After months of agonising hype, Destiny has finally landed on store shelves. As launch day comes to an end we have shot, stabbed, obliterated and danced our way through around five hours of this meaty game. What little morsels we have played seem only to indicate this: Destiny is a fantastic game. Every mission, every loot drop, every stunning vista has left us salivating for more. Destiny has so far proven itself as nothing but an intoxicating exercise in design proficiency.
Bungie have ticked almost every box. Graphics rival that of any other next-gen release, an impressive feat for an MMO. What truly makes Destiny stand out visually, however, is its stunning art style. Light cascades boldly upon vibrant colour-packed environments to create immense scenery. Slick menus ensure traversing Destiny’s involved equipment systems is a breeze. Exploring new environments to find the best weapons and armour is genuinely thrilling.
We would of course be lying if we said we hadn’t played Destiny before. Like many Sony and Microsoft fans, we took part in the September beta. As a result, the overwhelming majority of what we played today consisted of familiar haunts. By virtue some of the game’s major tenets were lost on us. We had already taken the breadth of Destiny’s unique weaponry for a spin, already explored many depths of Old Russia. Yet, the finished product’s identical opening hours still left us drooling once more like rabid dogs. Rest assured: Destiny is not a game which values style over substance. Forget big budgets and fancy graphics, at the heart of Destiny lays mechanical excellence. Gameplay is fast, smooth, pure adrenaline.
We have always had trouble adjusting to RPG shooters like the Borderlands series because, especially early in the game, weapons feel completely underpowered. Bullets look more like pebbles as they buff the armour of bruiser after bruiser. Inversely, Bungie have infused attacks with a remarkable amount of weight. Witnessing enemies fall apart in the wake of bullets and knives feels immensely satisfying. Destiny is a champion of balance. Even the toughest bosses feel like they are only a shield and a few good headshots short of obliteration.
While we did experience one connection loss which booted us back to the start screen, an otherwise impeccable connection seems to indicate the problem was on our end. While the setup is indeed intriguing, seven story missions deep the plot is yet to grab us. Peter Dinklage’s performance is once more disappointing. A robotic echo has done little to spice up flat delivery. Resting the forward propulsion of the story almost solely upon the seasoned actor’s shoulders seems to be one of Bungie’s only missteps.
Aside from minor story grievances there seems to be very little bad to be said about Destiny. On day one the ambitious title stands tall. Yet Destiny’s overall success is still very much up in the air. Only time will tell if Bungie can continue to perform to the high precedent for setting and pacing they have so far set. A game-breaking bug could be just around the corner. Bungie’s pedigree for polish might not be enough to tame this huge title. Nevertheless, there already seems to be much for a dedicated community to latch on to. Right now it’s hard not to see Destiny’s servers being packed for years to come.