Recently Bungie took the relatively bold step to cancel the third and final stream advertising various aspects of the upcoming DLC Curse of Osiris. Instead of this stream they opted to put the minds of the community to rest by speaking on several key topics that have been extensively requested over the 3 months since Destiny 2 released. I want to talk about my problem with how they are releasing all of the changes they detailed.
In their blog post detailing all of the changes we can expect to see in the update on December 5th, 12th and “early” next year they impressed upon their readers that this was the start of the conversation between the community and Bungie about the direction the game will be taking from now on. This is good new; isn’t it? On paper yes I think this is good news, my problem lies with the fact that firstly we are three months into the life cycle of the game, how can this conversation only just be starting? Secondly we are now in the fourth year of the journey of Destiny, the problems that a lot of the community have, were created in Destiny 2, where they were’t present in Year 3 of Destiny 1, such as repeating end game and enjoyable Strike Playlist to name two. I don’t want to go off the point too much, as this topic of game system regressions is one that I could spend all too much time ranting about, so I digress. Let us then embrace the fact that they are starting this conversation at all, and ignore the fact that they are far to late to this party. My main issue with their blog post is that it is just too big. Let me explain.
Ever since the launch of Destiny 2 on September 6th, there have been a total of 10 hot fix patches released for the game, these fixed nothing more than bugs such as emotes allowing access to unintended places. There was a “proper” update for the game released on September 25th which contained the Faction Rally event, which as many players will attest, held little reason to return to the game if you had already moved away from it. Back to my point that the blog post was too big, there are 10 major new additions or tweaks to the game announced, ranging from the new Masterwork system for weapons, to purchasing Legendary Engrams for Legendary Shards. There was a very exiting list of additions that will hopefully be the start of the road towards making the game that Destiny 2 arguably should and could be. My problem is that this is a veritable avalanche of highly requested features that will be dumped upon the heads of players in one go, after receiving nought from Bungie for three whole months. Taking aside the fact that these features would have been very welcome when the game launched, why couldn’t Bungie have drip fed these changes to us over the last three months? The community is complaining about set rolls on all weapons? The next This Week at Bungie(TWAB) should have roughly outlined the Masterwork system they were working on, and said they would be able to deliver it within the next few weeks. Next week people are crying out for different things to spend their Legendary Marks on, the ensuing TWAB should again outline the ideas they have for new ways to spend Legendary Marks and pledge that these changes will be implemented into the game by the release of the first DLC at the very latest. I could repeat the same point for all of the major changes they have outlined but I’m sure you get my point. For a company as large as Bungie, and a game that once was, and will hopefully return to the millions of people who have played Destiny 2, their lack of communication both feels like a slap in the face to the devoted fans of the game, but also highly detrimental to the game itself. I can say with the utmost certainty that I would not have put the game down after “only” 100 hours if some of these changes had been added to the game sporadically over the last few months.
Both the game Destiny, and the developer Bungie can get better, and I truly hope do get better. I have tried to be constructive and offer ways in which Bungie could better serve the community of Destiny fans. As always I would very much like to hear all your thoughts on the issues I’ve raised above, either in the comments below or on Twitter.
Thanks for reading,
September the 9th 2014 saw the launch of Destiny which was, at the time, disappointing for the majority of people who played it, this is unfortunately the beginning of the history of Destiny, but it is the truth that even die hard fans such as myself must accept. Many people left the game for ever soon after the launch of the game, some people left for varying periods of time, destined to return when future expansions were released. Then there are some who have stuck with the game through thick and thin and played through the best times of the game, but also the worst. I would consider myself in the third group of players who have never really stopped playing it, over the last three years I have amassed over 500 hours and have seen this game evolve on such a spectacular scale over there last three years. I come to you today, mere hours before the release of the much anticipated Destiny 2, to look back on Destiny as a whole, to look at the state of the game after the updates and expansions have finished. Destiny has been updated for the last time, and so I can give you all today, my final review of Destiny.
I would firstly like to start of by talking about the developing story Destiny players have witnessed over the last 3 years. The story of Destiny is regarded by many as worthy of nothing more than being the laughing stock of modern narrative gaming; and whilst it did begin, at least on the surface, with a note that still makes very little sense or impact today, the ensuing additions to the story and characters of the world of Destiny are something to behold. It is undeniable that the best stories of Destiny are locked away in the Grimoire cards that are collected in game, yet read elsewhere. Taking some time to either read these cards, or allow others to summarise the important parts, will reveal a depth to the characters and world that I hadn't thought possible before further seeking the lore of Destiny. For those who choose to learn it, Destiny holds some incredible rich stories and a vivid cast of characters. It is unfortunate then, that within the game itself these assets of the story are put to very poor use. Even in the two major story expansion packs, The Taken King and Rise of Iron, which both do well to expand the story, yet feel highly confined by the narrative groundwork layered out from the original release of Destiny. It has been this poor start to the story of Destiny that has resulted in follow up stories still hiding their greatest stories and narrative teases in places that most players will never look. You would be a fool to say that the world of Destiny has no story, but a scholar to suggest that these narrative feats are immeasurably weighed down by the chosen method of delivery.
