Destiny {Game Review}

Destiny set out and tried to accomplish something a little different when it came to console games, and that is to create a somewhat MMO (massive multiplayer online) game with RPG elements and on top of that all being in first-person perspective.

The game centers on you, a Guardian given a second chance, as mankind’s last hope to restore order and defeat “The Darkness”. The main story is somewhat lackluster as it’s loosely thrown together with the various missions you’re tasked to complete, which don’t seem like they fit together to make one cohesive story. Although the lore behind the game is quite interesting and vast, it is locked away in the Grimoire that isn’t available to read in-game. The story that was told to us was very lackluster from what was to be expected from Bungie and the game’s ending leaves you feeling “what is really going on” and that you haven’t played a full story.

Even the missions themselves have very little narrative and cutscenes to try and give you an idea of what is going on in the game and what your purpose as a player in this world is. At most you get a couple dialogue lines from your Ghost giving out your orders, but nothing to piece together a real sense of purpose. Characters have very little depth and you just end up jumping from story mission to mission with it all feeling like it is not connected at all.

A game’s story need some kind of event, a purpose and even compelling characters to keep you entertained and wanting to know what happens next, all the way to the end. You don’t even need to rely on cutscenes to tell all that for you either. In-game dialogue could help with letting you know what is going on, but the dialogue that is in the game does little in that regard. At the very least Destiny should have had an in-game center or option in the menu to read the Grimoire so it at least gives the player an opportunity to learn more about this world, somewhat like the Codex in Mass Effect.

Even the enemies are bland. You know you need to fight “The Darkness” and the four enemy factions. You’ll face off against The Hive, The Fallen, The Vex and The Cabal with all of the major bosses for each of these just being larger versions of themselves with no character variation. What’s worse is you have no knowledge or background about these enemies, unlike when you think back to Halo’s Covenant and The Flood whom you knew about and their reasoning for their attacks. Once again if you read the Grimoire you’ll have a much greater knowledge about these enemies, but the game still gets a fault for not being able to actually tell you while playing.

As far as your Guardian is concerned, you’ll have three classes to choose from; Warlock, Titan and Hunter with each class having two subclasses to choose from as well. The character creation is somewhat sparse in comparison to other games, but it suffices seeing how you won’t see them all that much aside from trips to the Tower.  

Although, as expected from Bungie is top-notch gameplay. While the story might not pull you in, the gameplay and shooting mechanics are sure to keep you going. You’ll have plenty of weapons and weapon archetypes to choose from that fit your liking and play-style. With weapons becoming stronger as you progress in the form of different rarities; Common, Uncommon, Rare, Legendary and Exotic. The same goes for armor as well, all in an effort to raise your character’s Light Level.

Once your character reaches level 20 you stop leveling up from XP earned from killing enemies, bounties, missions etc and you switch to the loot grind of the game and the search for better gear. You can purchase gear from vendors in the tower, or from engrams that will drop from general play, rewards from end of activities to then be decrypted into hopefully better higher level loot. In terms of character progression, this is endgame in the constant grind to reach max Light level.  

On top of the quick and thin in content story missions, there are plenty of other objectives to complete to give a chance at experience and new gear. On each planet there are “patrol” missions to complete, these being simple tasks like “kill x amount of enemies”, “go scan this item”, “go survey this area”. Strikes are lengthier missions and are completed with a fireteam of 3 people. These are probably one of the more entertaining things to do in the game, with more enemies and actual boss fights spreaded throughout. Bosses have some fight mechanics to them and are generally bullet sponges that you’ll have to take down while more enemies spawn in for you to deal with, but can still provide some enjoyment.

The last part of Destiny’s endgame is the Raid, which is a six-man activity and requires the most teamwork and coordination with for more mechanics in them than anything else in the game. This activity also provides no matchmaking, so you’ll need to form your own fireteam of Guardians.

While strikes are fun, raids are the most fun I’ve had in my time with Destiny. Giving you a satisfying experience of finally clearing a boss after trying over and over to end up with some sweet loot leaves you with a small sense of pride. At their core, Destiny raids can be seen as lengthy strikes with multiple bosses and checkpoints. Destiny’s first raid, Vault of Glass, has you going up against the Vex and ultimately stopping Aethon, the final boss. There are multiple stages in the raid with two major bosses and plenty of stages that require team mechanics to progress forward.

