Jordan’s Backlog: Destiny

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Jordan’s Backlog: Destiny

There comes a time in every gamer’s life when you realize, “There’s too many things to play!” Sadly, I’ve reached that point in my life and I must admit that I can’t play everything that comes out, beat them, and also write about them. Luckily, I have just enough free time to put in work on a bunch of the games I’ve yet to finish.

That being said, welcome to Jordan’s Backlog, my feeble attempt to get my thoughts out about all the games I’ve been playing without being able to review them all. Because, let’s be honest, I’m no professional, but I can get things done (most of the time).
If you were to ask me, “What game did I spend the most time with this year?” it should not come as a surprise to anyone that I would say Destiny without skipping a beat. Of course, my answer would invariably warrant one of two responses: “Me, too!” or “Ew, why?!” And both responses would be appropriate, because let me be the first one to tell you that Destiny is not a good game. It’s certainly a fun game, but that’s about as far as it goes.


I should probably explain why I don’t think Destiny is a good game. Off the top of my head: there’s not really much a story, nothing is really explained to you, there are too many invisible walls, the voice acting by the main cast leaves much to be desired, the voice cast for the vendors is stellar but they hardly get to say anything, for a big game there’s a whole lot of nothing populating it, and finally there isn’t enough variety in game modes. Mind you, this list is just off the top of my head, meaning there’s probably other things wrong with it but I just can’t think of them all on the spot.


Anyway, after doing a bit of research on the game, it’s easy to tell that the development for the game was just a series of train wrecks which eventually ended with a game that feels only half finished. Not only did the original writer for the game leave Bungie, but the composer and various other key individuals left the company during crucial developmental moments. This led to the underwhelming story and the fairly lonely worlds that players got to traverse.


In any case, I have probably spent upwards of a hundred hours playing Destiny alone and with friends, and it was the most fun I’ve had in a first-person shooter (FPS) in a very long time. I don’t quite understand it myself, to be honest. I’m big on story in video games and, as I mentioned earlier, Destiny has almost no story. And yet, I was intrigued by the mysteriousness of it all. The planets you visit aren’t densely populated by friendly denizens that are trying to make a life for themselves. No, the planets are inhabited solely by the remnants of a once thriving civilization and murderous aliens.


So you, as one of the Traveler’s Guardians, are tasked with scouring the ruins of these planets and fight against the coming Darkness that is somehow responsible for destroying the cities on Mars, Venus, and Earth. And in order to do this, you have to take the fight to your enemies and stop them at their source. The only problem is nobody actually tells you where that is or how to find it.


When you actually beat the game, you destroy a being that is the equivalent of a god of robots. But even though you do that, absolutely nothing is resolved, you just put a damper on the aliens evil plans apparently. I’m not sure really, because again, nothing is explained to you. Although, you could always go to Bungie’s website if you ever want to read the scraps of lore they give you via I.V. drip.

But if running around and shooting A.I. controlled enemies isn’t your thing, you could always hop into the Crucible, the obligatory player versus player (PVP) mode. In the Crucible you have access to a grand total of five different game types: Clash, Control, Skirmish, Salvage, and a mixture of Clash and Control on bigger maps that feature vehicles. And though the pickings may be slim, the PVP combat is very tight. Of course, that shouldn’t be a surprise considering Bungie is the company that basically perfected first-person shooters on consoles.


Progressing through the game is rather tedious since you have to deal with all of the story missions, but the game truly begins when you hit level 20. From level 20 and on, you need to acquire pieces of armor that have a “light level” affixed attached to them. The higher the light level of your gear, the higher the light level of your character. Currently there are ten light levels (levels 21 – 30), and they are not easy to get.


Getting light gear is what really shapes the end game of Destiny. For some, the grind to level up light gear can be a bit boring. Luckily for me, I had the privilege to regularly play with some friends who had never experienced a game quite like Destiny. I, like many other gamers, quickly understood that Destiny is a psuedo-massively multiplayer online (MMO) game and was already familiar with the end-game grind for gear. I’m not saying I enjoy the grind, but it’s a hell of a lot easier when you ca get through it with some buddies.


After you get your light levels high enough, you can take on the best aspect of Destiny so far, the Vault of Glass (VoG). The Vault of Glass is currently Destiny’s only raid, but that will soon change as soon as the first downloadable content pack drops on December 9th. But in the meantime, the Vault of Glass is insane in its design and in the amount of fun it could be. But it can also be the biggest pain in the neck when you and your party aren’t coordinated enough.


Granted, as with any MMO or psuedo-MMO, players were able to figure out how to beat the raid in ways the developers never imagined. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your view of things), Bungie has been regularly patching Destiny by adding little fixes here and there and by tweaking the raid itself to offer an even bigger challenge for players. At the time of this writing, a patch went out that prevents players from forcing a particular boss to fall off a ledge and plummet to its doom.


Sure, there are tons of things in Destiny that still need to be fixed and content that needs to be put in to make it feel much more alive than it is. But all-in-all I really like Destiny. It’s a step in the right direction when it comes to first-person shooters in that it offers something new to the console generation of gamers. MMOFPS is a genre that is frankly under-utilized but frequently done incorrectly (I’m looking at you, Hellgate London). But when it’s done right, it’s fantastic. Though Destiny is not perfect, and is nowhere near the epic experience it was advertised to be, I’ve still poured over a hundred hours into it. And any game that could do that is fairly special in my book. It’s not quite there yet, but one day Destiny may, as the tagline suggests, become legend.
Also for funsies, I’m going to add a video of my first run through the Vault of Glass with my friends in it’s entirety.