Next I would like to talk about the Strikes in Destiny, these are 15 to 20 minute activities that I would class as the primary method of levelling up your character to reach the end game. For example you can currently level up to Light 390 with end of strike rewards, it is the final push from 390 to 400 that require different levelling tactics other than playing strikes over and over. I have played on average each strike 92 times, and I think is incredible that they are still enjoyable for me. This is baring in mind the fact that I haven't needed to play strikes to level up for a very long time, I have simply continued to play them because I enjoy them! Part of this enjoyment stems from the modifiers that are featured on the Strike Playlist on any given week, it is clear to me that the more enjoyable boons that buff your character, making the strike easier, are the times when I play Strikes more. However if the random modifiers for the week are such that they reduce the power of the player, thus making the activity less fun for me, I will play far less.
Now I want to talk about the Raids of Destiny, arguably the jewel in the Crown of the game, these are the hardest activities available to the player, but they also offer some of the most prestigious loot. Walk around the Tower equipped with armour from the latest Hard Raid and heads will turn. There have been four Raids released over the last 3 years, The Vault of Glass, Crota's End, Kings Fall and Wrath of the Machine, all of which have their own unique mechanics as well as high points and low points. Each raid is made up of 3 core encounters, each of which usually provide slightly greater difficulty than the last, until you reach the final boss which have 2 phases to them. These final bosses grant the best rewards from the Raids, in the form of Primary weapons as well as the elusive Raid Helmets. In all my years as a gamer, nothing has ever quite come close to the feeling of seeing that last sliver of health disappear from a Boss in a Raid. It is both a celebration for having beaten one of the hardest parts of the game, but also a time to hold your breath and hope for the rewards you want. A Raid is the most distilled version of Destiny you can find, all the fat has been cut off the game here, the environments are beautiful, the bosses difficult by demanding constant coordination between your team and then the music accentuates the ebb and flow of the fight. I know many people have never completed a Raid in Destiny, but I can truthfully say that it feels to me as though beating a Raid is reaching the precipice of the whole game.
The last major activity in Destiny is the Crucible, a game mode centred around pitting varying sized teams of players against each other to see who comes out on top. Whilst I have clocked up a fair amount of time in the Crucible in the years since launch, it has never been anywhere close to a priority to me when I have sat down to play Destiny. I have always preferred the PvE(Player vs Environment) content, such as story missions, strikes or Raids, to the Crucible. There have been various iterations of what is powerful in the Crucible, and the times when it has felt the most balanced and fun have undoubtedly been when I have spent the most time doing battle against other players. This is my core complaint with the Crucible since the game launched, the balance. There have been times where it has felt like even an average skilled player like me can do well with a sizeable array of weapons and perks. The worst times of the Crucible have been when it is far more difficult to do well within a match unless you are using a certain few weapons. I have always enjoyed the game modes that only have 6 players total, with 3 on each team, which I why I am very excited for the new Crucible of Destiny 2, wherein all matches are in a 4 vs 4 format, as opposed to the standard 6 vs 6 of Destiny 1. The Crucible has been a place where I have had wildly varying amounts of fun in, sometimes during events such as the Iron Banner, I have forced myself to play a bit more in order to reach Rank 5. Whilst other times the Crucible has been anything but fun for me, and I have avoided it at all costs, here's hoping the Crucible in Destiny 2 is filled with more high points than low points, unlike in Destiny 1.
All of these aspects of the game are all very well and good on their own, they all offer gameplay mechanics that are unique from each other, however these aspects of core gameplay would be useless on their own, if there was no reward for them. This is what I would class as the heart of the Destiny experience, the cement that holds the whole game together, the loot. The various items that are given as rewards for all of the above activities are what drives all players of Destiny to want to keep coming back after they have finished all of the content for the first time. There is always something to chase, whether it is a piece of armour that gives slightly better stat bonuses than what you currently have, or a weapon with the perfect combination of perks that will work perfectly for you. For example I recently completed my collection of Snipers and Shotguns, three of each type in all three elements, all six of these weapons have the perfect roll that I want for them, and so no matter what elemental burn is active during any given week, I am prepared for it. This is what many would class as min/maxing, to minimise damage taken and maximise damage dealt, which is to say that it is the final stage in the end game of Destiny. First I chased the ability to beat all of the most difficult content in the game, then I wanted to be able to beat said content with better gear, more accomplished gear than I had before. Then comes the grind where hours are sunk into chasing perk rolls that only give a miniscule advantage, and yet signifies that you have brought the game to heel, and has been conquered. As I said at the start of the article, I have played Destiny for over 500 hours over the course of the last three years, and I simply would not have come close to that figure, if there hadn't always been something I could aim for that would optimise my equipment that all important fraction more.
