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Destiny: A Review after Level 20

Destiny is the hot topic of the week in the games industry. A lot of people are saying that basically it was overhyped to be this fantastic, large-scale game, only to turn out to be a shooter with MMORPG elements. I have to agree with some parts of what most are saying: advancement in Destiny requires that you play the missions over again. Finishing the game is a good thing to go for, and when you do finish it, you'll notice the whole single player campaign is about 16 hours long (or even less, if you're good as speed runs). But the impression I got from the 'end' of the game is that it isn't the real end, and that this game is something like a TV series or a saga that you would have to follow for a few weeks or months to get the most entertainment out of.

So, in the time that Destiny is asking us players to wait for them to release more story content, they're asking us to play the missions over again, with different play mechanics or harder challenges. From this point forward, a lot of people are going to tune out and begin their complaints. But I'll never understand what is the true worth of that $60 that you spend on a game. Is it supposed to be 40 hours every time? Is that even a justifiable request of any game developer?

Because when you create something, inevitably you will have to make compromises. Either you get your game out in 3 years or you get your game out in 10, and be dated, like Duke Nukem Forever. Maybe sometimes gamers are just too entitled when it comes to what they expect out of their games. While publishers can do a lot of nasty things to players, like endless paid DLC, on this front I think it's the players that are being unfair already.

But I suppose where Activision / Bungie made a mistake was with their ridiculous marketing promises. "More than a game!" their trailer said. That's just too far out of a promise to make, and when you give that kind of a statement, players are going to remember that. I think Bungie could have been more upfront about the kind of game they are making instead of overpromising like that. They have done it in the past (remember Halo 2 and their E3 demo?) and I'm surprised they never learned from that experience.

So, on both fronts, there are mistakes on both sides which are cause for the disappointment with the game. I just say that, take Destiny for what it is. It's a really good shooter that handles combat very well. It has a good item system which can be as addictive as the Diablo series. It isn't really an MMORPG, even if some of its mechanics feel like it should be. If you're thinking about buying Destiny, know that it is a shooter with action RPG elements; don't go into it expecting Mass Effect, because it isn't that way at all. Know that you will be asked to play the levels over to make the most out of developing your character. And, subjectively, replay of the missions can be fun (because of the level design, the enemy placement, enemy variation, and their artificial intelligence). I'm enjoying jumping between replays of campaign missions, strikes with other players, and competitive multiplayer matches. Getting new items is a nice bonus to keep on playing the game, and watching your character get stronger and stronger over time is also enjoyable as well.

Of course I know that eventually I'll move on from Destiny; there are more game worlds to conquer and I don't know how well Bungie has really planned out their weekly 'updates' to this game. But as a single product, if you managed to avoid all the ridiculous marketing somehow, it's a good game that has some really enjoyable moments. It does lack extra characters and mission variety, that is true....but the gun battles and the level design is just fantastic, and I wish more FPS games would do it the way Bungie does.

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