Destiny is a shared world shooter by Bungie release for all major consoles this past Tuesday. It takes everything you love about a FPS and marries components of an RPG to it. The best description I can come up with is Mass Effect is an RPG with FPS elements… well Destiny is a FPS with RPG elements. It’s all online, there are shared world zones where you randomly encounter other players, but you can ignore them or team up with them as you see fit.
There are four main elements to the PvE content: Campaign Story, Patrols, Strikes, and Raids.
The campaign story is excellent.. it’s engaging, though I found it a little short. The final battle was great. My only complaint is that I wished there was a little more at the end with some idea of where the story will go in the next patch or expansion. You can repeat any of the missions anytime solo or with a friend… and you can tune up the level of difficulty to match your character’s level. I found this to be very fun, even after several repeats of the same story. They nailed the Diablo-like experience of loot acquisition. You can get straight loot items or engrams that can be decoded in the Tower.
There is one Patrol “zone” for each game area so far: Earth, Moon, Venus, & Mars. Each area is pretty huge… it can take several minutes of straight riding on your speeder bike to get from one end to the other. Each Patrol zone has random quests you can do for reputation, currency, and experience. There are also “Public Events” that randomly occur that strive to push players together in the zone to defeat a boss-like encounter. You can also hunt for hidden chests of loot and zone resources that vary from planet to planet. I find these zones to be very fun to do for a while when you want to just go from place to place solo getting exp or currency. These will likely have a long replay value.
Strikes are small party dungeon-like events.. .They typically take 20 minutes or so when everything goes smoothly. There are typically 2-3 boss-like encounters per Strike. These can be premade strikes with up to 3 people (Called a Fireteam)… or you can just queue and go with 2 other random people. These can also be queued at higher levels through the map interface via the Vanguard (main game faction that all Guardians belong). These are a lot of fun if you have people that work together.
Raids are for 6 players and are not active yet. The general consensus is these are much harder than strikes and require a pre-made Fireteam of 6 players. No random queue for these. They of course are the hardest content and provide the best loot opportunities.
PVP has several game modes from Deathmatch (Rumble), Team Deathmatch (Clash), Capture and Hold(Control), and then Team Deathmatch with vehicles possible (Combined Arms). There are also special modes like Iron Banner and Salvage that appear on a rotation with special rules… like Iron Banner is Control where your gear level is active. Normally in PvP they normalize your character to have a balanced armor and weapon… so your Warlock Helm has the same benefit as everyone else’s and your shotgun does the same damage as everyone else’s, for example. You can queue solo or as a group for PvP. You definitely get a better experience if you can queue with a group. You communicate better and eventually develop tactics per map. I found this mode to be very fun even solo, but really took off once I got a group together.
On the whole I would say that Destiny expands the FPS genre to new levels… however if you were looking for a rich RPG experience, you might be disappointed. That’s not to say the RPG elements are not well done or anything.. they just are not as fully involved as a full fledged RPG like Skyrim.
Everything in this game has polish… The graphics, skyboxes, sounds, races, weapons, lore, everything…. it all has depth and is very well developed. Every exotic weapon and armor piece has a story to it. The areas and races all of history and depth of content to really bring the world to life. I am eager to find out more and hope that Bungie releases supplemental content in the form of books, comics, animated shorts, etc. to expand on the universe. There is a lot of opportunity to really shine in the lore department and Bungie has a good grasp here at the beginning. I look forward to more soon.
If you have a PS3 or XBox 360… go ahead and get a digital copy of the game… There is a special right now that gives you the PS4 or Xbox One version for free and you can transfer your characters up to the next gen. I think the game is thoroughly enjoyable with a long replay value.
Final Score: 9.9