Destiny is bound to be one of the most divisive triple A games to be released in recent memory. As a technical accomplishment, there is no doubt at all that it is immensely impressive, but with a very unusual structure to the game and what I believe to be one of the biggest marketing mistakes Bungie could have made, it’s easy to see how many people could feel bemused or even let down after spending a bit of time with the game. Despite this though, I have found Destiny to be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable shooter experiences I have had in a long time, one I hope will stick around a long time.
The first thing most people will presumably do with their time in Destiny is play through the story missions available, which will introduce you to the mechanics of the game and unlock new equipment as you progress. The shooting mechanics in Destiny are phenomenal, with each gun feeling enjoyable to use whilst toting its own distinct feel, and with the enemies being consistently entertaining in each engagement. Players have three different slots, a primary weapon, a special weapon and a heavy weapon. The player equips a weapon to each of these slots, choosing between a rocket launcher or heavy machine gun for their heavy weapon and a number more to select from in the other two categories. This allows players to essentially build their own load-outs unlike many other online shooters that rely more on a set category system. You can change your equipped items at any time but for certain weapons, there is a small penalty for changing in the middle of the game, with a loss of ammo that will have to be regained before the newly equipped weapon can be used.
Beyond this introduction to mechanic, the story missions become a bit unusual. They clearly serve the purpose of gradually unlocking content in the game, but alone, the story missions themselves feel slightly lacking. The majority of the narrative for the game is told in small pieces of dialogue heard before starting a mission, or relayed in very small parts by the players AI companion, Ghost, during missions. The dialogue is quite often obscure and at times even outright evasive when it comes to giving context to the actions you are doing. More often than not you will play the majority of missions with little idea of what the real goal is.
There are a very small few cutscenes that are beautifully produced and hint at a much more engaging narrative, but these are very few in number and most of the plot points are resolved very quickly or left open ended, presumably to be explored in further expansions on the game. This does leave the story missions with an air of disappointment and an unfinished quality. They take you to a number of wonderful locations, and contain a small number of very enjoyable standout moments, but little seems to be effected by your progress. By completing the missions the only notable difference made is to your character, with everything else in the world remaining exactly as it was before you ever set off to do any of the missions. It would be quite easy to enjoy Destiny without ever completing the story missions and most likely your experience would be largely the same.
Luckily, the real enjoyment in Destiny comes outside of the story missions. First and most obviously is the Crucible, the name given to the competitive multiplayer suite Destiny has to offer. Currently the game modes on offer are fairly standard, but each is very well crafted and takes place on a descent number of maps that offer plenty of variety. The equipment and skills you unlock is consistent between all game modes, making the competitive multiplayer feel much less divided from the rest of the game than you typically see in shooters. Matches in the Crucible will continue to level your character and unlock new equipment, so however you spend your time in game, you will always feel like you are progressing your character.