Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

‘Destiny’ videogame does not reach potential

Bungie and Activison, the companies who brought you Halo and Call of Duty, released the first game in what they’re claiming to be a genre-defining new franchise for the Xbox and PlayStation gaming systems. On Sept. 9, “Destiny” was released.

An ambitious, beautiful and authentic gaming experience, “Destiny” is one of a kind, yet far from the groundbreaking hit it was hyped to be.

The best place to start with “Destiny” would be the opening cinematic. As the haunting yet beautiful melodies of the game’s theme echo, the player is sucked into a world that lands somewhere between “Arthurian Legend” and “2001: A Space Odyssey.” The lore, soundtrack and graphics are what truly sell this game, and I could play it for hours just to listen to the music alone.

While the setting is far from original, it is surprisingly compelling. The game takes place in a far off future where the solar system has been ravaged by an ancient and mysterious darkness, and an equally ancient being of light defends humanity’s last city. Players choose to be one of three types of Guardians, each surprisingly distinctive both visually and in their gameplay. The character is also accompanied by a charming little drone companion called a Ghost, voiced by Peter Dinklage.

The creative enemy designs add to “Destiny’s” allure as a varied color palette brings diversity to a world of bland grey and brown first-person shooters. The overall art design feels equal parts retro and medieval, a huge theme in the game’s “mythic science fiction” setting.

For all its world-building, however, the story falls surprisingly flat. During the first set of story missions, players discover an ancient artificially intelligent computer named Rasputin still operational in the old remains of a Russian space station. Considering Bungie and Activison are the companies who also developed “Cortana” and “Guilty Spark,” I was expecting an encounter with a quirky character but instead I activated a satellite and was told Rasputin will keep the array operational. The grand conclusion to the game’s first arc disappointed with wasted potential.

The gameplay is standard but polished. The open-world player-versus-environment combat is fun, strategic and fast paced. Between the high-jumps, varied environments and diverse enemies, it reminded me of Borderlands with a very different thematic flavor.

The game falters most in its player-versus-player mode. Most players would expect fast-paced and relatively balanced combat in the tradition of “Halo,” but “Destiny” reminds me more of a standard massive multiplayer online game like “World of Warcraft.”

A standard multiplayer match consists of players of all skill levels with little attempt to even the playing field. This means that a Level 24 Titan with a full roster of abilities and armor boosts will be pitted against a Level 6 Warlock who’s barely unlocked his ultimate ability.

Moreover, I found most player-versus-player was played using tricks and exploits, like hiding in corners or relying on high level abilities like invisibility or revival. After a while I got used to these tricks, successfully sucking the joy and entertainment out of combat. It was as if I was exploiting a defect rather than accomplishing something.

Despite its flaws, “Destiny” is not without its charm and is far from terrible. The game has a strong cooperative multiplayer component with everything from daring raids with five friends to solo excursions in the wilderness interacting with other players. I’ve personally found the game to be infinitely more entertaining with friends at your side even in player-versus-player.

Overall, “Destiny” is a promising new shooter that is hindered by the pitfalls of most massive multiplayer online games. I won’t discourage you from buying this game, I’d only say wait until the price has dropped to buy it. If you’re looking for a player-versus-player shooter, I can’t stress how broken that component of this game is. You are better off playing something like “Blacklight Retribution.” Lastly, if you know a couple of friends who want to play it and you all have the cash to burn, this game is a truly fun co-op experience, and hopefully it won’t be the last of its kind.

 Alessandro Arena-DeRosa can be reached at [email protected].

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