So there you go guys, my recap of all the major elements of Destiny from the last three years, suffice to say I have enjoyed this game perhaps more than any other I've ever played. I can not wait to start playing Destiny 2 and seeing all the experiences it has to offer and memories waiting to be made!
As always thanks for reading
The forested world is your oyster in the latest game I've played from the so called "walking sim" genre. I'm rather a big fan of games like Firewatch, the two that immediately spring to mind are Gone Home and Everybody's Gone To The Rapture, both of which have had a lasting impact on the way I view stories in games. The huge downside of this genre, is that the narrative must be superb, there is nothing for the story to hide behind, other than perhaps a visually arresting world. This I feel is the downfall of Firewatch, the heart of this game, the story, has such an underwhelming finale that since beating the game I have only thought about the narrative opportunities that it missed in the closing moments of this game; rather than some of the amazing dialogue and character building that came before it. I won't be spoiling any of the lacklustre ending, but I will say that for the first 5 of the 6 or so hours this game lasts I was in love with it. The game was asking questions of the world that I enjoyed guessing at, as well as a fantastic physiological analysis of the two main characters. I felt very connected to both of the characters, but especially Henry, who we play as, because we are given dialogue options throughout the whole game via the walkie-talkie communication between the two characters. This trend of choosing the what kind of man Henry is starts with the opening 10 minutes or so of the game being purely text based. Campo Santo, the developers, utilise this rare approach to opening a game to great effect, I was almost moved to tears with the emotions and choices the game gave me so skilfully and so quickly, setting the emotional tone for the first few hours of the game. I say the first few hours, because there is a very clever emotional shift that subtly occurs during the course of the game, I won't spoil the arc of this shift, but I can definitely recognise, looking back, that in a relatively short space of time, Henry evolves.
Why then is the ending such a let down? It is conceivable that I was looking for something in the game that was never on offer in the first place, yes I admit the fault could lay at my door, was I expecting a result from the story that was never built towards? This I can not answer until I play it again with the foresight of how the game concludes. At the time I felt like the mystery the story was setting up was heading in a certain direction, and because I played it over the course of 3 or 4 days, I had plenty of time in between playing the game, for my mind to run wild with where the story may go. The ending not withstanding, I want to mention briefly the voice acting, which is fantastic, though nearly the whole game takes place with just two people communicating back and forth with each other via a walkie-talkie. For such a simple system, the emotion that grows and connection with the characters that is established is incredible, whether it be the sarcastic quips or sombre moments that are almost too difficult to listen too, the way the lines are delivered are a triumph. The score also adds to this emotional feeling of the game, though to a more subtle note than the two main characters.
Traversal of the game is simplistic, with walking, jogging and ascending or descending rope lines being the extent of your movement options. This is mirror with the ability to pick up and inspect many of the items in the game, some have weight based on the story or dialogue at that time, others are simply there to successfully make the world feel lived in.
To conclude, this is a game that I am very glad I have played, and would also recommend you all play it, just try not to allow your mind to run wild with the possibilities of where the story may take you, that excitement will only detract from your enjoyment. To break this game down into three segments, the opening is sublime, and worth playing the game for alone, the middle built up the suspense of the story while expanding the characters I grew to feel very close to. Then the end is easily the low point of Firewatch, or at least it was for me, the end did its job in that it wrapped the story to a conclusion, but both left me disappointed with the narrative conclusion, and also wanting more at the same time.
Thanks for reading,
I'm back! It's been such a long time since I last wrote about gaming for you all, and it feels so good to be back! I thought I would run you through what I've been playing since my last post, for my return!
- Bloodborne; perhaps my most notable game during my absence has been Bloodborne. What a magnificent game this is! I played it after beating Dark Souls 2 and 3 so the genre and style of the games wasn't new to me, but this game still surprised me at every turn. From the faster style of combat where offence was as good a defence as is required, to the amazing Gothic visuals that never ceased to amaze me. I beat this game and then simply needed to play more, so I beat all the optional bosses, as well as carved my way through the Chalice Dungeons to come out with the Platinum! As of writing I have 11 Platinum Trophies, and not one of them comes close to Bloodborne in terms of the challenge as well as the rewarding completion. In the months since beating everything in the base game I have bought the DLC and am waiting for a spare few weeks to slice my way through the last droplets of one of my favourite games ever made!
- Indie Games; I've paid particular focus to finishing some of the indie games on my back log in these last few months, a quick list for you: Everybody's Gone To The Rapture(9/10), Tales From Borderlands(9/10), Gone Home(9/10), Day of The Tentacle Remastered(7.5/10),Hitman Go(7/10), Colour Guardians(6/10) and Deadly Tower of Monsters(4/10). Everybody's Gone To The Rapture and Gone Home have both been two of the very best stories I've ever seen in games, and have really opened my eyes to the hidden gems that rest in the Digital Store! I have also started playing Stardew Valley, and while I'm not far enough in to the game to form a final opinion, I can say that I'm enjoying my time with it immensely and I can't wait to see how my years progress!
