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Games : Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: September 9th, 2014 Movie Release Year: 2014

Destiny

Overview -

Undeniably the most highly anticipated game of 2014, 'Destiny' has arrived. Bungie has made promises of epic scale, endlessly teasing a massive, new science-fiction universe from the guys who made 'Halo' and an endgame with longetivity to match the MMOs and loot-driven RPGs so prevalent in the game's DNA. Few developers have the reputation and prestige to match those promises, but Bungie just might be one of them.

OVERALL:
Recommended
Rating Breakdown
VIDEO
AUDIO
Tech Specs & Release Details
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p
Audio Formats:
LPCM 5.1
Release Date:
September 9th, 2014

Video Review

Ranking:

Downright gorgeous, stunningly so. In all those times I've watched a developer demo his or her game and take a second to slowly scan the landscape, I never once thought I'd actually do it myself. 'Destiny' is the first time I wanted to just sit and look, take in the sights like I might've visited these places myself without a gun. And there's variety too. The moon is a cavernous pit with a 'Dark Souls' sense of despair, while Mars marvels in the way that 'Journey' did, rolling dunes decaying a dead city. In action, with vibrant super powers and grenades mixing in with the rapid-fire of your gun, it's a treat of intense awe, and in your first few hours that awe will propel you forward into the fight without fail.

The character design is excellent too. Enemy animations betray their inner natures so well, the Cabal stomping and bounding headlong, the Vex slowly approaching as a single unit, the Fallen scurrying as ravenous hyenas. When the writing did so little to fill out the world, the animation and visual work do oh so much. It makes you wish there was far more tangible exposition even, just to get a better idea of why these things are the way they are, or what they might be doing on these beautiful planets.

Destiny Review Xbox One PS4 Xbox 360 PS3 Mars Boss Strike Valus Ta'aurc

Surprisingly, the game's UI is as much a picture to talk about as the horizons out in front. All menus are navigated with a joystick-controlled cursur, rather than the common directional jump, and it actually makes things far more intuitive than normal. That's especially helpful for a game so heavily dominated by rapid upgrading, dismantling and slotting of your gear. Hopefully, more console RPGs take note in the future.

On the whole, at a crisp 1080p and rock-solid 30 fps, this is the prettiest game on consoles right now, no question. (The stunning environments and the ease with which most can pick-and-play the game spell must have demo-material. -BH)

Audio Review

Ranking:

I'll step away from the game for a minute, perhaps switching over to my computer, and slowly I'll realize that the music emanating from my speakers is the most engaging menu-music I've ever heard. At this point I can feel the hyperbole creeping up, visuals and audio both, but I can't help it. The menu music would put most war movies to shame, reminiscent of the 'Band of Brothers' opening track with a sci-fi touch. And once you're actually playing the game, it's the music that grants every moment the life so missing in the written set-up.

Each planet essentially has its own theme, with a sped up version hitting at the apex of a mission, evoking what seems like the perfect reflection of whatever enemy or boss you're facing. But that's the charge of a great soundtrack, to make it seem like the scene was tailored for the music, rather than showing the reality that the music was tailored to the scene. The bounding fury of the Cabal, the creeping dread of the Vex, the vacant dash of the Hive, all defined by their propulsive tunes.

Final Thoughts

I still don't really know why anything I'm doing in 'Destiny' matters to the characters in the game, but I do know that getting a new gun and leveling up to 26 in preparation for the upcoming raid, or the weekly strikes, or the daily mission, or for the simple fact that I enjoy getting (admittedly generous) headshots on both the aliens and my fellow guardians, pushes me onward.

The giant, ugly mark on the game isn't the story though, it's how Bungie stretches the comparatively small amount of playable content as wide as it can. The usable loot drops spread thinner and thinner as the game goes on while you're asked to repeat missions endlessly. Though I truck along eagerly, I can almost feel the strain of wasted time creeping up.

But, to put it all in perspective, I'm well over 30 hours in at this point and I'm still having a great time. Rarely does a game designed to grab me for this long actually make it this far, and it's the desire for loot and the trials me and my fireteam engulf ourselves in to earn that loot that keeps me keeping on. That's 'Destiny,' for better or for worse.