Destiny Combines Familiarity with Innovation to Bring a Captivating Experience
Sony’s press conference at the E3 commenced with a relatively lengthy trailer of Destiny, one which focused on the plot and setting of the game instead of the gameplay and massively-multiplayer online content.
It’s a different direction from Bungie, because for a long time we’ve been treated with gameplay footage and multiplayer highlights, along with the emphasis on how big the project is, not just financially but also in-terms of the impact it has on the genre of first-person shooter games.
With the alpha testing phase nearly finished, Destiny’s foundation has been pretty much laid in front of the gaming world.
Unsurprisingly, it has a lot of similarities to Halo, but expands the world to encourage player absorption and adaptation, with a learning and difficulty curve that a gamer would make for him/herself.
The emphasis on quality gameplay and a rich mixture of fast-paced combat and MMO content makes Destiny both a familiar and unique experience, allowing players to get into the game with an abundance of choices.
You could be taking part in the Crucible – the competitive side of Destiny that pits you against other opponents online, or you could completely ignore it and take the more conventional approach, exploring the ironic richness of dry worlds.
The game supports either direction, and also everything that lies in between it, giving a seamless experience crated to the needs and comforts of the individual player and his/her liking.
The multiplayer content of the game has obviously been given more emphasis so far. It does suffer from the leveling system that is largely unadmired in games like Battlefield and Call of Duty, but Bungie has found a way to streamline the setup so to make the system more forgivable and leveled despite vast differences in character experience.
Once you’ve chosen your Guardian from an MMO inspired customization (though lacking the depth of creation that is seen in many other MMO titles), with a specific race that serves purely aesthetic purposes (which works in favor of the balance of the game), you’re thrown into the world, with vast regions to cover in all directions.
Everything is open to exploration if you’re not looking to jump into the harsh environment of competitive multiplayer.
It’s easy to get intimidated and feel lonely with so much space to cover and no real objectivity attached with it, which is why you’re fortunate to have the company of your own ghost, who will reveal any nearby quest beacons in the environment.
Most of these quests are simple, but always remain vague enough in their directions to keep them interesting. Having a small team of three players also helps the cause, as the most rewarding parts of Destiny involve cooperative gameplay that exhibit the MMO aspect of the game.
These quests are obviously separated from the story missions that progress and unveil the happenings around you, which can be taken in tandem with them to form a delightful first-person experience that both gives the satisfaction of shooting-based reward, and also the stretched and wide-spread variety offered by an MMORPG title.
Of course, with such a large-scaled world open to exploration, you always tend to desire a common hub where one could recuperate. That’s where The Tower serves its essential purpose.
The Tower is a social hub at the center of Destiny’s gameplay, located on Earth and easily accessible when out of missions and in orbit.
The building itself is explored in third-person, with your (and everyone else’s) helmet off for ease of identification.
You can read in-game mails here, partake in social spaces, enjoy the art of crafting, and also explore various kinds of shops. It’s also the very common hub where you can share your own gear and wealth with different characters under your profile.
Whether you’re looking to craft using the engrams you collect on the field, or buying a weapon from a list of available with a gunsmith, The Tower is your go-to place when you’re looking to perform preparatory tasks or desiring an intermission between your high-intensity explorations.
This all makes just one side of Destiny though – the other half is explored through the competitive multiplayer system, or the Crucible. It’s vastly different yet eerily similar to the conventional setup of Destiny, making a seamless transition between the two a possibility.
You have similar weapon limitations, similar gameplay elements, and a system that adopts the story-based world into itself brilliantly.
The gunfights and fast paced combat is quite reminiscent of Titanfall, but with larger maps and many vehicles to utilize, Destiny’s competitive multiplayer is both satisfying and easy to adapt to.
The balance of the game almost mitigates the leveling differences entirely, by providing a unique variation thanks to the randomized armor and weapons each player would carry.
No two people on the battlefield would be playing with a similar arsenal, which makes the unpredictability both fear-inducing and charming – every time you encounter an opponent, you know you have a chance to take him/her by surprise even if you are at the wrong side of the level difference.
If anything at all, one does feel that Destiny’s multiplayer takes a bit too much from other games. There’s a dense Halo-esque feel to the entire system, and the faster paced action only makes it seem more like it took Titanfall as an inspiration.
Destiny’s competitive nature feels influenced and a bit unoriginal because of this, with radically familiar looking vehicles, defense systems and gameplay modes forming the multiplayer portion of the game.
While it has its rewards and great balance, on the whole it seems safe and un-inventive, offer nothing that hasn’t been experienced before in first-person competitive multiplayer.
The innovative aspect in Destiny only seems present in the co-op and story-based MMO gameplay, while the multiplayer, despite how heavily it has been marketed, seems too familiar to impress a veteran FPS gamer.
Nevertheless, the entire experience is enticing.
The Tower is an excellent hub in both campaign and competitive PvP multiplayer, and the vast world, the MMO-styled quests mixed with story missions, and sheer joy of the rich co-op makes Destiny a title that may very well initiate a paradigm-shift in the first-person shooter genre.