Review: Destiny (PS3)

by

Destiny-PS4-LogoDeveloper: Bungie
Publisher: Activision
Platform: PS3 (Review Copy) | PS4 | Xbox 360 | Xbox One
Price: $59.99
Release Date: September 9, 2014

Destiny has been one of the most awaited games this year and for good reasons, one it’s Bungie, the acclaimed studio behind the highly popular Halo franchise. Known for creating awesome music and great universes within their games. The second is of course hype, for bad or worse, something really common in the current gaming industry. Sometimes hype is well deserved and sometimes it’s nothing but smoke and mirrors leading to a world of disappointment.
So how much of the hype surrounding Bungie’s new baby is real, does it truly deliver what the studio promised? We got the chance to play the game, so let’s find out!

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Story
Humanity was given the chance to explore and colonize new planets, thanks to a fateful encounter with the entity known as The Traveler, the moon, Mars, Venus, everything looked bright as humanity explored and inhabited the galaxy. Until everything came to an end when the darkness did strike, city after city, everything did fall.
One last human city remains, tall and proud as the last bastion, the last hope. Only the guardians are humanity last hope, they hold the power to fight and defeat the army of darkness, will humans survive or perish fighting?

Gameplay
Destiny is not your average First Person Shooter and is not your average MMO, it’s more or less a mix of both. At least it tries to be, at times it feels Destiny suffers an identity crisis and can’t decide which kind of game it is.
As a first person shooter the gameplay is really good, nice controls and feels similar to how Halo Reach played, which is not something bad. But the MMO mechanics barely scratch the surface of what it could be. It feels almost like a skeleton they can build upon.

If you played Borderlands you will feel in an almost familiar territory. The game takes elements from that title, farming and grinding, it’s a similar experience but not as well implemented.
What would be a regular loadout for your character was turned into abilities with cool downs, an example the grenades; Instead of picking grenades from enemy corpses, you get it as an ability that won’t let you spam to your wits, same goes for jet packs and others, each class with unique abilities. I like it and it feels balanced, adding to the challenge and strategy both for campaign and most especially multiplayer.

You get three playable classes, The Hunter for fans of sniper rifles and some nice melee features. Titan which is of course a tank, powerful and lethal if you dare to get close to them. Last but not least, we have The Warlock for a mix of fire weapons and energy attacks, it’s not as magical and mystical as the name suggests.

Among the MMOish features there is the tower, which serves as the player hub, there you can check mail which i sent as events unfold and challenges are completed (yep, no mail from other players, bummer!), Weapons dealer, Quartermaster for each class and crucible to obtain new pieces of armor for your characters. An item apraiser and some other NPC’s. Cool beans you said? Don’t get excited friends, is not as cool as it sounds.

Aside of challenges and farming there is not any real reason to replay the campaign, the story is not that good or memorable to do it, at some point it feels repetitive, especially your ghost. Hacking a system, opening a door.. i expected to see more interaction beyond a fancy door opener.

Where the game truly shines is multiplayer, The Crucible is amazingly fun, this is something Bungie excels at and they delivered a truly amazing matchmaking experience. With several game types including Control, classic deathmatch, Combined Arms, Rumble, Salvage and Skirmish.

You will find yourself matchmaking in mars, the moon, venus, earth and mercury. Also if you ask me, this is the best way to earn experience, level up fast and get some Crucible gears (including legendary items) while you have fun smashing skulls in multiplayer.

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Sound
The sound and soundtrack is of course top notch and of excellent quality, something to expect from Marty O’Donnell which is also responsible for the musical scores for the Halo games. Absolutely remarkable and worth listening to. The score match perfectly with the game atmosphere, when you are there in a dark tunnel hearing enemies lurking in the dark and when a boss approaches you can feel the upbeat music changing, then you know something is coming.

Graphics
Having played the game in the playstation 3 version i have to say, while graphics are not bad, this is not the strongest point of this version, but without a doubt it is one of the biggest weakest links of the game.
There is this blur, at times annoying to watch and sometimes not so perceptible, especially if you are trying to survive during a mission you won’t notice it that much. But when you are in the tower your character model, NPC’s and other things looks terrible, you will feel like saying “wow, this looks really bad!”. Believe me there is nothing wrong with your tv, console or settings, it’s the game.

With games such as Bioshock Infinite, Grand Theft Auto V or The Last of Us pushing last generation consoles to their limits by showing us crisp and impressive graphics, there’s no excuse to have a blur like this in the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 ports of Destiny.

With supposedly ten years in development, it’s truly hard to believe the graphics are not optimized for last generation consoles. It seems Bungie decided to downgrade next generation graphics for a not so nice blurfest, this is completely unacceptable.

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Downsides
Let’s talk about the skeleton again shall we? The RPG and MMO aspects of the game are far from perfect, this includes stuff people complained about in the alpha and beta, that’s it communication and getting a group for raids and what not. Why did Bungie ignore this, why was this not improved or implemented when the game was finally released?
The Tower is supposed to be a third person social space, this is far from truth. Sure you can inspect player gear, his/her profile, invite as a friend in PSN and from there see if you can party together. But this feels awkward and inefficient, you cannot talk to anybody, how is this a social space at all?

We can plug in an USB keyboard to our consoles, so why don’t you let us sit in the grass, chat and seek for people to join us in a mission, raid or party together in matchmaking? The Tower feels useless as a player hub, there’s no real interaction at all, everyone runs and does their own thing and ignore each other because it’s not really a social experience, not at all!

If you are unlucky and your friends are playing on a different console, let’s say you play PS3 and your friends PS4, good luck finding someone to team up. i can’t believe we have to resort to fan made websites to look for people to play with, this should be done in game, in the tower, the lack of a raid/group search tool ingame just goes to show Bungie’s inexperience in the RPG area. In a game like this it’s a must have.

Character creation is also weak, just bare bones. I Could not find enough options to have a really unique and cool looking character, even if you can’t watch your character face outside the tower, I expected much more, even Saints Row 3 did a much better job in this area.

The Grimoire, I can understand Bungie wanted us to interact with mobile devices and their own website, but why do I have to read about the storyline outside the game? This is far from immersive, doesn’t make me feel part of the game universe and enjoy it, as it should be. Plus, we have an already weak storyline compared to previous Bungie titles, so reading the story in a website does not help the game experience, it’s unepic. This may improve with the expansion packs, we can only hope.

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Overall
No questions asked, Destiny does not live to the hype Bungie created around the game, but is it a bad game? No it is not. The game does not offer an epic storyline and campaign replay value is not so great either. If you are looking for an immersive universe rich with RPG elements this title is not for you.

On the other hand the Multiplayer experience is excelsior. Extremely fun and I can see this is what will save Destiny from an awful short lifespan. If you enjoy matchmaking then Destiny is something you will be delighted with, most definitely the best this game has to offer.

I’m afraid I cannot recommend anyone to grab Destiny on an Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 for that blur, if you cannot afford an Xbox One or a PS4 and you really feel the urge to play it go for it, but the best experience will be delivered on said consoles and not the last generation.

Because of that I decided to give Destiny an 7.3 out of 10.

Pros:
– Incredible Multiplayer
– Solid Gameplay
– High quality Soundtrack
– Peter Dinklage, whoop whoop!

Cons:
– Weak storyline
– No real social experience
– Looks bad on last generation consoles.