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
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!