Where do you start to review Destiny? It’s a continuation of an idea, rather than a game, for a start. That’s how Bungie thinks of it, it’s kinda how I think of it. When I think of Destiny, I think of the friends I made, some for a long time, some just for the duration of a raid. I’ve played solo and clanned up, I also lived in that grey area LFG sherpas without a clan find themselves in, known but not well known. I’ve shown countless people where calcified fragments live and I’ve watched the enemy move towards each other enough times to know where to sit and enjoy it or where to camp spawn. So, because of the fact that Destiny isn’t really a game that you can honestly review in format, I thought I’d try and review it as a hobby, like Bungie wants it to be.
Like any hobby, Destiny took some time to get interesting for most people, but for me, I was honestly hooked on the beta. I knew I’d love it as soon as the first bullet left whatever god-awful green gun I was touting at the time. This is because Destiny was made for me. I have free time, I smoke so much weed that repetitive gameplay is the best gameplay and, most importantly, I fucking love the grind. So when vanilla Destiny (can I call it VD?) dropped the, frankly abysmal, drop rates and the fact that any coloured engram you used was probably going to end up as a blue never annoyed me. It just gave me a longer time out on patrol, keeping the darkness from our door. In the interest of fairness, I will point out that I am in the minority on this one and I know and understand why. It’s the same reason the loot cave happened, it’s the same reason I had glimmer farming routes in Year 1 and it’s an obvious flaw of game design and one I don’t really see leveled at Destiny that often, even though it’s obvious to any MMORPG players.
At the start of Destiny and until last years April update, no one liked how you infused gear. No one. Even the relative high point of House of Wolves had an element of killing the game by just re-rolling until Godhood ensued. The sheer frustration of perceived unfairness when it came to drops and gains killed Year 1 for the average gamer. I get that, I do, but I think a lot of people don’t understand that I don’t care. That a lot of people don’t care. The game is a loot grind, don’t cry because that grind is hard, it’s not really, you’re just lazy. Git gud, son.
So the beginning of Year 1 was hard for the game because a lot of reviewers and commentators didn’t understand that. Also, Crucible in Year 1 was an unlubricated fisting of an ordeal, balancing being something that Bungie heard as NERF ALL THE THINGS, resulting in you feeling like you’ve been fucked harder and more often than a new pornstar in their first month in the biz. I still feel the phantom ache of my nerfed Shadow Price and remember the fear of a Year 1 Vex Mythoclast. The thrill of running around a corner with my Pocket Infinity, vooping a full fireteam on control point and laughing my tiny tits off. Bungie fucked that and, honestly, didn’t fix it until the current primary-heavy meta and there’s still salt about about it now. There’ll always be salt about PvP, it’s PvP. So the only thing that changed in there was the meta. Thorn. Mapador. Suros Regime. All weapons that will tilt you hard if you played Crucible at anytime in the first two years. For that reason, I’ll leave PvP there, not even touching on Trials of Osiris because, as someone who never visited the Lighthouse, I can’t really comment apart from to say fuck all of you that did.
However, the fact that people still play and enjoy the Crucible and Trials shows the first of many of the game’s jewels. The gunplay. Oh the gunplay. It’s just delicious. It’s as sticky as hot honey and makes you feel just right. Whether you’re vooping across the map or that sweet, sweet, Fatebringer reload, shooting shit in Destiny makes you feel like a bonafide badass. Then they give you magic. Seriously, what is more fucking badass than shooting a god that has lived for millions of years, consuming the lives of billions upon billions of creatures, in the tits with a bow and arrow made from magic, then laughing at his tiny feet as he, once again, drifts towards Saturn? Nothing, man. Nothing.
There is that one thing, though. The one thing that gets leveled at the game time and time again. Where is the fucking story? Obviously the answer is in cards you unlock on a website you can’t access from the game and then guesswork. gg Bungo. It’s the one thing that annoys me about this game, the one thing that makes me want to slap the devs. The story is so good, so phenomenally epic, the world building makes me want to roll around in it like a cat on a massive ‘nip bender. It’s amazing. AND IT’S NOT IN THE FUCKING GAME. Seriously. The fact that Saint-14 nutted an Archon to death is not in the game. Why the Fallen are after their Great Machine is not in the game. Cayde-6 is one of the most prominent NPCs in Destiny and his incredible, heartbreaking and half surmised back story is not in the fucking game. I can and do go on about this a lot, but the lore is so fucking cool, it really is, it’s as good as the gunplay is and they just hid it. That is unforgivable, but it is something they tried to rectify from The Taken King onward, adding more voice overs in missions and cutscenes in between, finally fleshing out the quest-marionettes we had diligently been grabbing quests from forever. It helped. They look like they are finally going to get it right in D2, but who knows? For now, grab a good app and read or watch some vids, because that’s about the only way you’re going to find out what the fuck is going on.
Finally, for me there’s one thing that rises above all when I think of Destiny and it’s summed up by the wave emote. Up on the D-Pad. Wave. I’ve waved to people on patrol in Destiny that I’ve now gotten drunk with. That wave says thank you and hello and maybe I’ll accept an invite. My first Public Event had four Guardians linked and we all waved. My flatmate is a noob and I’m constantly telling him to wave. Because that’s the first contact you get with the community that makes Destiny great, flawed as it is. It helps that the gameplay is so fucking epic that you do become legend, you really fucking do. Everyone remembers their first Vault of Glass run, even if it wasn’t their first raid, everyone remembers bitching about the exotic sword quest and everyone goes quiet when someone asks who’s running sword, but it’s the community that stand out, from the Charity Streamers to the Lore Masters, everyone on the subreddit and all the rest of us in between. The thing you should take away from this game is the friends you make in the end game. The Raiders and Trials Runners, the people you’re going to run with time and time again.
That’s why Bungie weren’t making a game, they were making a hobby, one they deliberately locked away behind friendship gates the game itself couldn’t unlock. They made us band together and schedule time together to get at the meat of Destiny and next time they’re making that even more obvious. They want us to play together weekly, to get together in Destiny like you do in a bar and this unbelievable community always made it fun to turn up. So we did. We raided three times a week, we Nightfall’d and we lived our lives by the grace of RNGeesus. Now it’s finishing. You can hear Bungie putting chairs on tables behind us as we finish our last drink. It’s sad, but I think it’s necessary. You see, throughout this fucked up meander through madness of a game, they did get it right. The game is better than it’s ever been. Pretty much all of the content is relevant, there’s enough challenge for newcomers and it’s still really fun, so hopefully Destiny 2 will be the sequel to the game Destiny is and not the game it’s remembered as.