Is the Wildly Popular Video Game DESTINY Any Good?
Here’s What You Should Know!
By David Grue, Contributing Writer
Quality: * * * Acceptability: -1
DESTINY is a wildly popular game, pulling in $500 million dollars within the first 24 hours of its release. With the Christmas gift season right around the corner, many parents might be wondering if this game is appropriate for children, if the story is interesting or if the game is even any fun. Here’s what you should know.
While exploring Mars, astronauts discovered a giant hovering white sphere. They call the benevolent being the “Traveler”, who helps usher humanity into a “Golden Age.” During this time, there was rapid scientific advancement, and humans began colonizing nearby planets and moons.
Centuries later, humanity discovered that the Traveler had an enemy, the “Darkness.” As the Darkness closed in on the Traveler, the human interplanetary civilization began to collapse. Hostile alien races invaded the solar system attacking human developments. The Traveler could not stop the now massive threat and sacrificed itself to save the remaining human population.
Now, 700 years in the future, the Traveler still hovers above the surface of Earth. Fighters called Guardians have begun to draw on the remaining energy of the Traveler and wield strange powers. They are fighting back against the alien races that now inhabit most of Earth and the nearby planets.
The player is a Guardian resurrected by a “Ghost,” a small sentient, floating robot. The player immediately seeks refuge in a nearby structure and eventually finds a spaceship to take to the last safe city on the planet. The first missions take place on Earth in “Old Russia.” Here, the player fights the Fallen, an insect-like alien race. The player is looking for some Golden Age technology to help in the fight against the Darkness.
The next set of missions takes place on Earth’s moon where the player discovers the Hive, an ancient alien race that’s built a massive network of tunnels. While fighting them, the player is told to go to Venus and fight an even greater threat, the Vex. The Vex are a race of semi-organic machines, who can teleport. To stop them, the player has to travel to the Black Garden on Mars. Here, the player finds the last alien faction, the Cabal. The Cabal use large armored battle suits. Eventually, with some help from the Queen of the Reef, the player enters the Black Garden and destroys a portion of the Darkness. This is a great victory, but many hostile aliens still remain.
The biggest difference between Destiny and Bungie’s previous franchise, Halo, is the leveling system. Players start at level one and gain experience up to level twenty. During this time they are also gaining new armor and weapons. They can hold three weapons at a time: a standard weapon, a special weapon and a heavy weapon. Unlike Halo, picking up weapons off the ground and immediately using them is cumbersome to do in combat. However, players can easily switch between the three weapons they currently are equipped.
There are four different game modes in Destiny: Story Missions, Strikes, Patrols, and Crucible. Story Missions are where new players will spend most of their time. Here, the player chooses which mission they want to pursue on which planet (there’s usually only one or two missions of appropriate difficulty). There is very little story presented in them and most of the dialogue is poorly written and delivered. Almost every Story Mission follows the same routine: descend to the planet’s drop zone, go to the mission-specific location, deploy the ghost, then defend the ghost from waves of enemies. This becomes extremely repetitive.
Strikes are Destiny’s versions of dungeons. There is one Strike per planet, and while the locations are reused from Story Missions, the enemies and bosses are different. Strikes are done in groups of three people, and the player can assemble a party themslves or queue for a party individually. Strikes is more fun, and the effort Bungie put into the different bosses noteworthy. The bosses are hard to defeat and have some unique mechanics.
In Patrols, the player can explore a planet as they wish and do different objectives. Most of these objectives are dictated by bounties. These include killing X of a certain type of enemy, killing a specific enemy, scanning an object, or scouting an area. This is where Destiny’s open world matchmaking system shines because it only shows the player a certain number of other players in the area. Not so many that all the enemies are dead, but enough to seek help if the player needs it. During Patrols, random events will occur, and players usually all rush to join.
The Crucible is the player versus player portion of Destiny. This is the mode that most closely resembles Halo multiplayer. Players use the weapons and abilities they currently are equipped and do battle in a 6-on-6 matchup. There is a robust advancement system where players can earn experience, weapons and armor in Crucible mode.
DESTINY is a first person shooter game. Therefore, most of the gameplay is gun violence. The Guardians are fighting for survival and exclusively attack hostile alien enemies in every game mode except Crucible. This distinction is important. It’s one thing to be fighting soulless creatures bent on destruction, but to fight other human beings without much context raises moral problems.
In Crucible mode, though players attack each other, the characters simply fall over or vaporize when killed. There is no blood or gore. Certain aliens will release a black or white liquid when killed. The player character will occasionally yell out in pain when attacked. There is some light obscene language when a character utters the “h” word. There are no sexual references or nudity. There is surprisingly overt Christian imagery in Destiny. The player characters are literally warriors of the Light who draw on the power of the Traveler to fight the Darkness. The Traveler sacrificed itself to save humanity. The Speaker is a prophet for the Traveler and is a positive and respected character.
This is one of the cleaner first person shooters out there. One caution is that the game requires an Internet connection, so the player will always been around other players, even when doing Story Missions solo. There is no text chat and no proximity voice chat. Players have to be in a party and enable voice chat in order to communicate with other one another. Standard caution for online interactions applies. However, in more than 12 hours of playing Destiny, I never heard another player talk.
Overall, DESTINY is a solid game despite the shortcomings of the Story Missions. The gameplay feels great and anyone familiar with Halo will feel right at home. The advancement system is implemented well through Level 20. Finding new guns and armor upgrades is enjoyable and there is a nice weapon variety between the three major types. Playing with friends is highly encouraged as it will make the Story Missions less repetitive and greatly enhance the other game modes as well. Because of the action violence, DESTINY is not a game for young children.
How is the Traveler similar to Jesus?
How are Guardians similar to Christians?
How is the Darkness similar to evil in our world?
Genre: First Person Shooter
Intended Audience: Teenagers and adults
ESRB Rating: T
Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One (Reviewed on PlayStation 3)
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