- Watch Dogs 2, this was a real gem of a game, that while it didn't break the bank in any particular area, it did everything well. The world is fun to explore, the graphics are great, the music flows well, combat is solid and satisfying, finally the hacking is actually wonderful and easily leagues ahead of Watch Dogs 1! It is certainly the most I have enjoyed a Ubisoft game in quite a few years! I'd say this is an 8.5/10!
- Destiny, I need to quickly mention that I have, as I have always done, put a decent amount of time into Destiny. I did the new raid several times, as well as Vault of Glass and Crota's End at 390 a few times, generally just enjoyed the last burst of activity on Destiny 1, whilst also getting excited for Destiny 2!
- Overwatch, I've been playing an increasing amount of Overwatch in these last few months, ever since the Arcade Mode was added I have constantly been chipping away and now I'm sitting at Level 68! I love this game so much, I would easily say it is the best multiplayer shooter I've ever played, it is a pared down PvP masterpiece, where everything works beautifully together. To round it all out all the new content such as maps, modes and new heroes are added for free, there is no divide in the community a year after launch, when Call of Duty and Battlefield split their player base within a few months of release. A true breath of fresh air!
- Dishonored 2, I started and finished this since last we spoke, I'm rather torn on it I don't mind saying, there were elements that were fantastic, I would say that it is better than the first in nearly every way. However when I finished the first game I went on to play all the DLC, and start a second High Chaos Playthrough, but with Dishonored 2 I just haven't wanted to, even though I haven't played Emily at all. I'm just not excited by the idea of going back and playing it all again with slightly different abilities. My main problem is the unsatisfying method of unlocking perks, namely by using Runes that you collect in the large slices of open world that forms missions. For the first 4 or 5 missions I played very slowly and collected as much as I could, so I have a good range of Bonecharms, and quite a lot of Runes. There was an element of boredom on my part as I was being so meticulous to go to nearly every corner of the map to collect everything. Then it dawned on me, I'd pretty much bought every perk I wanted, and seeing as I was playing purely Low Chaos, Stealth, a lot of the perks there meaningless to me. So then for the last 4 or 5 missions, I didn't feel inclined to go in search of Runes and Bonecharms, as I had already got a build of charms and perks that did everything I wanted it too! So feeling like I had nothing left to do but the objective, the last couple of missions felt decidedly empty and often shorter than I would have liked. This led in to the final "boss" fight, which is horrendously designed if you are playing stealth, and made the very final moment of the game somewhat sour for me. This game started so well, but petered off more than I can forgive for a game that I had such high hopes for! I would give this game a 7.5/10
There you go then guys, all the big gaming moments that have taken place while I haven't been writing here, for you all. I'm sorry that I have been away for so long, I really have missed writing my thoughts on our world of gaming. I'll see you back here soon after E3!
Thank you very much for reading,
I've been away for quite a long time now. I never intended for a break of any length, but as I started the new University Year last October, I have been pretty swamped. As you will know if you follow me on Twitter, I haven't gone anywhere I just haven't been posting, not for a lack of ideas I might add. This year of my degree is Creative Writing which is the first time I've ever studied the art of writing in any kind of a serious way and there is a very big difference between how I write for my course and how I write to you all, here. I have been unhappy with the lack of content on this site for quite some time now. I have come to the decision that rather than force myself to write hear, at the expense of experimenting with creative writing, that I shall focus on what I am enjoying doing at the moment, which is creative writing. By no means does this signal the end of this website, I am very passionate to write about gaming and the games industry, just not for the next few months. Rest assured I will be back at an undetermined time in the future, despite it being a very, very large window of time I can only say that I will be picking up where I have left off this year. It could be a matter of weeks, it could be a few months, at this point in time I just don't know, and I apologise to you all for the lack of specifics, but I just ask your patience for a little while longer while I focus on my Degree.
If you want to stay up to date with what I'm playing and when I'll be writing, then Twitter is the place to be!
Thank you very much,
Another year has rolled round in the Destiny calender and that can mean only one thing, a new expansion. Since last years expansion titled The Taken King, the Destiny community has been crying out for new content to play. The only answer to this calling was the freely released “April Update” which included a new strike, a remastered strike and the reintroduction of the Prison of Elders. This went a ways towards appeasing the communities never ending need for new content, but hasn't proved enough to maintain a substantial player base through the thinnest of content times. This so called drought of content has come to an end with the release of Rise of Iron, the latest release in the Destiny franchise! I'm here today having spent a lot of time with the game, I have played everything this expansion has to offer including the Raid, so I'm here today to bring you my review!
