Saturday, 13 September 2014

Destiny review

If I had to sum up my opinion of this game in one word I would need to reflect on all the inscrutable overcomplicated RPG metagame that has you mousing over builds and loadouts when you should be immersed in a mission, the complexification of a FPS through the unnecessary "show-boating" of special moves in a concentration disrupting temporary third-person perspective that should have been excised as a legacy cruft from its early development mythic fantasy adventure origins, or made the default perspective with scoped gunplay temporarily switching you into a first-person mode as in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (but definitely not both) or the MMO aspirations seriously undermined by a lack of opt-out proximity voice and an inabiity to find random people to Party Up with for a Strike within the game world rather than some external system menu - a lack of cohesion that curbs emergent play.

The game redeems itself with some informal cooperative free roam bounty hunting, but then ruins its developer's reputation with a PvP mode that either nerfs all your hard won loot, or lets overequipped opponents gank you in its hopelessly imbalanced Iron Banner tournament mode. It seems almost as if Bungie didn't know how to integrate PvE gear upgrades into PvP that was fair to everyone - when it is obvious to me that you don't nerf gear (or have some superfluous tournament mode) when you can just have your Guardian's Ghost transmat heavy ammo into your selected Shotgun, Sniper Rifle, or Rocket Launcher when you have achieved a killstreak that is in proportion to the devastating potential of its use.

The decision during development to make Shotguns and Sniper Rifles not be Heavy weapons, but Secondaries with limited ammo on respawn meant that all of the indoor areas encouraged ambushes and all the outdoor areas encouraged the patient camper, further depopulating the core of the map, who on retaliation found to their dismay that their shots did not cause these Snipers to descope!

Rather than give all enemies montrously thick health bars (and, often, recharging shields on top of that) with equally thick AI to balance out the encounter, Bungie should have got you to fight those that were a level below you whose behaviour was more spritely - as they danced away from your shots and made appropriate use of cover, while others split away from the frontlines attempting to flank you. I find it hard to believe these lethargic opponents came from the same studio that thirteen years ago breathed life into the Covenant and pathos into their deaths, even making me feel guilty for assassinating the dozing Grunts... I am genuinely mystified as to why Destiny's enemies and the game as a whole can be quite so dense.

6 / 10 

above average

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