigate, take on enemies, and accept comparatively brief, random Patrol assignments for XP (but not as much as the narrative assignments).

Besides using Patrols to push your level upwards, there are bounties to pursue (once they’re unlocked, of course) and PvP matches (also need to be unlocked). You’ll most likely need to grind through some of these to keep up with the increasing challenges of the story in the game.

The systems in the game are not nearly as developed as something like Guild Wars or World of Warcraft. Crafting is overly simplistic, as many would expect of a shooter. Loot happens to drop very rarely, making you constantly check the in-game stores for equipment when you go back to the Tower (safe, social gathering place).

Now, more about the actual gameplay. With the controls always being immediately responsive, you always feel in the moment when playing. Even little fight encounters possess the capacity to be thrilling within the world of Destiny.

For example, it’s possible for you to zoom in on the Sparrow speeder bike that you’re riding and begin firing before the disembark animation completes. It’s possible for you to do sky- scraping jumps in a blur of movement as you gun down enemies in midair.

Thus far, I’d say I’m into the game for about 13 hours worth of play. The leveling in the game slows down drastically once you get past 10, and around here we are thinking that the narrative has a finish time of about 20 hours. After we finish all of that lovely leveling and start in on the endgame we’ll better know how everything in the game fits with everything else.

For those who are contemplating a purchase right now I can only say this. Think about Halo and Borderlands. Did you enjoy playing either one of those titles? Both, maybe? Do you value the tactical layout and sleek, smooth fighting system of Halo? Are you a lover of the XP system present in Borderlands? You’ll find that Destiny is somehwere between both of these, together with the inclusion of a few touches of MMO elements.

Be sure to stop by again soon to see our full review of this title, along with more posts that cover more of the hot Destiny action that has come to our gaming lives.

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