Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Destiny Review, Thoughts + Impressions

So it's been roughly 3+ weeks after Destiny launched and its been the only game I've been playing. I was going to write about my thoughts earlier but I didn't want to do it before checking out the infamous Raid.

I'll be discussing several distinct modes and my thoughts about them. I don't think I've ever played a game this fun and found so disappointing at the same time. The core gameplay is excellent and lots of fun but the rest can be hit or miss. Let's discuss them...


Story - What story? It's nothing more than a bunch of random words and terms mixed in with some cutscenes. The "story" doesn't exist. We get some background to the world and some lore but there's no cohesive plot or narrative. It simply doesn't exist. This was pretty disappointing considering how much they built up the world from the prologue. 

What's even more annoying about this world is that NONE of the NPCs in the Tower has any meaningful dialogue with you. They don't introduce themselves and don't even bother having a single line to give you a larger sense of the world. Bungie should've allowed you to have a dialogue tree to learn more about this world and make the Tower seem more alive. It's nothing more than a hub with some vendors. It's so lifeless and no one has any personality. What a missed opportunity.

But because the world gives you zero info about the world, you're required to earn Grimoire cards that give you background information to enemies, items and locations instead. But earning these cards is tedious and having to read them through Bungie's website or companion app is laborious. The interface is so tedious. You're forced to dig through them to read each one at a time. Who thought this was a good idea? Why couldn't they offer this info in the game? Why didn't they include a terminal or codex in the game instead? It's baffling that Bungie did this.

Anyway, the "story" sucks and it should not be the reason you're playing this game. The Story missions are nothing more than tutorials and a way for you to level up to get to the other modes which are the real game.

Patrol - Basically free roam mode for people who want to grind or farm for things.  Nothing interesting in this mode unless you want to play some Public Events with people or enjoy checking out the graphics.

Crucible - This is basically the PVP mode. You get the standard deathmatch mode and some other modes with some twists but they're all pretty similar. It's either 6v6 or 3v3. This mode is a lot of fun and it's where people can definitely play the game for long stretches. I've had a lot of fun with a good team and killing guys is always satisfying when you do well. I'm not a fan of some weapons and supers because they seem overpowered. FU FUSION RIFLES! They also need more maps and I'll expect it in future expansions. Most of the maps are fine except for Bastion and First Light. Horrible horrible maps that should be excised from this mode, stat.

Strikes - These are basically the same levels from the Story except rejiggered to be like dungeons. But there isn't a lot of difference. They can be fun if you have a team of friends but still doable with random people. They can be fun or super frustrating depending on your level and difficulty you choose. I've had some good fun but there isn't enough of them and they get old super fast. The only reason to grind through them is for the loot and other rewards they offer. I'm hoping for a lot more variety of new Strike missions in the future because I'm frankly bored by them now.

Raid - Ah yes, the mode to end all other modes in this game. This was a breath of fresh air after the monotony and grind of the rest of the game. You need to be level 26 just to participate and it's a challenge on Normal even with a higher level Guardian. This mode doesn't allow matchmaking so you're basically forced to team up with friends or people from the Internet who want to participate. It's a hassle getting people together and while I understand Bungie's logic for this, they should've allowed a low level version with randoms. I don't understand why this mode was locked away for 99% of the players out there. It's tough but once players reach close to level 29 or 30 in the future, the Normal mode shouldn't be a huge problem for players especially Raid vets who simply want to replay through it for the Raid exclusive loot.

So what is it? It's basically a long dungeon with several unique areas and enemies/bosses you won't find anywhere else in the game. The game has several surprises and traps to screw with players. They were devious and entertaining to solve. It boggles my mind that nothing similar to this dungeon design was in the main game. It's much more cohesive and felt like a lot like the designers put a lot of effort into it. There's a really great feeling when you beat a tough area with a bunch of people working together. It's a feeling that only a specific amount of Strikes can even compare to. You really learn to bond with your crew.

My main gripe with Raid is how damn buggy/glitch it is. The final boss part in particular had a lot of glitchiness that caused death and frustration. That section was hard enough as it was and having to deal with random bugs made it irritating. It's so buggy and repeatable that people are actually compiling a list of what to do to avoid them. Bungie, fix it!

I also want to give a few tips regarding the Raid if you're interested in trying it out:

1) Get together with friends or people online who you can rely on. People dropping out can be deadly so try to form a good posse with whoever you can.

2) Try to get one or two people minimum who are Raid vets. While it may seem fun to go in blind as a group, having a few people know what to do or know the strategy to beating a boss is much better. It doesn't ruin the experience and you have a guide who can help you with not only the bosses but also finding the hidden chests. FOR THE LOOT!

3) Mic is not 100% required if there are a few guys already talking. I played through the entire Normal Raid without a mic and it was fine. Just have a plan ready beforehand and do your role and you'll be fine. Heroic Raid on the other hand got me to finally use my mic. But if you know what to do, you can go mic-free for that as well.

4) Look up strategy guides or walkthroughs beforehand. Sometimes people aren't able to clearly explain what to do or what they want you to do so it's highly recommended you check out guides or video walkthroughs for a tough section if possible. This is especially true if you're a noob who jumped into a random part to help out a friend. It'll kill long-winded explanations and confusion.

5) Take breaks. It's fun and challenging trying to do the entire Raid in one session but by the time you reach the end, your crew might be fatigued or need a break especially if you had to retry a lot in one section. If you're team leader, try to allow some breaks after tough sections. The checkpoints were given for a reason.

6) Finally, make sure you're leveled and equipped for it. While the lowest level allowed is 26, it's best to go in with 27 and 28s. Try to max out all your guns that you use the most often. Also try to upgrade your armor and abilities as much as possible as well. They make a big difference in your survival and ability to dish damage. Legendaries/Exotics are a must.

Hopefully some of those tips help you guys out.

Overall, Destiny is a really fun gorgeous game with awesome gunplay but the mission/level designs were lackluster and pretty bland aside from the Raid. The lack of a coherent story/plot and small amount of Strike missions were incredibly disappointing. There just doesn't seem to be enough content as it is right now for me to recommend a purchase to people. Expansion packs and other DLC have been announced and I hope they're worth it. I DO recommend getting the soundtrack though. The music is fantastic and one of the best OSTs this year.

So yea, it's weird how much I enjoyed the game these past 3+ weeks but I'm also incredibly frustrated with the bone-headed decisions and lack of content in the final game. I'm hoping the game has legs because they're pretty short right now. Personally, I'll stick with it for now because I'm still hooked to certain aspects of the game.