First up let's talk about the story, I have seen quite a bit of criticism that the story missions in Rise of Iron are too short, and in total amount to a very short campaign, and on paper they are short. There is no doubt that if you are at the appropriate level for the missions you will finish the campaign quest chain in a matter of hours. On a slight side note I have gone back and played the campaign again on another character(that was admittedly incredibly over levelled for the content) and with the expressed wish of clearing the content as quickly as possible, I spent around 40 minutes on all of the story missions! However I do not think that these missions are too short, I think they are collectively the perfect size for this expansion, baring in mind that no one is still playing Destiny for the story content. I liked the way it introduced new characters, though felt the conspicuous absence of our old friends(apart from our trust Ghost), it set up our battle against the new enemy, SIVA, very well. The whole thing felt like the story missions from The Taken King, but with some of the bells and whistles taken off. When you do finish the story missions though, you are immediately welcomed to the proper new content with a host of 6 new Quests, some of which are short some are longer, with many more quests to be found by knowing the right place to look. Case in point, it has recently been found that a Raid based puzzle leads to an Exotic quest that is taking people hours upon hours to complete! This is where the “story” of Destiny comes alive.
Now, let's talk about the new Strikes introduced with Rise of Iron, there are three in total, with the Summoning Pits and Sepiks Prime being brought up to date with a SIVA remastering, and a new one by the name of The Wretched Eye! I will admit that it is a shame that there is only one new strike, that being said I do think it is a fantastic strike. The only caveat to that being that the boss encounter is definitely fun, but also one of the tougher Strike bosses that you can come across in the Strike Playlist! I would put this down to the lack of substantial cover in the boss room, when there is the boss with a lethal laser weapon, a blind ogre that will come and stomp all over you, and then intermittent additional enemies that spawn, it can go wrong very quickly! That being said there is also a distinct satisfaction to completing the strike, I certainly would welcome the Strikes moving more in that direction!
Next I would like to talk about Archons Forge, the new patrol activity that is a cross between the Court of Oryx and Prison of Elders, I personally think that this mode is fantastic and is both highly enjoyable and also a change of pace from the rest of the activities. A lot of people have been complaining about the fact that you can't stack the offerings required to start this activity, and I would fully agree with this issue. The lack of ability hold multiple offerings means that even with a “full” team of three people on patrol it is still possible that you will need to go and farm random enemies in order to continue playing the Archons Forge. That being said Bungie have gone a way to fixing this issue by increasing the drop rate of offerings within the Forge itself, meaning that it is easier to stay within the Forge and not need to leave! One of the beauties of the Forge is that different offerings initiate different encounters, based on the offering that you use, there are several different enemy types that the encounter can be based around. So there are different difficulties that can spawn, as well as different enemy types, which lends itself to a very diverse range of gameplay encounters!
Now for the biggest PvE activity, the Raid! I've completed the raid once, but got up to the final boss on two other occasions, so I would say I'm rather well equated with the raid to tell you my thoughts. All in all I think it is a fantastic and incredibly fun Raid, it takes a nice length of time, and has a suitable difficulty so as not to put too many people off. My only criticism with the whole raid is the final boss, Aksis is a superbly designed fight, but it feels at odds with the rest of the raid. Both times I've cleared the raid up to the final boss my team(gathered through LFG sites) have had a team wipe once and three times on the different runs, but then Aksis requires so much communication that he is and will be the stumbling block for many people. Let me be clear, I don't have a problem with the fight at all, it is well designed, and totally enjoyable with a good team. My problem is that the Raid is rather easy for the first 3 encounters(including Aksis phase 1) and then suddenly it gets notably more difficult at the last hurdle. I have thought back to last year where the bosses gradually got harder, with the War Priest being relatively easy to do in a couple of attempts, Golgoroth being a step up from that, then there were the daughters to introduce the Oryx mechanics, then Oryx was another step up from that. In Wrath of the Machine, the first boss Vosiks is, I would say, very easy. Then there is the Death Zamboni, or Siege Machine as it is officially, which is a small step up in difficulty, but nothing 3 or 4 attempts shouldn't best. Finally Aksis phase 1 is the Daughters equivalent from Kings Fall, with it introducing the mechanics of the final fight. I almost feel like Bungie accidentally put the Heroic version of Aksis into normal mode! Obviously this isn't the case but I do feel like it is deserving of Heroic mode when compared to the rest of the raid!
