Destiny review roundup

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The PS4 beta version of Bungie’s space-based online shooter Destiny didn’t exactly blow away Tech Digest editor James when he gave it a shot back in July.

destiny-video-game

But the finished game was let loose on the public this week – early word says that it’s already made distributor Activision more than $500 million in sales to retailers – and the reviews have been generally more positive … with the odd reservation or two.

And the biggest reservation is that depsite all the hype, and that it looks absolutely stunning, the game is more conservative than revolutionary

Destiny is a futuristic massively-multiplayer online sci-fi shooter, with RPG elements,  from the creator of Halo and the publisher of Call of Duty.

The Guardian’s Keith Stuart says Bungie has clearly done a lot of research to build its fiction, and that the Destiny world is a rich amalgam of myths and fantasy tropes, but the brilliant infrastructure hides a conservative game design.

“There is something missing at the heart of it all … its narrative, its emotional throughline, is as cold as the hull of a spacecraft.”

Den of Geek’s Aaron Birch says that Destiny is one of the most hyped games he has seen for some time, partly because it’s Bungie’s first game since Halo.

“Because of this, many are wondering whether the hype was warranted. I’d have to say, for the most part, and despite some surprising missteps by Bungie, Destiny does hit its targets, and it’s a great game, but the hype has also damaged it,” he says.

“Destiny has been billed as a revolutionary and unique, new breed of FPS, and while in some ways Bungie has produced a unique game, it still feels very much like a traditional shooter, with MMO elements bolted on. The FPS/RPG hybrid is nothing new, and although an FPS MMO is still pretty different, Destiny simply isn’t as open or large enough to really please hardcore MMO fans.”

Over at TechLife Australia, Shaun Prescott says that if you love cooperative shooters, RPGs and MMOs, dancing and Halo, you’ll get a great deal out of Destiny.

“In addition to the story offerings (which amount to about 12 hours, give or take) the patrol missions, strikes and post-game raids will keep you busy for a long time,” he says.

“There’s also no doubt Bungie will support the game with DLC for a long time. Whether you choose to stick around or not will depend on whether you have any friends to play with, but given how much Activision has foregrounded the social nature of Destiny, that’s no bad thing.

“It’s just a disappointment that Destiny is so lacking in charisma, and it’s also disappointing that the game doesn’t live up to the marketing. Contrary to all the talk, Destiny is a conservative MMO shooter with high budget art direction. It could hardly be described as ambitious in terms of what it offers to the medium as a whole.”

Metro’s David Jenkins was disheartened by the game, saying that it lacks ambition.

“Destiny is a disappointment. There are plenty of ways to sugar coat that fact, the most obvious by pointing out that it is still a good game in its own right, but despite its many positives Destiny is not some great step forward in video game design or technology. What it does it does well, but it’s discouraging just how obvious its lack of ambition and variety becomes.”

Phill Cameron at the Daily Telegraph says that Destiny is an odd beast: “An odd beast that’s the biggest game launch of the year.”

But he is defintiely a fan of the game: “Destiny is good,” he says. “It is an FPS that works on a fundamentally pleasing level, throwing just enough at you so that you don’t feel relaxed, but not enough to overwhelm, most of the time.”

Edward Smith at the International Business Times is also quite a fan.

“I love Destiny,” he says. “It’s somehow managed to bypass the cynical, suspicious-of-AAA, fed up with standard game design part of my brain and plug into a tiny, flickering synapse somewhere that still gets off on finding loot and collecting points.

“I don’t know how it’s happened – maybe it’s because, on PS4, Destiny looks incredible – but this game has got to me. I can see all of it’s little ploys in action, all that grubby meat and potatoes design, just trying to drag me in for one more hour, but I don’t care.

“It’s beaten me. I just want to play it.”

Have you played Destiny yet, either the beta version or the final release? If so, please give us your thoughts in the comments below.

Stuart O’Connor