How goes it with time in your life? I’m not going to tell you not to buy this fun, completely engaging game. I’m just going to say that its not going to be something you can simply pick up and put down while the rest of your life makes its demands of you. Umm, it’s kind of like taking on a second or third job, minus the remuneration.
Fundamentally speaking, it’s a non-stop action, sci-fi soap opera. Players begin with a kind of start-up skeleton of a basic character, which is then slowly, deliberately customized with multitudinous choices in weapons, armor, uniforms and helmets, all the way to cosmetic choices in ethnicity, skin, hair and beard. It’s almost like dressing GI Joe (or Action Man as we called him in England). A boy toy my old school Dad used to call a ‘Boy Dolly’, so it is definitely a role-playing adventure.
And then it is a massively multiplayer online game too, because wherever you go in Destiny—and you can go to Earth, the Moon, Venus, Mars and elsewhere in the solar system—you bump into other players having their own adventures. Merging three different genres into one cohesive experience is a technical achievement for Activision. You can focus on playing through just Destiny’s story missions, steadily unraveling its tale of humans-versus-aliens; or, you can team up with friends, or strangers you meet on the way, and try those missions together. Alternatively, you can team up with other players, reconnoitering each planet and encounter different incidents and various modes of combat while searching for and getting rewarded with all kinds of treasure and weaponry. If you really enjoy tussling with others there’s a section called the ‘Crucible,’ which carries a variety of shoot-em-up by-product games. There have been a lot of comparatives made to games like Battlefield 4 and Grand Theft Auto Online, but this baby is far superior with no technical difficulties.
Activion’s creators own an amazing eye for beauty, detail and ratio. The colonial air force docked above the rusted decrepitude of war-ravaged architecture, rusting auto wrecks, worn mountains and starry ink sky, are layered like a 25th century Hieronymous Bosch painting. The graphic attention to detail in a wholly imagined world is edgily gorgeous.
Set hundreds of years in the future, the premise is that you’re a ‘Guardian,’ which is a sort of mixed warrior/geographer and anthropologist, sent to piece together the truth of the mythic original ‘Traveler,’ a giant alien who befriended humanity before being put into a coma. Somehow you must retrace its history and then wake it up to save mankind. This part of the game relies on tropes from Game of Thrones as well as Tolkein’s The Hobbit. If you pick up on all this—and as I said you don’t have to—you’ll participate in scores of battles, fight ballet-dancing ‘Dregs,’ fight rocket wars with outsized Barons and Princes, and wage a ruthless war of attrition against a vicious army of children upset over a disappointing birthday bash.
Destiny offers up months of fun… if you commit to its vision. The Halo-style multiplayer modes are fast and exciting. Your armor, weapons and skills interconnect to create a truly holistic sense of individualization. Add that to the ’new content’ Activision have promised to offer down the line and you’ll ultimately surpass World of Warcraft’s supposed 50 hours of brilliance. Good stuff!
Destiny – Activision Games: PlayStation 3/PlayStation 4/Xbox 360/Xbox One – $59.99