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Destiny - Page 2



SOLO GAMER SCORE

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You're going to play with others whether you like it or not
Here's where things fall apart for the solo gamer. You simply cannot play this game entirely by yourself. Period. You cannot play offline, and even the single-player game is constantly interrupted by other players running around and doing their own thing. While it is neat that the designers found a hook to explain why there's so many characters all interacting with the universe--you are all Guardians--it is still frustrating for solo gamers that you can't simply experience the game's main storyline without being jacked into the Internet at all times.

You are at the mercy of the Destiny servers, too, which will occasionally kick you out of your mission--even if you are playing solo--whenever there is a problem or update to be had. In essence, if you wish to play this game, you are forced by necessity to deal with all the things solo gamers hate about multiplayer gaming: the server hiccups, the teabagging by twelve-year-olds, the weak story, and the unavoidable impression that this game simply doesn't like the way you want to play it.

And while it is possible to tackle the main story without inviting anybody into your "fireteam," it is, as already mentioned, painfully short, and just about every other activity aside from patrol missions requires you to play cooperatively or competitively. Indeed, for the purposes of this review, I am unable to comment on the raid segments of the game, since I don't have six people in my friends list who all have the game, have the ability to play at the same time, and who are interested in finding out what the Vault of Glass is all about. You can't even use matchmaking for raids, which means that if I want to play them, I have to find and join random strangers entirely on my own through forums and whatnot. No, thank you.

[SOLO GAMER SCORE: 1 - Gamers who are strictly solo players or who don't have a decent Internet connection should just avoid Destiny altogether.]



PRESENTATION

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It's definitely stunning
On one hand, Bungie knows how to put together an impressive video game. The graphics are spectacular, especially on next-gen systems (I played on the PS4), and the music is exactly what you'd expect from the team that brought you Halo. There is also a wealth of good voice acting, with Peter Dinklage as your A.I. ghost, Bill Nighy as the Speaker, and note-worthy smaller parts given to the likes of Nathan Fillion, Lance Reddick, Peter Stormare, and the hypnotic Shohreh Aghdashloo. Load times can be a bit trying at times, but you won't find much in the way of clipping or frame-rate issues, and in-game loads are kept to a barely noticeable minimum.

On the other hand, for a game that pretends to be so huge, it is actually quite small. There are only four maps for the main game, with a few smaller additional ones for PvP matches. This highlights many of the game's shortcomings in other areas--the sparseness of the narrative and the tediousness of the grinding--and seems to be a deliberate way to cash in on future expansions. I won't call a $500 million game cheap, but it sure feels that way after you spend more than ten hours with it.

[PRESENTATION: 7 - At its best, this is a polished game that surpasses Halo in many important areas, but at its worst, all its greatness is just a thin veneer hiding a disappointingly tiny universe that relies on repetition instead of innovation.]



CONCLUSIONS

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If you don't like his selection, try again tomorrow
Destiny is indeed ambitious, and I'm certain its expansions and inevitable sequels will be quite good, but the game doesn't "achieve greatness." There's a lot of mystique surrounding the game--there are those who think it is the start of a new age in gaming and those who still have no idea what this game actually is--but that mystique only serves to cover for the fact that Destiny is a grossly unfinished product. It's the most expensively-produced tech demo the gaming world has ever seen, full of awesome potential and game-changing ideas, but lacking in the depth required to achieve its goals.

It's not exactly disappointing, but it is frustrating how no one aspect of the game feels complete. There are first-person shooters out there with better stories and more varied locales, and there are less grindy MMOs out there that are far more balanced. Destiny is more about what is possible than what is actually there, because what is there is short, small, and tedious in the final accounting. Sure, it's going to make a killing and it's going to be popular with a certain segment of the gaming population, and sure, I'm not ready to stop playing it just yet, but no matter how much I do and how much I grind, I know I'll never feel any sense of accomplishment or inspiration by this game. I have a feeling that, once the initial novelty wears out, people are going to turn on Bungie unless it has a lot of tricks up its sleeve for the very near future.




FINAL TALLY
STORY: 4
GAMEPLAY: 9
SOLO GAME SCORE: 1
PRESENTATION: 7

TOTAL SCORE: 5.3

After you get beyond its amazing first impressions and excellent gameplay mechanics, you'll find there's much less to Destiny than meets the eye, especially for solo gamers.



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-e. magill 10/1/2014










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