Previews,Video Games

Impressions: Destiny Day One

10 Sep , 2014 | Scott Tremper  

Played on PS4

After months of anticipation, Destiny has finally arrived.

Booting Destiny up for the first time was thankfully a swift simple process. The game installed quickly, and, surprisingly, the day one patch downloaded instantly and had no lag due to the PlayStation Network being completely swamped. By the time I was settled on my couch with some snacks and drinks, the game was loaded and ready to go. As an early adopter, this was awesome. No login issues like the launch of Diablo 3, nor the broken networks we got trying to update our systems at the launch of the PS4 and Xbox One.

Having played the alpha and beta tests, I was completely familiar with the opening of the game, from character creation to the cinematics to the starting mission. In fact, most of what I’ve played so far is almost the same as my experience prior to the official launch today. I had tried out all the classes, Titan – Hunter – Warlock, during the beta, so I was able to hop into my newly made Warlock and already be familiar with the early skills. After playing on and off for most of today, I’ve now hit level 10, two levels higher than the beta allowed, and have developed a few loves, and a few concerns about the game.

 

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First off, the good stuff. Combat. Man, the combat in this game is beautiful. It’s fast and smart. It’s very similar to Halo, but the added elements of using your class-based skills, as well as the increased variety of weapons, allows for some fun new strategies. Playing as a Warlock, I have a double jump called “Glide” that allows me to use verticality in my attacks as well. Something new for me to experience is having to choose between multiple types of grenades based on my class, which adds another degree of how my assaults get planned, as they currently are my strongest, consistent attack. Since difficulty is level-based, it offers a solid challenge as well, and enemies are sharp and freely whoop your ass.

During the beta I wasn’t into the PvP mode, called Crucible, but this time it started to click with me. Zone control sessions were more fun than traditional deathmatch games, but still much more impressive than my experience before. I feel like some balancing still needs to be addressed, as a few games ended with one player, who clearly had an overpowered gun compared to the rest of us, finishing with 3-4 times the kills of any other contestant. I also hope that matches get some more customization eventually – matches that dredge on for near 15 minutes are a bit much.

Overall Destiny is stunning when it comes to presentation. The graphics aren’t mindblowing, but they’re consistently gorgeous, and the concepts created are a lot of fun and visually pleasing. The UI is minimalistic and suits the futuristic space setting. Aesthetics throughout are polished from top to bottom. Music isn’t overtly used, but the themes I have noticed in certain situations is excellent.

 

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Now for the issues I have with the game – the biggest of which is mostly an uncertainty about it all. The level cap is 20, and I’m halfway there, but I really don’t have a clue about so many things. I know I could Google answers to a lot of this stuff, but shouldn’t the game give me a little guidance with some stuff? I’ve gotten merely a handful of different pieces of gear, only a couple of which had stat bonuses on them. I have no idea what the stat bonuses do, or whether they’re good for my class or not. My inventory menu has plenty of empty slots, but is currently empty, save for the one material I’ve found to collect. There’s only a few zones in the game to explore and I’ve only picked up one material so far? What else will fill up my inventory? No clue.

The most concerning aspect to me is the loot drops. I don’t really understand when or where drops will occur. They’re so infrequent that I can’t determine what a quality item is, and what stats I should be looking for. Like I mentioned, I hopped into a Crucible match a bit ago, and was totally destroyed – did that happen because I’m not very good? Or did the other player manage to score an awesome weapon while I’m stuck with baseline garbage? I don’t know. My gear collection has been too sparse to even determine it.

I know that there has been a lot of discussion that the meat of Destiny comes from “end-game” content once you reach the level cap. I’m having fun now, but it is pretty concerning that in many ways I’m completely lost and feel like the game is empty, when in fact I’m halfway to the level cap.

I’m excited to keep playing – I’m digging my experience so far, but just want to know more.

 

Scott Tremper

Scott works in media creation and marketing, but lives with a passion for pop culture - video games, movies, tv, music, even celebrity gossip. He loves learning what people like and why. He started XP Gain to get himself writing and talking about all the things he loves.

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