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‘Destiny’ may actually be as good as you hope it is

Destiny FPS
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Read our full Destiny review.

Let’s go ahead and save a little time here: Bungie’s Destiny may end up being exactly as good as you hope it will be, and that is saying a lot. When Bungie bid a fond farewell to Halo, the franchise that made it one of the most respected developers in the business, the anticipation for the title it would make next was intense. But how do you follow-up one of the most iconic and important franchises in the history of gaming? You go bigger.

The reveal of Destiny back in February was enough to pique our interests, but little more than that. It was a first look at the game, but also lacked any real substance in the unveiling. It was a shooter from Bungie! Shocking! Socks remained firmly on feet, with nary a pair blown off.

What was shown was intriguing, there just wasn’t much of it. A general setting was revealed, a confirmation of obvious things like it being an FPS was given, and a hint at features like online connectivity was teased. We saw more at the Sony PlayStation 4 debut, but not much. Turns out, Bungie was saving it for E3. Now that we’ve seen more of the game, it looks like it was worth the wait.

Story/Concept

Bungie Destiny

It’s the End of the World Again: Destiny is set in the far future of humanity, roughly seven centuries after “The Collapse.” You play as a “Guardian,” a protector of the last safe city on the planet Earth, which is situated beneath the mysterious “Traveler,” a white sphere that just sits there … majestically.

Destiny imageWhat the Traveler does and why it is there hasn’t been revealed yet, and is probably one of the main mysteries of the game. But while the Traveler watches over the inhabitants of Earth and defends them from a violent new world, Earth is far from the only place to see and explore.

NASA evolved: The scope of the game is incredible. You are free to explore much of the solar system, and each new world and location has its own look, feel, and missions. We already knew all of this though. In the demo played for us at E3, the setting is a giant structure in the remains Russia – or at least the area that used to be Russia.

Explore, Fight, Explore: The game was demoed by two players. The duo entered into the pitch black super structure and tossed out a drone that acted as a guide and a light source. After identifying the power supply, it zooms off to restart the lighting system. That proves to be a mistake though, as it alerts enemies (most likely savage aliens, but possibly mutants) to your presence. Then the fun begins.

Gameplay

Destiny shooterOnce More Unto the Breach. If you are hoping for something that shakes the mold, then you may be disappointed. Plus you don’t know Bungie. The developer helped to define the FPS genre over the last decade, and helped to make it one of –arguably the –dominant genres in gaming. Destiny builds on that.

The demo pitted the players against waves of enemies that rushed in. The gunplay was unremarkable, but seemed fluid and responsive. If it were a meal, it would smell delicious – but until we can taste it, it just has a familiar odor.

DestinyClassy: Destiny has three separate classes you can choose from while creating your character: Titans, Hunters, and Warlocks. Each class has their own pros and cons, but the details weren’t shown. There will be an upgrade and experience system though, which also extends to guns.

One of the major features of Destiny is the huge number of weapons. Each weapon has its own attributes and name. The better the enemy you defeat, the better quality of loot dropped. Each weapon can then be upgraded, and the maximum and final upgrade transforms the weapon into something much more powerful and rare. This will create thousands of unique weapons.

Open to the Public: Destiny is all about the co-op experience. You can play solo, and probably will spend a good deal of time alone – it is a massive game, and co-op isn’t necessary. But it allows drop-in co-op, as well as random encounters with other players.

The demo featured a boss fight against a massive alien, but it didn’t end there. As the two players headed back outside, an armada of ships passed over them and began to open fire, dropping troops along the way. This was called a “public event.”

The New Familiar: MMO fans will likely recognize the idea – a random (or timed) event suddenly happens, and anyone that wants to can join in to complete it and earn experience. If you aren’t a PC player, look no further than Defiance’s “arkfalls” for an example. The action was intense, and a single player almost certainly wouldn’t be able to defeat the enemies. Thankfully that’s when another player showed up. And then another, and another.

It all looked fast, fun, frantic, and like Bungie has another major hit on its hands.

Presentation

Destiny BungieGorgeous: There really isn’t much more to say about the game’s graphics beyond stating the obvious: they are gorgeous. It has been a while since a game has made people really excited to see what certain areas look like purely for their aesthetic values. But if after seeing the game’s lighting effects, clouds, and the like, if you don’t want to see what Saturn’s rings look like in this game, then maybe it isn’t for you.

Laughs: The game has so far positioned itself as a fairly straight forward shooter, with a dark tone stemming from the fall of Earth and the threat of humanity’s extermination. Yet, it has some funny moments as well. There are taunts and dance moves you can whip out, and the characters in the game often crack sarcastic one-liners. It is an odd juxtaposition compared to what we’ve seen, but not unwelcome. If the people behind Red vs. Blue are looking for a new game to work with, Destiny may fit that bill.

Takeaway

Destiny made a big splash at E3. And while the game had us waiting for more info leading up to the show, now that we’ve seen a bunch of gameplay it simply makes us want more. Destiny will be available for all systems, including PS3 and Xbox 360, but it is made for the next-gen, and anything else would be a downgrade. It won’t be a launch title for either the Xbox One of the PS4, but it will almost certainly be a must buy when it is released next year.

This article has been updated to fix a typo. 

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Ryan Fleming
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Ryan Fleming is the Gaming and Cinema Editor for Digital Trends. He joined the DT staff in 2009 after spending time covering…
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