Last but not least I'd like to talk to you about my experiences with the PvP side of the game in Rise of Iron. There is a new game mode called Supremacy which serves as the Kill Confirmed game type from Call of Duty, for the large part it is a decent new game mode, though I personally think the PvP in Destiny shines at its best with 3v3 and 4v4 game types. I think my problem is that during the time I spent with Supremacy I was experiencing bouts of rather extreme lag, seeing as I haven't experienced this in other game types I am left to assume that because of the extra Crests(the items dropped upon death) on the map, the servers are having to cope with more than they ideally would have too. I had to play a lot of Supremacy when Iron Banner was recently this new game mode and I can't tell you the relief to go back to a "normal" PvP game mode! It is so shotgun orientated due to the very nature that if you kill someone from afar you are running the risk that the other team could pick that crest up and the enemy will gain a point! I think for the main I will only be playing Supremacy whenever is is in Iron Banner, and little besides! The supremacy game mode aside the four new maps that have been introduced with Rise of Iron are superb, I think Skyline has some flow issues around the staircase in the middle but the rest are very nice additions!
There you go guys my final review of what I'm sure will be the last expansion to Destiny until Destiny 2 and what an expansion it has been. Only time will tell how the so called "drought of content" will effect Year 3 of Destiny! Though I am very much looking forward to the return on Festival of the Lost and Sparrow Racing League(SRL) before the end of the year.
Thanks for reading,
I've been toying with how to write this review for some time now, partly because I had so much hope that this game would succeed, I didn't know where to start talking about my sheer disappointment with it. I'm not one of those people who expected the world of the game, just loved the look of what the game was, and exploration game set in the biggest world ever known to a console gamer. I wasn't expecting features that were never shown or talked about, I wasn't expecting the hand crafted brilliance of a Naughty Dog game, nor the open world adventures that can be found in Bethesda's games. I just went in excited for the game, exactly as it had been shown before. Even then I couldn't have anticipated the level of disappointment that would slowly creep up on me during my 20 or so hours with the game.
I will admit that I did have one expectation going into the game, that I would be playing this for tens(dare I hope hundreds?) of hours to come, I never occurred to me that after merely 20 hours I would feel that I'd seen everything this game has to offer, and then some. Maybe I was just slow of the mark in seeing the game for what it is, tiny. You may feel like with over 18,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets that the game couldn't possibly be tiny, but I assure you it is. Within maybe a dozen hours I had found and bought my way to a maximum slot inventory and Multi-Tool, at the time I thought that would be the true start of my adventure! It turns out that it was as close to the end as I am ever like to get. I have earned and crafted all of the Multi-Tool and Inventory technologies that I want, my mining laser is so fast that even the largest of Crystals can be harvested with the smallest of taps of R2. So after as little as 12 hours every Multi-Tool station I saw was 100% redundant because it was a fact that I'd learned all the technologies. If you want to fly over the surface of a planet then you will see a wide variety of small bases set up by aliens(almost too many considering how largely empty these planets are of NPSs) but these rarely house more than a Multi-Tool upgrade, maybe it's an observatory you land at, well you're in luck as this will allow you to discover a Ruin which when located will teach you a new word for the aliens that inhabit that System. This is a problem in itself, the languages in this game have been designed in such a way that once you learn enough words(again something I have done in the time with the game) you don't really need to learn any more, at least to achieve what the languages set out to give you. I think they set out to allow you to gain new and desirable rewards from foreign alien races. In reality it doesn't take long for you to learn enough words to know exactly what the alien is seeking, then selecting the option feels empty, almost like I didn't really earn the right to speak with these unfathomable aliens.
At the end of the day I was hoping that No Man's Sky would be a game to look back on for years to come as the defining moment in procedural generation, the spotlight was undeniably squarely on the small UK development team forming Hello Games. This was going to be a game discussed for years to come, about the aliens you met, planets discovered, and space explored. Instead people will, for the large part, simply remember that game that had so much promise yet behind the curtain of development seemingly fell at every hurdle without letting on. I think this game will still cause debates, but not the ones everyone was expecting, there will be few discussions about the beauty and majesty of the game. In this place will be discussions of how everyone felt they had been mislead by a developer to the point that their game was arguably the most anticipated game so far of the generation.
It is a saddening, not enlightening, experience to fly from planet to planet, with little to no anticipation of what you will find on the next one after an all too short period of time. I know this review is both shorter and very different when compared to my other reviews, this is largely because I always like to focus on what I like, but also what I don't like whilst suggesting ways that these issues could be improved. However I find myself with this game in the very rare position of believing that this can't can't be tweaked to anywhere near perfection. It can maybe get a little less repetitive, but at its core this is just quite frankly not a good game. I feel there is a real debate to be had over the price point, and whether many people(myself included) would consider if such a failure if we had only paid £15-20 for it. This is a debate that I passionately want to have with you all so do check back soon for my thoughts on that. At the end of the day however, I am here to review the product in front of me, No Man's Sky is clearly a game that thinks its self a AAA game, but fall so far short in both quality and quantity that it is staggering. While I have been thinking about how to write this review, I have obviously also been considering what I will score it. So it is time to finish my review of No Man's Sky, not as an excited space explorer, but as a crestfallen gamer. I give No Man's Sky
Thank you very much for reading, I will be back soon with my thoughts on Battlefield 1!
