Destiny Review

Monday, September 15, 2014 | 12:04 AM | by

I have played a week's worth of Destiny. I am not master of all things Guardian, but I think I get the gist of it. I enjoy the act of playing Destiny, let's establish that right up front. If I sit down and fire up the PS4, I'm not upset if an hour or two of my evening disappears to Destiny.

However, I also feel like the game has a bit of an identity crisis. It's a shooter... but is missing a lot of social (easy chat) and competive (ANY multiplayer options) features commonly found in modern shooters.

Is it an MMO? Kind of... but again, it's nowhere near deep enough to wear that moniker alongside other, true MMOs.

So overall, something was bugging me about the game, and after a week with it, I think I've narrowed it down. It's the loot.

Destiny doles out loot like an MMO. Which is to say (at least in my experience), slowly. If I play for an hour or two (regular play, missions, not grinding a single respawn), I typically end my session with maybe one or two green or blue drops (your mileage may vary). The chance that those couple of items will be the weapon type I want, or an upgrade to what I have, are slim.

That's about what I'd expect from a similar jaunt in an MMO. A dungeon run or what have you.

Except in an MMO, I'm also getting enjoyment from a complexity of combat. A variety of abilities to manage and execute. Bosses with varied mechanics and working to fulfill my role in a group of people.

Destiny doesn't offer that. It's a shooter, and by its very nature, it's repetitive, grindy, and a little mindless. Shoot, dodge, reload, shoot. Boss fights are varied only in how much health the boss has, and how many waves of minions they throw at you. I have a couple of guns, one special move. And if I'm playing with other people, let's be honest, my class doesn't mean shit. Nobody is running around Destiny right now saying "Looking for a Defender specced Titan!"

That's not bad thing, in and of itself. Both Diablo and Borderlands offer a similar gameplay style; repetitive, and grindy, yet fun. The difference is, both of those games absolutely shower you with loot for your efforts. The loot keeps you coming back long after the gamplay mechanics have grown stale. And there's probably the same small chance that any of it will be an upgrade, but the fun is in the possibility that there's an upgrade just around the corner. Receiving a ton of loot to sort through only feeds that hunger, that desire to do one more area, and fill up your sack with shinies one more time.

Destiny is a game that seems to ask us to stick with it for the long term, and yet offers neither the complex play variations of an MMO, a compelling loot-central focus, or a real competition-worthy PVP aspect.

So while I enjoy the game right now, I'm struggling to imagine why I'd be playing Destiny a month from now. I'm open to being enlightened this week when they release their first "raid," but I think it's going to need to be something uniquely special to keep me coming back week after week just for that. 

Right now, I expect I'll play it until something new and shiny comes out. Shadows of Mordor or whatever.