“I don’t think it will work. I just can’t see it standing the test of time.” That was then.
In the beginning, I was living in the Dark Ages. Barely surviving on games of a bygone era (Lego: Lord of the Rings; Puzzle Quest 2; Halo: Reach…) and then out of the darkness, a great light was borne, and the Traveler embraced me with his (or her..plot twist?!) light.
My first taste of Destiny was the open Beta. I played it on Xbox 360 and slavishly, I oohed and ahhed at the right moments. Marveled at the Gameplay; the weight of the guns and the seemingly endless possibilities.
And then Beta weekend passed and the gaming horizon for me faded back to grey. I was left missing a game that was just oozing potential. A game that was begging to be played. I let it pass from my mind and turned back to the other games that had been holding my fickle attention.
And then it dropped out of orbit. Destiny was here and it was all hype and bluster with people proclaiming their undying love for the whole game from the rooftops. The issue for me? All my excitement had kind of died with the Beta, I was feeling a bit meh about the whole thing. It was almost as if I felt like I had seen all I had to see of the game.
This was only made worse when the reviews started rolling out, with most sites aiming at mediocre scores. Where was the generation redefining game that we had been promised? Where was the revolution in gaming that was so desperately needed? According to a lot of reviewers, nowhere in sight.
One of my best mates, and a fellow Gaming Amigo, xxGRIMWARxx, desperately tried to convince me that I was missing out, that I had got it all wrong. I was fervent in my condemnation of the game. I was so sure this was not the game for me. I was 100% convinced that I would not miss this game passing me by.
And then almost as if the God’s themselves had intervened, I was handed a Golden Ticket (in the form of an award and subsequent gift voucher…) and what better way to spend a Golden Ticket than on an adventure of a lifetime. I opted for the digital download version on the Xbox 360 (I’m yet to upgrade to an XBONE, but the upgrade deal was too good to turn down.) Then it began, the 6.75GB download. I waited, periodically checking on the game download, pacing in and out of the room like an expectant Father (I’ve got a beautiful daughter and I know what the slow anticipation does to a man…). Then Huzzah! it had finished downloading. The bar flashed up “Destiny successfully downloaded”.
I couldn’t wait. I can’t explain the euphoria, but I was so ready. This was it. Browse to the Games Tile, Open My Games, Open Destiny and there it is…the Bungie logo and here it comes…
Wait, what? A patch. Are you f*cking kidding me. It’s already 9pm. The little one is in bed. Eastenders is perilously close to finishing meaning my Fiancee is close to asking me to engage in meaningful conversation about who killed someone or something or other. I have to get up to go to work at 6am tomorrow morning. You son of a b*tch, Bungie.
40 minutes later – I’m in, this is it! The patch is done, I’m ready to kick some Fallen ass! Here it comes…and then the sense of deflation struck like a dutch oven on a Sunday morning. I had played this game. I had lavished a whole weekend on a game that didn’t look so different to this thing I was playing. It was a sense of wanting that pizza to turn up from the delivery place for over an hour just to find they didn’t put the extra anchovies on. It was disappointing to say the least.
Yet something was tugging at my strings, willing me to play on. Each mission I cleared, didn’t bring any satisfaction in those early formative days. I rolled from mission to mission and eventually on to the Earth Strike without so much as batting an eyelid at the ceaseless slaughter of my enemies and my seemingly unstoppable power. I picked up new weapons, new armour, a couple of shaders. Meh, my mind told me, You’ve done this in other games. Remember the Golden Rocket Launcher?! Remember…
And then it kind of hit me like a ton of bricks. It is the similarities of Destiny that set it apart from the other games in the genre. The Halo-esque combat is now refined, feels more weighty and solid, but retains that fluid motion of endless tide of destruction. The weapon and armour unlocks are like a mix up of Borderlands and Call of Duty, but the range is far different. The range of weapons far outclasses that of COD but it can’t come close to Borderlands, but in a strange way, that’s what makes it so perfect. I LOVED both of those games, but Destiny explores the genre in so many different ways. You have randomized loot which has endless possibilities (see where I’m going here…) coupled with an upgrade system that is solid and ever changing the way I play.
But the real masterstroke of Destiny lies away from the game. As strange as it sounds, there is something I (personally) find more invigorating and exciting that killing the Alien scum – Grimoire Cards. I LOVE CARD COLLECTING. I have always owned at least 100+ Pokemon Cards from any given generation and have a mean Black/White combo deck for Magic: The Gathering. But that’s not why were here.
I’ll put some perspective on this – it’s 5:30pm, the Office lights are off, everyone has gone home and I’m sitting here reading the backs of the Grimoire Cards I have unlocked and collected in the game. I’m only 19 Shank kills away from unlocking the Glimmer bonus for that enemy. I can’t wait to get home tonight and satisfy my hunger to complete that mission I have set myself.
I’m reading about Aksor, Archon Priest and the story and the lore is beginning to fit together. It all kind of makes sense to me why Bungie set things up like this. I probably speak as the minority here, but I have really enjoyed browsing through the lore collection found on the Grimoire Cards. It has fleshed out the game and given it some more meaning and expanded the literary universe, without having to add hours of dialogue to the game which , in my humble opinion, would have made the game feel bloated and sluggish. It’s fast paced, drop in, drop out game play, and it’s here to stay.
Whilst writing this article, I’ve now hit Level 20 with my Human Hunter and I have to say that the end game is really not what I expected it to be. The opening of the “Strike Playlist” has helped to slake my thirst for challenge. That is coupled with my ability to be able to take on the higher level “Daily Story Challenge” and the “Weekly Nightfall Strikes”, which has returned some pretty cool (as well as some pretty useless) loot. But this cycle of rinse/repeat is strangely what keeps me coming back for more. I am now actually viable to compete in events such as The Queens Wrath and The Iron Banner playlists in the Crucible. Hitting Level 20 has changed the dynamic of the game and I love it.
I don’t know what more I can say, other than, this game has swept me off my feet in a way I never imagined it would. If you are still on the fence, I say give it a go. The worst that can happen is that you fall in love like I did.
Before I sign off though, one YouTube video (by the indomitable FlashGitz) about Destiny still makes me die with laughter because of the well…you’ll see…(P.S. NSFW!!!!)