It is finally here, No Man's Sky is one week away from release. To celebrate this fact I wanted to spend some time talking about the game, interspersed with some of the amazing trailers and screenshots we have seen!
So while we don't exactly know how the game opens, we do know that we all start with a basic ship, exo suit(don't worry it isn't like Call of Duty) and a starter weapon. These three aspects of the game will form the core of your upgrading with better ships offering a better hyper drive, letting you warp to planets of a greater distance away. You will be upgrading your suit, to allow you to brave harsh planets, such as those with radioactive rain, or perhaps extreme temperate both high and low. There are also toxic planets, which should be taken no less seriously than some of the hostile creatures that inhabit them. These fearsome foes will be part of the reason you will want to upgrade you weapon, and also to gather more materials. These materials will in turn feed back into the upgrading process, so from what we know, it might be a good idea to upgrade your weapon first, so you can collect more natural resources from the planets you visit, which will then make upgrading your ship and suit easier; in theory.
So the main selling point of No Man's Sky is that it is procedurally generated, this means that every time you get close to a planet, it will randomly make that planet based on a series of factors. However you may not know that this procedural generation applies to nearly everything in the game. The developers at Hello Games have made a series of different types of animals, such as birds, lizards, sea animals and more, they have then fed this information into their game engine, which generates a near infinite different number of animal variants. The same theory has been applies to the weapons and ships in the game, so while upgrading your ship will get you so far, you will probably also need to buy a new one at some point, so you are almost guaranteed never to see the same ship twice!
Next I want to talk about the trading in No Man's Sky, this won't operate anywhere near to what you are used to from other games. There are different races in the Universe of No Man's Sky, and each one of these races has a unique language, by learning languages of specific races you will be held in higher favour. As a result of this increased favour, you are more likely to get better deals on buying and selling, as well as a greater number of items for sale. You can learn these new languages one word at a time by scanning Monoliths(pictured below) and over time you will be able to get the best possible prices from the different races. I don't know if it will be possible to focus on one of these languages at a time, or whether each Monolith you come too could have a new word for different languages. That isn't to say that learning a language via these Monoliths is the only way to increase favour with specific factions and races, though this hasn't been touched on much by Sean Murray(Lead Programmer), he has hinted that actions such as intervening when a faction is being attacked in space will increase your favour. Only time will tell the lengths we will be going to in order to gain a closer bond with the different races in the Universe!
To trade resources, you will need to be able to craft them, and for this you will require gather and craft them. From what we have seen I believe that your weapon will have two firing modes, one which is for the combat against hostile creatures etc. and also a laser beam firing mode which allows the gathering of planetary materials. In some of the early gameplay shown simply shooting an ore would make it disappear and the materials appear in your inventory, but as the game development has progressed the ores now shatter into little pieces and those pieces are pulled towards your weapon, and thus your inventory. Now these ores are not simply the ones you might find on our planet, no there is a whole new periodic table that has been designed specifically by the Hello Games team for No Man's Sky. So while we have seen more recognisable elements such as Iron or Plutonium, there are also elements specific to the game such as Heridium or a twist on a known element, Oxycen. I am assuming different elements will have different densities, so that will be something we can upgrade our weapon to be able to destroy stronger elements, so if I'm right there will be a progressive order in which some of the elements can be gathered. This is pure supposition so, it is possible that mining upgrades only effect speed and other factors like that. In one of the recent trailer we are shown a weapon upgrade that will allow you to mine two ores at once if they are close enough together.
So there you go guys, the cores bases of the game covered, No Man's Sky is a game I have been excited about for years since it was announced. So to be writing this only a week away from release in incredibly exciting! Be sure to check back soon for more coverage of No Man's Sky once I have my hands on the game, exciting times ahead!
Thanks for reading
With E3 2016 just around the corner I thought I would bring everything together that we have seen so far, here are my favourite trailers and rumours that have surfaced so far!
First up we have the announcement that XCOM 2 will be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in September this year, the highly acclaimed strategy game is finally coming to console and I personally couldn't be more excited if I tried. Take a look at the trailer announcing it:
Next we have the Injustice 2 trailer that has just been released, it features Batman, Superman, Flash, Aquaman and Superman. Although the trailer is spectacular, it doesn't really excite me due to the fact that I personally don't enjoy 2D fighting games such as this one will be. Regardless check out the trailer:
Next we have the incredible looking Horizon Zero Dawn, with a new Story Trailer to feast our eyes on, I am very excited to see more of this during Sony's Conference!
So they are the trailers that have caught my eye so far, now let's take a look at some of the juicy information that has been leaked so far.
