Already Destiny seems to be eliciting some extreme reactions. What are your thoughts?
Reviews of Destiny are starting to creep in almost a week after its massive release and they're surprisingly negative. After a Beta where the reaction was overwhelmingly positive, I have to admit this surprised me. But I understand the concerns.
Some think Destiny is too safe, it's too generic. Some think there simply isn't enough to do in the game world, that it relies too heavily on the same endless game loop. I say these are all fair criticisms, and to a certain extent I agree with every single one of them.
But if that's the case, why am I enjoying Destiny so much? Why do I want to return to it? Why am I sitting at my desk swirling in my chair eagerly awaiting the moment I can sit down and explore that universe once again?
It's hard to pin point, but I suspect it boils down to two central aspects: the tight and endlessly rewarding core shooting and the design of the world itself.
I say the 'design' of the world, because it's a broad catch all word that encompasses a number of things: the layout, the aesthetics, all of that. All of these combined means that Destiny is a universe I want to inhabit. I want to shoot enemies in this world, I want to traverse it, I want to simply stand in the universe and pause.
The core of Destiny is interesting. I think it's almost too easy to compare it to Halo. Sure, I've made that lazy comparison before — Halo's 30 seconds of fun is at the core of Destiny's DNA — but Destiny is markedly different because it has to be different. For one, Halo's legendary weapon balance has to be completely reinvented. Because this is an 'MMO' with levels and scaling enemies it's far more difficult to have the finely tuned interplay between weapons and enemies that made Halo so compelling. Therefore Destiny feels different, and not always in a good way.
Destiny will never, for example, have that amazing interplay between Grunts and Elites. It'll never have that "I'll use my Plasma Pistol to remove the Elite's shields and then head shot him with a pistol" level of strategy. I think this is because — as a game so obsessed with loot and upgrades — Destiny isn't playing with a fixed set of pieces. There are too many weapons to think about, to many different combinations. In a way the core suffers, but at the same time it opens up a whole new matrix of possibilities.
Some people simply aren't enjoying it, or feel like Destiny over-promised and under delivered. I for one am just revelling in it. I think it might be because, as a busy Father of a demanding toddler and a hectic schedule, I really appreciate that Destiny is tailored to that 'I have one hour so this better be good' style of play. It's giddily fun on a moment-to-moment basis and that is the kind of gaming experience I tend to treasure. It enables me to overlook flaws, of which Destiny has many.
I'm keen to see where Bungie takes this. I suspect that Destiny will be the kind of game we'll complain about and grumble about for years to come — but we'll still be playing it. It'll become a Diablo, or a Halo. The kind of game that we criticise, but will always find essential.
What are your thoughts?