Destiny – Don’t be so Quick to Judge

It’s 10:00 at night two days after Destiny’s release. I’ve just gotten home from my closest game retailer with a copy of the game and I rip open the shrink wrap packaging as fast as I can, using my car keys to hasten the process. I sniff the in-box game manual as a tradition before rapidly inserting the game disc into my Playstation 4. While the title installs, I scroll through my smartphone applications mindlessly and open a couple of messages I received earlier in the day. Finally, the game everyone has been waiting for over the past year and a half is ready to play. I sit huddled over my controller in anticipation as the game boots up.  I am immediately cascaded with Halo-esque Gregorian chants and space-themed music. I know now that I am in for a treat, as I create my character and delve into the world of Destiny for the first time.

My story is the same as many others. Destiny was developed by the illustrious Bungie, creators of the near-legendary Halo franchise. The title released last month and while reviews have been somewhat mixed, Destiny cannot be judged as most experiences are. There are a number of factors that allow the game some leeway. Destiny was the hottest upcoming title for a long time before its release date. The promise of a new genre, mixing first-person shooters and massively multiplayer games meant that the game was destined to shoulder an enormous weight.  Gamers assumed that Bungie, given their history, would deliver unto them a video game of revolutionary status. While not quite revolutionary, Destiny moves games forward in a way that hasn’t been done yet.

My anticipation level for this game did not really peak until I had bought it and was on the way home. This is where my story differs from the crowd. I never had any expectation of Destiny, though I knew it would be quality in both the gameplay and graphics. With Bungie developing the game and an assuredly strong budget backing them from publisher Activision-Blizzard, there was no way Destiny could be terrible. My friends and I sank a massive number of hours into Destiny following my initial foray into the game’s confines, an experience that I have not had the pleasure of enjoying through console gaming. During the last console generation and up until now in the current one, never before had I played with my friends in the same way I have with Destiny. 

The game encourages cooperative play, and you’ll feel that the second you start your space-faring journey. There is absolutely no question that this is an experience meant for multiple people, though you’re always offered the option to go it alone. This diversity gives players the opportunity to play with others, while still retaining the ability to kick back and play alone when preferred. While this is also true of most first-person shooters, the main difference is that you don’t have to move away from the game’s core content if you want to play alone. Each mission in Destiny adjusts its difficulty to the number of players who are challenging them, meaning that whether you play by yourself or with two other people, you’ll still experience the same amount of resistance.

One argument against Destiny has been its seemingly weak storyline. While I will not say I have completed the game in its current state yet, I can attest to the fact that Destiny is undoubtedly a bit ambiguous. There is a very clear nuance that has shown itself in this short time after Destiny’s release, and it can be seen in how the console gaming community has reacted to the unfinished plot. Thus far, the game has managed to succeed despite its bad press, but I believe that this negative outpouring is unfounded and unreasonable. 

It was made very clear throughout the game’s development that Destiny would be expanded upon for a long time after its release. PC gamers, who have had to deal with massively multiplayer games like World of Warcraft, Runescape, and Guild Wars know that the experience you buy into one day one is not the same as what you’d be buying three months later. Most of the time, the game’s actual ending is not even available to play on day one. This is why I hesitate to say I have actually “completed” the game. If the game follows the same schedule as most other massively multiplayer games, we won’t be able to actually finish the game for quite some time. I believe that there is a reason Destiny’s Season Pass, which gives players access to the game’s upcoming downloadable content, costs almost double the industry standard. While I sympathize with those gamers who had a different expectation for Destiny, I can’t help but think that this is a blessing in disguise. I finish my video games far too quickly, as I am sure many others do, it might help to look at your purchase as investment rather than a money sink.  

In today’s gaming environment, there are so many repetitious titles being thrown at us. If we crucify a game for stepping outside the box – and doing it well, no less – then maybe it should be our cross to bear. Bungie is trying very hard to craft an experience for us that evolves and gets better with time. We are trying to put Destiny on trial as an adult when it is only a juvenile, and by doing so, hampering its ability to mature. If nothing else, view Destiny as a stepping stone for both first-person shooters and massively multiplayer games. There is nothing but good that can come from genres borrowing from one another. If Destiny can inspire developers to keep trying to push the boundaries of game development, then that’s all the encouragement I need to stand behind its banner and keep pushing forward.

Editor's Note: Gameranx has an official Destiny review, where we gave the game a 5 out of 10.