While reading various forums and twitter feeds, one comment that seems to crop up a lot when talking about Destiny is ďIs this it?Ē
Iíve seen it all over the place. The three words summing up peopleís underwhelmed reaction to Bungieís long-awaited return to first-person shooting. And, every time Iíve seen those words Iíve had to stop myself from doing a Phil Fish.
I canít relate to that reaction. What Iím playing is leaving me gob-smacked and I simply canít get enough of it.
Most first-person shooters try to focus on the spectacle or the plot. We have games that have wonderful set pieces with bridges blowing up as you scramble to stay on solid land, and those that wrap you up in a twisting story making you want to push through to see what happens next. Destiny
ís focal point, though, is its combat.
Every time you see an enemy across a map you have to stop and think, and the thought process doesnít stop until the gunfire does and you finally get to inhale. Enemies rush, flank and duck for cover. Some have more bottle than others and run at you while youíre on your last legs. Others will head for the hills and hide until all of their friends are dead, quivering behind their gun while they contemplate their fate as you administer your fatal blow.
It makes for some intense battles, most that left me with my hands aching after turning the game off due to intensely gripping my pad. As you would expect, the fights become significantly easier when you have more players on your side. Sometimes that can cause its own problems, though, with the chaos of battle making you lose focus for a moment while a foe finds himself behind you and takes you down.
The combat is the reason why I have no problem jumping into earlier missions again and again with friends who are a lower level than me. Although Iím technically repeating content over and over, it always feels fresh. You can still be blindsided and left asking to be revived by the inexperienced.
The further into the game you go, the more varied the enemies are and the more your toes will ache from being kept on them. Some are designed to shoot at a distance, others rush and explode while some come at you with a devastating melee weapon, but all are there to completely screw up any plan you have.
Adapting is the key. Resting on one playing style is a fatal mistake and this is why Destiny
ís combat stands out as its star. Not the plot, nor the spectacle, its the organic, flowing fire fights.
Thatís not to say that the main story campaign couldn't do with a little more variety. Youíre mainly heading towards something, unleashing Dinklage and fighting off hordes of enemies. When you turn up mob-handed the battles can be a little underwhelming when playing on normal.
Itís the environments that, alongside the combat, help you through the repetitive mission objectives. There are plenty of wow moments when a cavern opens up to reveal stunning sights and although itís not enough to make up for the horde mode mentality, it makes your journey worth it. Iím hoping that there is more variety to come in the future, because while Iím not tired of rinsing and repeating, it may hold me off purchasing expansions.
Thankfully though the Strike missions are where Destiny
's heart is. Challenging and with surprises around every corner, theyíll offer those that have seen the gameís plot through to the end more than enough to make them carry on for hours after the credits.
The shooting isnít the only thing that makes Destiny
shine. Firstly, I really must gush about the music. Itís some of the best Iíve heard in any game. The thunderous orchestra builds where itís supposed to and holds back when it needs to. It creates a sense of place and had hairs popping out of the back of my neck. It does more than just imprint its notes into your brain - it helps create a universe.
And the universe it helps creates is made rock solid with the gorgeous visuals and attention to detail. Some concerns were raised when it was revealed that Earth was one of only 5 locations in Destiny
, including The Tower - The gameís central hub. Thereís nothing to worry about.
The planets are huge. Vast open areas offer the opportunity to snipe from miles away, while deep caves and tunnels force up-close combat. They feel like chapters rather than levels, but they're connected without the need for a loading screen or dip in detail. Youíll fall in love on The Moon but lose yourself completely by the time you make the incredible Venus.