Bungie and Activision released a game called Destiny. The fans of Bungie (or the original Halo franchise) were both skeptical and excited for this new universe with vast customization to characters. There are options between Warlock, Hunter, and Titan, and can pick your features. Each class has their own strengths that make them essential on fire teams. Warlocks are your utility mages. They can recover their health fast and can generate grenades quickly while being the only class that can self-revive with the Sunsinger sub-class. Or they can throw powerful void bombs at enemies with the Voidwalker sub-class. Titans are durable and tanky. They can protect themselves and others with a force field shield in the Defender sub-class, or they can play as the Striker sub-class which allows you to do a devastating lightning-infused ground pound. Titans are also notorious for punching everything. All the things. Hunters, your quick and agile scouts, have the Gunslinger sub-class which allows your gun to turn into a “golden gun,” a powerful ability that gives you three one-shot kills. Hunters also have the Blade Dancer sub-class which allows you to activate a lightning-infused dagger and cut through enemies as well as turn invisible. You can play as male or female, and the available races include Human, Exo (a sentient robot that was created to fight the Darkness), or Awoken (in universe, the Awoken are humans that were changed by the Traveler’s light. Playing an Awoken essentially allows you to be a gray-skinned space elf). I chose to play a female Exo Warlock. It is a blast to use the super nova!
I had my criticisms about Destiny, and still do; getting booted constantly from the servers, not being able to talk to your friends on headset sometimes, and that the game plays better on newer generation systems than on older generations. Something I noticed transitioning from Xbox 360 to Xbox One is that when you open your inventory on 360, the menu can take more than half a minute, all while enemies can do damage to you. There is no “pause” for this game. However, on Xbox One the menu only takes a few seconds. I believe this to be a server problem or hardware limitation, and something I’d like to see fixed if possible. I’d like to not die while I am looking in my menu on Xbox 360. I had hoped Bungie would respect its original fan-base by allowing the game to be equally playable on 360 as it is on One.
I think the most frustrating criticism I have concerns the expansion. If you bought the game on release you got drops from raids, Nightfalls, and strikes (legendary engrams, motes of light, etc). Engrams are items that can be turned into the Cryptarch to be made into armor and guns and have the opportunity to become legendary or exotic items. The motes of light and other drops can function as currency at the Tower to purchase legendary or exotic items from various vendors. When The Dark Below expansion was released they took content away from players who didn’t or couldn’t buy the expansion, and I couldn’t really play with my friends the way I wanted to until I purchased the expansion.
The expansion gave players three new story missions, a new strike (The Will of Crota), a new raid (Crota’s End), new items, a new faction vendor named Eris Morn, and a higher level strike playlist. If you got the expansion you could play the whole game and all of the new parts. If you didn’t purchase the expansion you could still get some of the new items (the vendors sell higher leveled items similar to the items they sold in the base game). You also could still do the Nightfall strikes, Weekly strikes, and Daily Heroic story missions. However, there was a catch; when the expansion hit it included the new content into the rotations for the Daily, Weekly, and Nightfall playlists. If the strike for that week was one of the expansion’s features and you didn’t own the expansion you could not play the strike for that week, locking you out of rewards which were part of the original game. The way that Bungie has set up the generator for these challenges also caused this new content to repeat for multiple weeks, making it frustrating for the base-game players to enjoy content.
While the expansion is another costly thing to buy it does unlock some great stuff, like allowing you to fight Crota (a Hive god referenced multiple times in the base game), better story line explanations, and new characters that help you move along. This includes Eris, who distributes the new story missions as well as new bounties for you to complete. Prior to the expansion you could receive bounties from the Bounty Collector robot, and these would give you reputation for the various factions representing the Vanguard vendors, Crucible Vendors, and City Faction vendors. At the beginning of missions you were guided by their voice overs and by your Ghost (voiced by Peter Dinklage).
You are also guided through every part of the game by your Ghost. Ghost functions as an icon when you are picking up patrol missions, voicing the progress of the game, giving sarcastic responses to your achievements and the shoot outs your character gets into. “Access key? I don’t need an access key. DOS is more complicated,“ was one such quip I particularly enjoyed. He gives background on mission items as you pick them up, like the dead ghosts you find of other Guardians.
The fan base has complained that Peter Dinklage did not do a great job voicing the Ghost. However, I am a big fan of the remarks he makes. The sarcasm and the way his voice parallels the motions Ghost makes when its body spins a little or lights move is well done. I am especially a fan of the “Little light” sequence of this game. He gives you sass, and it really outlines the companionship in the game, showing that he is not just a functional guide but something that is sentient and cares about your character.
I think with the expansion Bungie bettered the way the story was told. You didn’t have to go onto your Bungie Destiny app so often, or look up your cards online as often as you did before. Prior to the expansion you were constantly checking your cards to find out why what you just did was so important. Sometimes that is a big problem when playing with others on your fireteam, and often distracted you from the rest of the game. Some people I know wouldn’t read them at all because of this. The cards are informative, but with the expansion you got more of the story from game play and voice overs.
There is a diversity of who you can work for by the bonds you wear on your armor. The Tower gives you the ability to buy and sell, trade, and learn of new bounties available to you. You can also pick up exotic bounties at the Tower as well, which are given randomly by the Bounty Collector. Exotic Bounties give you the ability to follow a long quest chain in order to acquire Exotic-ranked weapons.
However, if you want to form a fireteam of players the Tower does not fulfill that function, even though it is called the most “social” area of the game. You have to use third party sites (like DestinyLFG.com), or send messages through Xbox Live to form a fireteam. The game give you options to group up at the tower. Selecting a normal strike or strike playlist is the only place you are paired with random players automatically.
The customization in this game is just fantastic. You can pick up shaders as you play which uniforms the colors of your armor. You can also upgrade armor and weapons. To upgrade, you have to collect materials both by destroying other items in your inventory and finding materials on the various planets. And on each planet you get a different kind of material. On Earth you get Spinmetal, while on the Moon you get Helium Filaments. Venus grows Spiritbloom, and on Mars you can find Relic Iron. Planets also contain randomly generated chests scattered around. Opening one can give you that planet’s materials as well as a chance at various kind of currency, ship schematics, and items.
I lean toward the positive side of this game, maybe because I am a Bungie fan through and through and because I am hopeful that with each update they release we will get a better game. While I’ve had my disappointments I do love the game play and the various weapons, and the fact that there are robots, men, and women leading you through each quest. Plus Nathan Fillion voices the Hunter class’s vendor in the Vanguard, and you can hear him during some patrol quests wishing he could come with you on a mission.
When I have played through the expansion a bit more I will have more to say about it. This is just the beginning of my Destiny conversation for such a large game and universe.
Written by Jenn Kilgallon