Was Destiny What We Were Promised?
Destiny was at the forefront of our dreams for the next generation of console gaming. When news that the Publishers of Call of Duty, Activision, and the Developers of Halo, Bungie, were coming together to make an open world First Person Shooter, the gaming community exploded with excitement. With these two companies backing Destiny and the largest yet seen budget for a game we all had high hopes for it too, but is it what we were promised? What we deserved given the resources they had available.
My first impression of Destiny was awe. The immensity of the vibrant world you are immersed in from the start is instantly apparent. After you are revived in front of you stands a huge and imposing wall stretching from horizon to horizon. Turning around you see a vast landscape stretching in the other direction. It’s alien but you recognize it as Earth and graphically it’s beautiful. But as time went on I began to feel misled. With levels designated by planet there was so much room for potential, so much to the enormity of a planet-labeled-level that was untouched. Don’t get me wrong, the levels were huge, there were around six to nine areas/levels within each world, each with its own scenery. But again some of those areas were only accessible on that specific mission, and although they had their own scenery they all had the same feel of that particular planet.
Earth alone could have allowed for all the variation in Destiny and twice more but instead we were given a belittling amount of space and diversity. I know there are limitations to what they can do within the game but it just comes across as a bit of a deception, maybe even lazy.
The gameplay of Destiny has been something that I think made people feel right at home. Everyone talks of the Halo-esc feel to it but let’s not forget, Halo was and still is a massive game with an enormous fan base. And with good reason. So is it really bad that it had that feel? The skills and subclasses give the player a good aspect of diversity within each class and sub class. The guns available cover the basic types expected in most First Person Shooters but I felt there was perhaps too much of a universal look for each type and that a little diversity in their aesthetics wouldn’t have gone amiss.
The soundtrack for Destiny was brilliant, once again with similarities drawn to the Halo soundtrack (mainly due to it being the same composer, Martin O’Donnell). It definitely manages to back the vastness of the world the game is set in, or more over solar system. The combat tracks could perhaps be done with a different touch though, perhaps more along the lines of Breaking Benjamin’s track in Halo 2.
The narrative of Destiny was thin, terribly so. And though Peter Dinklage’s voice performance has been the main area of criticism, I feel there was a lot more pressing matters that needed to be sorted before focusing on one voice actor’s performance. There was so much potential within Destiny for a grade A narrative, but it just felt hollow. The only character that I found myself nearly having enough of a dialogue with to form an attachment to, was the Stranger. Characters make a narrative and there just wasn’t enough of each of them. Especially with voice actors like the aforementioned Peter Dinklage, as well as award winning Bill Nighy as the speaker, Gina Torres, Nathan Fillion and even Claudia Black, it has the potential for numerous characters with colorful personalities and discoverable back stories. But there’s next to no personality in any of the characters, which is in no way the actors’ fault. I just don’t think there was enough of a premise for them. Which is why I think people should back off of Peter Dinklage. Cortana from the Halo series had a similar role but she had many a character to act off of apart from chief whereas Dinklage was alone for most of his time. The ending of Destiny built up a finale-feeling really well but then just ended before it had time to reach its’ climax. I was waiting for one more boss, one more epic fight but none came. I felt like they missed a trick by not having a big fight at the end with all four of the enemies coming together for a massive battle. Maybe this is yet to come in the DLC, but is it really fair for us to have to pay extra for the real ending of Destiny?
All in all, as someone who holds narrative as one of the most important parts of games, I felt severely disappointed with the Destiny’s narrative. Especially coming from one of my favourite studios, Bungie. After reading this, don’t feel like I didn’t like the game nor that you shouldn’t buy it yourself if you haven’t already. I loved Destiny and still play it today but just know that it’s not what we were promised. All I would say to Bungie is, “Don’t make a gamer a promise, if you know you can’t keep it.”
Categories: OPINION PIECES