This is what Destiny’s endgame content entails. You’re constantly replaying missions, strikes and even the raid in hopes to get better gear to reach the max Light Level. Although if you truly want to reach max level in Destiny you’ll need to complete the raid, since that is the only place that will drop high-end max level gear. If you’re stuck doing everything else but the raid, you’ll fall short of that goal.

The main problem with the loot system in the game though is there is no say or way to improve your chances on what loot you end up getting. It’s all based on RNG and totally random. Being the best on your team does not automatically mean you’ll get the better loot. You could end up with nothing or something subpar. That is Bungie’s way of having you coming back to constantly grind out higher-level strikes and the raid, that are time-gated by week, in hopes of getting what you want.

All of that aside, Destiny’s other strengths are its graphics and sound design. The skyboxes in this game are something you could just stare at all day while in patrol. The planets are for the most part open-world and all feel very different from each other. Textures look nice and detailed, although when there is too much going on on-screen like explosions, the framerate can take a dip. Even details down to your armor and weapons look crisp, especially in the first-person viewpoint.

The soundtrack is amazing! At the right moments the music knows when to kick up and make you feel the tension of the situation at hand. All of the sound effects throughout the game are great as well, from the sound of the guns, to your guardians abilities, even down to how creepy the enemies can sound at times. The one downside is the voice acting, while at times it’s okay other times it’s just bad, and part of that could be the writing. Peter Dinklage as your Ghost just doesn’t work for me, he sounds as if he’s bored and uninspired. Again, that could all be because of the writing though. I feel like some of the best voice acting in the game though is through NPCs in the Tower. Just standing next to a vendor or faction leader, you’ll end up hearing some interesting lines that can go from weird to hilarious.

Destiny has many things that it does right and also many things that it does wrong, but still manages to be addicting and keeps me coming back for more. Looting your gear and seeing what you get is what drives you back to always reaching for that max goal. In its vanilla form Destiny is more lacking than anything else, always leaving you with a feeling that there should have been more. While I do love the game, it is far from a “great” game, but has plenty of potential to be the game we all know Bungie is capable of making.

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April’s Games with Gold Announced!

Major Nelson has gone ahead and announced April’s games that will be free as part of the ongoing Games with Gold program. This month you’ll get to join the worlds of zombies, assassins, Roman soldiers and some horsemen of the apocalypse.

  • Ryse: Son of Rome will be available the entire month of April
  • The Walking Dead: Season Two will be available April 16th to May 15th.
  • Darksiders will be available April 1st to April 15th
  • Assassin’s Creed: Revelations will be available April 16th to April 30th

In conjuction with this announcement this also means Darksiders and Assassin’s Creed: Revelations will also be backwards compatible on the Xbox One now.

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Mass Effect Andromeda Gets A Second Cinematic Trailer

A new cinematic trailer for Mass Effect Andromeda has dropped today! With much of this game kept under wraps the last few months, it’s still kind of a mystery. This new trailer gives us a look at some new faces though we can expect to see.

Mass Effect Andromeda makes its way into our homes on March 21st for Xbox One, PS4 and PC.

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Microsoft Has Cancelled Scalebound

The upcoming Xbox exclusive, Scalebound, had officially been cancelled by Microsoft.

In the article released along with the tweet it stated:

After careful deliberation, Microsoft Studios has come to the decision to end production for “Scalebound.” We’re working hard to deliver an amazing lineup of games to our fans this year, including “Halo Wars 2,” “Crackdown 3,” “State of Decay 2,” “Sea of Thieves” and other great experiences.

This comes as a blow to the Xbox lineup for 2017 since this was one of the more anticipated exclusives. Scalebound looked like a refreshing experience that was going to be coming to the Xbox exclusive lineup to break up all the other exclusives that are a majority of sequels.

With four years of development into this game, it is not clear if Platinum Games will continue this sometime in the future or if this is truly the last we see of this game.

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Top 5 Games Of 2016

  1. Titanfall 2

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Coming off the first game that didn’t have a single-player campaign at all, Respawn took criticism and gave fans one this time around in the sequel. It provides a decent action-packed campaign that should last you around 6-7 hours, while not overstaying its welcome. The campaign also has a nice way to include the mechanics that Titanfall is known for like the wall-running and the movement system in general. The multiplayer is also another positive to add to this game, letting you run, hop, slide and wall-run your way all over the map taking out enemies. A genuine surprise for this year for sure and probably came out of nowhere for a lot of other gamers.