First up we have the Rise of Iron, this is something that has had the above artwork leaked, as well as Bungie trademarking the name Rise of Iron, so I personally would put money on the next expansion to Destiny being called Rise of Iron. The picture doesn't tell us much, and while speculation is very fun, it is even more fun to consider that Bungie are hosting a stream on Thursday evening to show us the future. I will be tuning in, and if you are a fan of Destiny, then I would recommend you do to! I will be hosted over at Bungie's Twitch Page.
Last but very much not least, this is by far the most rumoured game on this list. It has been leaked from several sources. This is something that I would welcome with open arms, the idea of being able to go back to the world of Skyrim, to revisit the characters, locations and enemies that I can remember, would be incredible. I really think that this is something that Bethesda would do, and if this is revealed during their conference, I would reckon that it will be released later this year, similarly to how Fallout 4 was revealed last year!
There you go guys, a recap of the trailers and rumours that have peaked my interest for one reason or another, all the conference are just around the corner, so check back soon for more coverage of the games that we get a better look of!
Thanks for reading,
Today I want to talk to you about some of the small things that I think would make Destiny a generally better game. I wouldn't say these are as small as quality of life, but they aren't DLC sized changes, let's get into them!
So first there are a few bounty related additions that I would like to see, firstly is a weekly Vanguard Bounty, I would like it to operate similarly to the Crucible Bounty, but instead of Nightfall tier rewards, the reward is instead a reward similar to a Vanguard reward. I think this would be a nice additional thing to offer PvE players, and perhaps it could only be available to complete in the same window that Trials of Osiris is open. My second bounty related thought is to do with Raid bounties, these could be handed out in the Tower and are there to encourage a different approach to the Raid. My thoughts were ranging from the simple, "Kill 150 enemies in a Raid" or "Get 20 consecutive headshot kills in a Raid", up to Challenge Mode style bounties such as having different gaze holders on Golgoroth, or something personal like don't get hit by a sniper during the Daughters encounter. Then a bigger bounty that is rewarded for going through a whole raid without deploying a Ward of Dawn, using a Tether or activating Self Revive. I think it only fair that these bounties give good rewards so I was thinking that for the simple killing bounties you get 5 Mouldering Shards, for the encounter specific bounties a guaranteed item from that encounter. Then for the biggest bounty, two guaranteed higher/maximum light level items from the whole raid. So it could be a helmet, sniper, hand cannon etc. This would be a nice addition to make playing the now 8 month old raid still relevant to play(aside from the ability to earn 335 light gear). My last bounty request is just to have more daily bounties in rotation, very few new ones have been added since the game launched, and they are really quite repetitive to achieve. So my thoughts were:
Hit 10 enemies with a sparrow whilst on Patrol
Get 5 double kills with Scatter Grenades
Get 5 shoulder charge kills in 90 seconds
Tether 10 or more foes with one single tether
Deal the killing blow to a boss with a Super
I can think of others but for the sake of time, you get my point. There could be so much more diversity to bounties that would require so little involvement from Bungie to implement.
Two changes I would like to see in respect of Nightfalls are matchmaking at character locks. So firstly I see no reason what so ever that this shouldn't be in the game, there is matchmaking for Heroic strikes, so Nightfalls should be made easier by implementing matchmaking! My other idea for Nightfalls is that the rewards are moved from 3 per week per character to 3 per week per account, basically the same change that has also been made to Heroic Legendary Mark rewards. So if I choose I can do all 3 nightfalls on one character, as a Titan player who doesn't mind a Hunter and can't stand playing Warlock this would be a nice increase to loot!
Next we have difficulty scaling for patrols, this was something that was promised for patrol on the Dreadnaught, but as soon as you hit level 40, it was no longer a challenge to simply walk around these areas. I think it is stupid that Bungie has made the huge sections of the 5 worlds, but there is no incentive to go out and explore them, partly because the node bounties are boring and yield tiny rewards, but also because you walk all over the enemies. I suspect that the reason this hasn't been done is because it will make seeing other players rarer, as there are more matchmaking restrictions for finding you a patrol. To this I say that you see few players already, so what is the harm in reducing this further, and also even when you do see other players, you rarely interact with them, as there is nothing to be gained from doing so!
Lastly I would like it if Sparrow Racing League(SRL) was a monthly occurrence. If we could get this, and put it in a good place in the month, we could have SRL one week, a week off, then Iron Banner another week off then the cycle repeats. This would be such a welcome addition to the game for me and many others who miss SRL. I left this until last because it could be done with little effort from Bungie, by simply bringing back the two existing maps and putting it in rotation every month. While this would be acceptable to me, I would like to see more maps added into the playlist to increase the variety.
There you go guys, my largely simple additions to Destiny that I think would bring a welcome change of pace to the game until the leaked Rise of Iron launches in September. Let me know what you think of these ideas either in the comments of this post, or on Twitter.
Thanks for reading,
Friends of The Games Critic:
My name is Ed, I write everything here, covering all kinds of games, but I only play them on the PS4!