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After somewhat enjoying Destiny’s alpha release I was painfully disappointed with the “beta.” This negativity did not originate from already profound aspects from the alpha. Rather, my disdain for this beta is due in part that it is not truly a beta build of Destiny.
What people are currently playing until the end of July is best defines as a demo. We are not aimed at discovering any bugs, this being a major focus for any game’s beta phase. The level cap remains at 8, and be sure to keep this in mind as I’ll address this as it is a major ruse for current riders of the Destiny hype train. More evidence can be heaped on but hides underneath a the sheen from gorgeous graphics, prominent audio, and typical gameplay as well as controls meant to leave the general public wonderstruck.
In regards to the stale level cap we are only teased as we play this demo. Multiple mobs exist with the dreaded ?? as their represented level meaning you can look but not touch under penalty of fleeing like a shrieking coward or death, your chosen experience may vary though. Disappointment rears its ugly head with equipment available at merchants but carry a requirement of being level 20. Loot can drop with a restriction that you must be level 9+. But, there are new PvP maps, cutscenes, and story missions. That’s what sells: Halo multiplayer – RPG edition, cinematic moments detailing an all too typical story from Bungie, and new missions in previously explored areas. Oh! Let us not forget that you can read about the second sub-class for your Guardian. Read is emphasized since that too is inaccessible until the full launch as you must be able to reach level 15. It seems that Destiny is currently one big tease, and this beta should do little to entice you rather it should have you questioning why more content hasn’t been revealed.
Bungie, you tease worse than a scantily clad cosplayer wearing a costume which requires double sided tape. You’re more than proud with what you can show but what’s left we’ve witnessed from previous experiences. It appears that all semblance of a plot has vanished from sight. Your character wakes up dead, but rather than answer how you died, why you were chosen, and other forms of immersion through story isn’t needed. If you dare to disagree you will have forgotten that the topic of this article is from the great story teller that is Bungie. The Forerunners…I mean, the Traveller is dead (maybe?) and in his absence we have Guardians which span the three known races of this solar system. Yeah, you didn’t know about our sentient buddies the Exo and Awoken? If you want to know you possibly dig up information on them in your copy of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
In hopes of enshrouding the antagonistic enemies with some amount of mystique, their true origins are left as a mystery. What can be surmised is a big bad guy who’s the Travellers opposition showed up and did something…something bad. What that something was is lost in history, typical history always losing critical information such as the near extinction of three intelligent races but I’m sure that can be found alongside my affinity for Destiny. I’m sure the similarities between Halo and Destiny stop at character similarities and story while the gameplay and mechanics of Destiny will have no similarities to the vanilla that made up the Halo series.
If you were to take some elements taken from Borderlands, such as light RPG annoyances and every class having a single superpower, and interwove them into the design of Halo you would have a simple synopsis of what makes up Destiny’s core. Classes truly differ, aside from visuals, in three aspects: super attack/ability, grenade, and melee. Titans hulk smash or bubble shield while using crowd controlling grenades and power punches. Hunters unleash their inner envy of either D&D Rogue’s or Scaramanga through being stab happy or summoning a “golden gun” along with grenades later turning into traps and a knife that loves to be thrown into unsuspecting faces. Warlocks noob tube their way to victory or become an effective support when their unleash their super charged power then seek to fling DOT (damage over time) zone creating grenades and jazz hand slaps to bring back their grenades quicker. Each class can use any gun without any restriction, save for that darn level requirement, and I won’t get into the reskinned weapons from Halo which are now found as your armament. With that in mind, in doesn’t truly matter which class you pick as each is effective in differing situations. This is perhaps the only non-aesthetic aspect of Destiny that was done well and could keep the game going beyond one month in play time.
The greatest displeasure that I had in my journeys into Destiny was that it felt as if nothing had been added or changed. There was nothing new learned from the additional story missions and cutscenes accompanying them. With nothing but taunting content which was inhibited by my still too low level cap I did not feel compelled to pursue further. I was annoyed and this feeling only increased with every new mob found with ?? attached to their health along with seeing items dropped by enemies or available for purchase which I could not use again thanks entirely to a debilitating level cap. For the sparse moments I took to admire the area outside which is excluded to exploration, which is a lot, I found the game visually stunning. That being said, a pretty game without true originality is a game that seeks only to remain mundane and exists not to entertain rather increase units sold. I could spend pages explaining the asininity that makes up for the grinding of resources which can be turned in for points, but I’d rather end by directly addressing Bungie.
Bungie, you made Halo which, at its peak, was incredibly fun with simple yet intense multiplayer. Cease all attempts at recreating that! Aside from Halo fans, we are not in the market for Halo: RPG Edition. Break your mold and take a step towards creativity. You’re Bungie, you don’t need to make games that are just a step above Call of Duty. Grinding for points only makes the game boring, it does not add to the game’s duration. As it appears copy-and-paste is your preferred approach to weapons, can we expect the Needler to make a renamed and reskinned come back as DLC? I’ll leave you with a quote from a movie which I currently set as Destiny’s equal, Bebe’s Kids. “Beauty’s only skin deep…but ugly is to the bone.” Take those words to heart in regards to making a game which showcases visuals over innovation and creativity.