 

  1. Rocket League

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While this might have already been out on the PC and PS4 last year, it was new to me in 2016 on the Xbox One so I’m including it in my top games. Who knew that combining two things like soccer and cars could end up being so much fun. With casual playlists and competitive playlists to browse, along with many other modes that have been added throughout the year, you’re sure to have a blast with this game. Rocket League is also one game that I’ll continually be able to fall back on and find it easy to hop on for a few matches here and there.

 

  1. Unravel

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Swedish developer, Coldwood Studios, brought their puzzle platformer this year with a cute little character made out of yarn. You played as Yarny through his journey and many encounters with puzzles and the Swedish countryside. With a heartfelt story, told without words, I felt this was a great gem of 2016. The puzzles were decent enough without being overly challenging or too easy, and the mechanic of having to use your yarn to navigate was a nice touch. I look forward to seeing what Coldwood has for us in their next outing.

 

  1. Battlefield 1

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Taking a travel back in time this year, DICE decided to tackle the WWI era for their Battlefield series and it worked beautifully. With a fantastic campaign that takes you on the journeys of multiple characters all throughout the war, while keeping variety with stealth missions, flying and even tanks. The multiplayer is also top notch. A somewhat slower paced than many might be used to, but a nice change and more simple choices on weapons. A campaign that has replay value for me and multiplayer that will keep me invested for a while, it’s a no brainer that Battlefield 1 is so high on my list.

 

  1. Forza Horizon 3

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This is the most fun I’ve had with a game all year. Playground Games takes us down under in the Australian outback for a chance to drive your favorite supercar through deserts, sandy beaches, city streets or even a farmer’s fields. With plenty of races and different events to do in the single player, you can even jump online with a friend for some fun racing hijinks. Forza Horizon 3 is also one of the most stunning looking games this year. With plenty of scenery to take in I found so many great spots to just stop and take a photo. I’ve spent 100+ hours easily racing around Australia, the Blizzard Mountain expansion out to add even more fun and another expansion coming out later this year I’ll be playing this game for a long time.

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Overwatch To Get Holiday Event Next Week

Blizzard has gone and made the announcement that Overwatch will be getting a holiday themed event to go live on December 13th.

A couple months ago some savvy dataminers found some interesting information and led to the leak of this holiday event, along with some other things. Some new voice lines were found as well that could suggest there might be a new mode getting added to the game, permanently or temporarily is unknown though.

So get ready and keep an eye out for more details when the update is live!

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New Death Stranding Trailer Featuring Mads Mikkelsen

A new Death Stranding was shown at The Game Awards the other day, that brings another interesting look at the next production from Hideo Kojima. It was a great trailer with some weird imagery from weird tube babies, tanks covered in aliens, black goo and an ominous Mads Mikkelsen potentially being the villain?

No official date has been set yet, but it’s safe to assume we could be seeing this game next year hopefully. Check out the trailer below!

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Forza Horizon 3 Expansion Announced & Detailed

Playground Games have released details on the first expansion called ‘Blizzard Mountain’ for Forza Horizon 3. This expansion will be introducing some firsts for the Forza series, you’ll be introduced to snow, ice, extreme elevations and blizzards that look to challenge the player on their way to being King of the Mountain.

Along with this expansion players will get to explore the snowy mountain tops with 8 new vehicles that including the 2016 Ford GYMKHANA 9 Focus RS RX and the 1965 Ford F-100 Flareside Abatti Racing Trophy Truck.

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The Blizzard Mountain expanion will be available separately or part of the Forza Horizon 3 Expansion Pass, which will give you discounted access to both expansions for $34.99. If you own the Ultimate Edition you’ll receive a $10 discount on the Expansion Pass, as long as you buy it before the end of 2016.

With Blizzard Mountain there will be new campaign challenges for the players to compete in a series of exhilarating events with you reaching your way to becoming King of the Mountain. There will be plenty to do with more than 50 new events and challenges to compete in. Drivers will be tested across extereme weather conditions and brand new race types  that include; Hill Climb, Descent and Blizzard.

Blizzard Mountain launches for all drivers on December 13th for Xbox One.

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