Destiny is a first person shooter with engaging game mechanics and just enough story to keep up player interest. Featuring detailed character and equipment customization, semi-open world environments and abundant Easter eggs, Destiny manages to be much more than a reskinned Halo clone. Set in the far future, players choose Titan, Hunter and Warlock character classes to go up against The Darkness with the aid of The Traveller, a giant peace-loving sphere of unknown origin on maps such as the Earth, Mars, the Moon and Venus. Characters level up quickly from 1st to 10th level, then gain levels more gradually up to 40nd level. Game play becomes more difficult but also more rewarding with upgraded weapons and character abilities.
On the packaging artwork, the capes and hoods of the characters give the impression that this game is a genre-bender, merging Sci Fi and Fantasy into a single epic experience that lives up to it’s title. In effect, fantasy elements like spells and magic seem to be only an afterthought. Game companies developing AAA titles rarely if ever take chances, seemingly controlled by the preferences of their target buyers. Granted, millions of dollars are at stake, but rehashing and copying copies of copies always bring content down to the point of zero visual impact.
Destiny’s creators deserve praise for going beyond strictly Sci Fi, but missed out on their chance to more fully explore the lush territory of Sci Fi-Fantasy. While The Set Destination screen, where players plot out space travel, does have a beautiful nautical-meets star map look, other interesting details like the Warlock classes spellbinding powers are only glossed over as simply that character classes form of hand to hand combat. The overall art direction is a mishmash of ideas, lacking any unified distinguishing style in the way content from the Star Wars franchise does, for example. Environments are littered with trucks and shipping containers from modern day amid star bases, anti-gravity speeders and other futuristic assets. The Taken King, Oryx, lead villain from the expansion download, looks like he teleported in from Diablo 3, adding richness to the future tech user experience.
In combat, the targeting crosshairs are small and difficult to see against most backgrounds. After a few minutes of intense battle I would have preferred a crosshair with bolder lines when engaging foes. Also, the recoil on the sniper rifle causes the player’s scope view to jerk upward, cheating the player out of knowing if they hit their target.
For gamers seeking a more agile, more customizable next generation Halo, Destiny calls.