Since its release for the Xbox One, I have played the new Destiny Beta at every opportunity because I am still unsure if it is worth buying. You would think that after Bungie created one of my favorite video game series of all time, Halo, that I would trust their creativity and upcoming video games, but that is not the case with Destiny. After over eight hours of playtime, I still harbor some doubts. I wanted to share my positive and negative opinions about Destiny. Again, this is only the beta.
Destiny functions like an Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) video game and gives nods to some of the great games that have come before it. Bungie can deny this all they want, but I intend to present evidence to prove this otherwise. Destiny is being compared to other video games, but that is not necessarily troublesome. Before I start, you need to know a little background about the Destiny beta. There are currently two places where you can explore: the Tower and Earth. The Tower is a wonderful “one-stop-shop” for all your needs, while all of your missions play out on Earth. Additionally, there was a special event that included one more mission available on the Moon for two hours on July 26 which added more gameplay.
The Halo Feeling
This game looks and acts like the Halo franchise that put Bungie on the map. The aesthetics are incredible. I love the environments and character visualizations. I do wish that we were able to see our face without a helmet when we travel to Earth, but that is not my primary concern. The problem is that I view Destiny as Halo, and I do not think I am supposed to do that. There are too many similarities that make it hard to differentiate the two. On one hand, Destiny has the potential to become as successful as the Halo franchise, but, in my opinion, this could be far out of its “Reach” (Halo pun intended). I understand that Bungie has said that this game is not Halo, but the striking resemblances imply otherwise. While playing the beta, I noticed one weapon that reminds me of Halo: the shotgun. (Not that it is a bad thing, since the shotgun in Halo was brilliant.)
Call of Duty and Borderlands Livelihood
Like it or not, Destiny gameplay reminds me of Call of Duty, while the exploration, loot and weaponry remind me of Borderlands. First, take a look at this clip that I captured from the beta:
See anything similar to Call of Duty? If I wanted to, I could literally play this game like the Call of Duty franchise where I aim down my sights too often, wait for enemies to appear and either hold down the trigger or shoot in bursts. Call of Duty did not invent this type of gameplay, but with the weapon sights in Destiny, it reminds me a lot like Call of Duty. Hopefully, this will not be the only way I play since the powers in Destiny are pretty great.
For my next clip, watch how easy it is to pick off some of these enemies:
This is me nitpicking, but it does still bother me. I remember when I played Borderlands and pulled off easy kills like this. It was not a major problem, but it did get boring after awhile. I could say the same thing about Halo, but that game was not based on the characters level. Destiny and Borderlands have the same mechanics that end up being mundane after hours of playing. In all honesty, Destiny is what I wanted Borderlands to become, but that did not happen. Instead of considering Destiny at face value, I feel the need to compare the two, which could make it difficult for me to purchase this game.
Loot, Loot and More Loot
The loot in Destiny reminds me of Borderlands, but instead, I would rather compare it to the Diablo franchise. I love loot. It is addicting and fun. When I was exploring in Destiny for fun and finding chests, I was fascinated. I never knew what I would find. Because this is the beta, most of the players are still a low level, so most of the weapons, armor and loot were unusable, but it was still fun. I like how the game will have normal, uncommon and rare items. Also, I had to identify some loot at the Tower before the stats for the loot were revealed to me, like how it is in Diablo, which makes the loot even more of a mystery. One thing that was upsetting about the Destiny beta was the fact I cannot trade loot with another player, but I read online they are working on making this a possibility.
I absolutely love the Hover Bikes. Here is a clip of me driving one around “Earth”:
It is fast and very easy to control. Plus, I hated all the running I had to do in Borderlands. Once the “Moon” was open on the Destiny beta, I was able to try out the other Hover Bike that had weaponry. I really hope there are more types of bikes because it is really fun and useful to move around so easily. The Tower is another great area. Instead of doing everything in menus, I had a place where I set up shop to purchase new items and ships, identify loot, dye my armor, and more. It takes a little getting used to, but overall, I like this. Another thing I am excited about is some of the weapons. For instance, the Semi-Auto Rifle feels great and shoots incredibly well from a long distances, but my favorite weapon is the Fusion gun. This thing packs a punch and can disintegrate enemies. The first time I used it, I was amazed. Here is a clip of me using the Fusion gun:
Negativity for Nancy
This is not deal breaker, but I felt like the character customization was lacking. Compared to the insanely detailed customization available in Wildstar, I realize how limited I was when creating my Warlock in Destiny. I made a pretty cool cat (he looks just like Cable from the comics), but I wish I could have done more. Another troubling aspect of the Destiny beta was the incredibly slow loading time between missions and going to the Tower. Load times need to be fixed by launch. I am sure they will not be as long as they were in the beta, but really, waiting for a level to load usually took a few minutes which threw off the pacing. The troubles do not end here…
Questing like World of Warcraft
One scary thought came to my mind: Destiny is just like World of Warcraft. The questing upon questing could easily overshadow any interest I have in my other games, which does not make this game very appealing to me. I am not a fan of MMOs and never have been keen on the endless questing. If I was to buy this game, I would lose interest quickly like I did with World of Warcraft. However, if MMOs are your favorite style of game, then the Destiny beta might be right for you.
Call Me Guardian
My biggest issue with this game is being a nobody in the wide world of Destiny. I was called a “Guardian.” Everyone in the entire game is called a “Guardian.” I want a name. At least in Halo, I was called Chief or Master Chief which made me feel like someone important. In Destiny, I feel so disconnected from my character that there is nothing to distinguish me from any of the other players. One of the best parts about playing an MMO is being an individual with a real connection to the character, and Non-Playing Characters (NPCs) call players by their screen name. I would be happy even if they made me choose from a list of names, but I feel like “Guardian” is just a title and my character is just a character. I have no attachment like I did in other games similar to Destiny.
I believe this game will be a big deal when it releases, but it may not be right for me. It has lots of positives, but I am still on the fence. There are some great things that this game hits, however it misses opportunities for me. I will say this, if you set up attacks, they make for some really amazing scenes and excellent gameplay. I will leave you with one more clip that made me really want to buy this game. When you get into firefights like the one I show below, the game feels refreshing and fun. Bungie is creating a Destiny that I might want to be a part of.