Friday, 19 September 2014

Destiny: PS4 Review

Destiny: PS4 Review

Released by Bungie / Activision
Platform: PS4

I've been playing Destiny for over a week now, and I still don't think I'm yet in a position to fully review it, given how much it keeps changing.

Because of the sheer fact that a large percentage of the game isn't the same each time I throw on the PS4 and fire up my weapons. But let's not get ahead of ourselves just yet.

In case you've been living under a rock, Destiny is the sci-fi first person shooter cum multiplayer that's already shifted a half billion worldwide and has got many raving.  In it, you are a mythical Guardian in a post apocalyptic world that's seen the human race spread out across the stars. But the good times have ended, a Traveller orb is now protecting you and the planet you inhabit. And despite promises of the light, the Darkness is coming and it's up to you to try and stop it. With the help of a floating cuboid robot called a Ghost (voiced by Game of Thrones' Peter Dinklage), you set out on various missions to try and fend off the forces of evil and set nature back in balance.

Blending the mythic with the multiplayer, I have to admit Destiny is the first game of its ilk that I've actually found sat well within my gaming prowess (I've never played Halo, though I'm aware of some of its similarities with this title).

Through various missions, various power ups and a lot of ammo and baddies, this FPS is the first game that actually felt like it improved the further through the rankings you go. Beginning with the early missions and lower end weapons, your Guardian is pretty much muddling about trying to survive, but with careful progressions and accuracy, more weapons and gadgets open up for use as you begin to level up. The Destiny I started playing is not the same Destiny I'm playing now - which is a fascinating concept in many ways as the game adapts and changes.

Choosing either Warlock, Hunter or Titans, once you've customised your player, it's into the foray of the worlds you go. And make no mistake, Destiny is beautifully recreated; landscapes and vistas feel so beautifully put together, a mix of the epic and the painted, there's no denying the look of this game in any shape or form. That beauty translates to the action as well, with foes seeming well-defined, crystal clear and free from blockiness when they're part of a mass hoard charging toward you with the intention of ripping you apart. Equally the cut scenes (complete with their sci-fi pompous language and po-faced mythology) are truly impressive, with some great voice work and a feeling of epic

But not all of Destiny is smooth sailing. There have been moments when the servers at Bungie's end have just dropped out (which is extremely frustrating during a mission to drop all that XP and found goodies); and occasionally, the repetitive nature of the missions starts to drag a little - go to this planet, find something, defend it from the bad guys, head to end of level for more shooting - and there's an inability to fully interact at the Tower level (the so-called social hub) which bustles with life, but curiously very little sound - short of dancing and waving to others, there's no way that I've yet found to engage with the other players.

But it's in the multi-player that Destiny starts to come alive in a real social sense.

As well as public events which crop up in the middle of the game and give you a chance to compete for XP or weaponry, there's the destination of the Crucible which is where your opportunity to flex your muscles against others becomes reality.

It's here that the game gives you a degree of fun and frustration - 3 on 3 events, 6 on 6 events see you pitted against others; usually, they have a higher rating than you which makes it occasionally difficult when you're shot to pieces before you've even started, but it's in the team element that Destiny starts to rise above its frustrations as working together to steal a flag or simply shoot each other proves utterly addictive.

With other challenges opening up after you hit a certain level and with Bungie creating new missions to those who rise to the challenge (a new batch of hostiles has just dropped this week), it's clear that Destiny is set to continue growing and will prove to be an enduring title. Having already scooped a half-billion worldwide in sales, there's no denying its power. And while parts of the game feel familiar, the accessibility of this FPS title and the rewards it offers now and in the future go a long way to making this Destiny feel inevitable.


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