We have put in some serious hours fighting back the darkness to bring you this Destiny review on PS4. Does it live up to the hype? Through the highs and lows of Destiny one thing is for sure; it’s a blast to play.
Destiny begins on earth in a future where humanity has benefited from the presence of The Traveller an alien being in the form of a large moon-like dome. Through the power of The Traveller humanity was able to explore the far reaches of space and colonise other planets. Unfortunately, the Traveler was followed by a “Darkness” determined to lay waste to all its achievements. As the game begins, you’re trying to defend the last city of Earth from oblivion. You are a Guardian – a defender of the light – who can take the form of one of three races: human, exo (humanoid machines) or awoken (similar to humans, but with bluish skin). Beyond the obligatory gender selection you can also pick one of three classes: the heavily armored Titan, the more agile Hunter or the magic-slinging Warlock — though all three have access to the usual assortment of rifles, shotguns and rocket launchers.
At this point Destiny has everything it needs to succeed; an epic sci-fi universe with intergalactic travel, mysterious dark forces and the strange presence of The Traveller. This is easily the part that I was singularly looking forward to the most and the one that disappointed me the most. While the setting of Destiny is great the actual story telling is non-existant. They manage to string just enough together to make you feel that there is a linear process resembling a story but that’s all it is.
You will find yourself travelling across planets in the company of a floating Rubik’s cube (called a Ghost) voiced by a very flat and mechanical Peter Dinklage (Tyrion from Game of Thrones). The missions themselves are quite repetitive and see you running around, shooting enemies, letting your Ghost scan some machinery, holding off a barrage of enemies, and then repeating the process. The game does issue Grimoire cards through out the story which provide some of the background and lore that the game needs however you need to view these on the website or within the Destiny mobile app. With an epic space exploration shooter that Destiny is it can’t help but be compared to Mass Effect which, in the story department, it falls woefully short of.
Destiny is a beautiful game especially on PS4 and Xbox One. As you travel across planets expect to spend time looking across some of the most beautiful fantasy landscapes ever seen in a game. Each planet has a different style from the vast emptiness of the Moon to the jungles of Venus. The planets themselves are strangely empty bar clusters of enemy troops, it would have been great to at least have some wildlife roaming around to make the places feel less deserted. All the usual visual effects are there from the impressive particle effects of the dust in Old Russia to the reflective waters within the depths of Venus.
The universe of Destiny is full of colour, lens flare and intricate weapons. The weapons feel hefty and there’s impressive variation in the way they handle. One auto rifle may look a lot like any other auto rifle, but it’s unlikely it’ll fire the same, with rate of fire, recoil and accuracy creating a real difference and adding a handling factor when choosing a weapon, beyond just looking for the one with the most damage.
The menu navigation is clear, slick and well presented providing a great user experience. However the load times to move between a planet into orbit and then back to home again seems entirely unnecessary and results in a fair bit of thumb twiddling. All in all Destiny has a very well polished appearance that translates beyond the alien vistas into the actual mechanics of the menus.
Easily the best part of Destiny, the gameplay is addictive and fun. This was always going to be a strong part of the game given Bungie’s Halo pedigree and they did not disappoint. The gunplay feels responsive, accurate but yet still forgiving where needed. The RPG elements are understated but still feature and loot drops are rewarding if scarce. It’s difficult to compare to games like Borderlands where your pockets are brimming with loot as Destiny’s approach is to have far fewer item drops and to make you work hard for the good stuff.
Destiny offers a range of different game modes from story missions and patrols (free exploring) to team centric Strike missions and Raids. These multiplayer events are where Destiny really comes alive. You create a Fireteam with your mates (or get partnered with random team mates based on your level) and tackle these difficult challenges. These long, self-contained missions are a real challenge, with huge volumes of enemies and the odd mini-bosses leading to a final battle with some huge boss that could well take over ten minutes to bring down. This is where Destiny is at its very best, needing skill, perseverance and most of all teamwork. Here you can expect 30 min to an hour of hard work and many deaths to succeed. Raids are even harder team centric events that will really test your perseverance and communication skills. Throughout the coming months you can expect regular updates, events and special missions being released for Destiny however, there are also two paid-for expansion packs that are coming with additional story missions.
Then there is also the Cruicible – Destiny’s PvP multiplayer mode that has a lot of similarities to Halo, with fast paced combat across various game modes including special events that are released by Bungie from time to time. If you love PvP multiplayer then there is something here for you driven primarily by the great shooting mechanics of Destiny.
Destiny was developed by Bungie and published Activision. Our review is based on the PS4 version. It is also available for the Ps3, Xbox One & Xbox 360.