Destiny Critical Analysis

Opinion, Video Games

By William Chandler

I don’t know what the hell happened, man. Is this Destiny the one Bungie seemed super excited to make or did that game get lost somewhere in development? After all, Bungie have always been known for injecting some great personality into their games, if nothing else. Cortana’s likeability as a character, silly dialogue from the Grunts, and a sometimes playful tone really afforded Bungie’s Halo an identity unique to itself, as well as a style that we haven’t really experienced in anything since. It was something that was sorely missed in Halo 4, in my opinion, and is really what makes Destiny feel like such a letdown.

For all intents and purposes, Destiny is a fine game. It plays perfectly well (even to the point of feeling a bit like Halo in some regards), it looks gorgeous, and there are no major bugs or stability problems to speak of. But the game starts to crack apart and show its hollow shell not long into its ~18 hour ‘campaign’.

Most of these issues reside in the story, or lack thereof. The game takes place in a post apocalyptic future where a force of pure evil, simply known as the darkness, has been quite busy in its quest to devour all life in the universe. The player, as a warrior of light, must ensure that the darkness does not continue to do that by killing quite literally every living thing you see. Apparently it’s chill if you do it but fucked up if those other guys do it. And that’s really all you do. You never actually do anything else. Fuck, you don’t even push a button or touch anything other than a weapon with your hands. Need to use a computer? Your robot companion does it for you. Need to contact another human for a side mission? Your robot takes care of all that. Seriously, Guardians must be some legitimately fucked up people if they never actually do anything but shoot other creatures in the face and make quips with a robot. The player’s role as a Guardian is never really fleshed out either, considering that the game never even bothers to show you what’s at stake, nor does the final city on Earth that you are in charge of protecting ever fall into immediate danger. Honestly, you seem less like a Guardian and more like a glorified assassin by the end.

What I imagine the Destiny moon level to be like as someone who has actual obligations

Opinion, Video Games

By William Chandler

For those that are unaware, Bungie announced earlier in the week that it had a limited time promotion for Destiny beta users on Saturday if they logged in during a two hour window of time, more specifically from 2 to 4 PM Pacific Standard Time (meaning from 4 to 6 PM in my Central time zone). They neglected to go into further detail at the time of the announcement but one could imagine that it would merely be another one of those emblems or whatever that you put on your character card. La di da. This being of little importance to me, I payed it no mind, as I would be obligated to helping out my mother at her store for the day while an employee was away and wouldn’t be able to log in during those hours anyway. Imagine my surprise when I returned home to find that they’d revealed earlier during the day that they would be opening up the moon for a small taste during the aforementioned two hour time window, and that the emblem reward was tied specifically to this. Well, at least I was right about one thing.

Naturally, I’d discovered this fact roughly two hours later than would be necessary to get my glimpse at that shiny white marble in the sky.

The following is my rendition of exactly how such a space trot would have gone were I able to attend the event.

My warp drive nestled me somewhere on the dark side of the moon while I unironically bumped Pink Floyd through my ship’s speakers in celebration of this event. Clearly visible structures, once erected (heh) by humans and long since abandoned, mark the surface of the moon just as frequently as the massive craters that make it up. While my ship’s computer calculated an approach vector and feasible landing location Peter Dinkla- I mean my Ghost droned endlessly about our mission objectives and other relevant information. The bulk of which I, of course, dutifully ignored. All I really needed to know was that the darkness was prevalent here and I needed to spread some light via a muzzle flash. You know. Because muzzle flashes produce light so they eliminate darkness but they also produce bullets which kill the enemies of light. It’s funny. Anyway, I step out of the cockpit and drop lightly down to the surface and-

WOW OH MY GOD HOLY FUCK THE MOON IS DOPE. THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE LIKE DID YOU KNOW THAT GRAVITY HERE IS ONLY ABOUT 16% OF WHAT IT IS ON EARTH LIKE WOW THAT IS SO COOL. HOW THE FUCK ARE THESE BULLETS WORKING OUT HERE IN SPACE I DUNNO BUT IT’S COOL AS HELL

Something like that. Yeah, I’m sort of peeved that this event had such a short window of time, especially considering they easily could have made it a whole day thing, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. I suppose I can’t really complain considering I was basically given free access to their game for an entire week but, you know, I enjoy complaining.

The Destiny beta is now over and release is just on the horizon with a launch date of September 9th.

Destiny is basically just Borderlands if you take out the Borderlands and replace it with Destiny

Opinion, Video Games

By William Chandler

I’m pretty tired of people trying to compare Destiny and Borderlands. I mean, I totally get that it’s difficult to describe things to people, especially through the written word, so its often simplest to try and use preexisting things to describe the newer things. I get that. But forreal, saying that Destiny is basically just Borderlands just does both games a disservice. They’re both loot driven first person shooters, yeah, but the similarities really end there. For instance, a major way in which they differ is that I haven’t had fun with a Borderlands game since completing the original because I found the second to be a dreary, copy/pasted mess, and I’m actually having a ton of fun with the Destiny beta.

Perhaps it’s due to the fact that my expectations for Destiny just couldn’t have been any lower, but the beta has been a joy to play for the roughly eight hours that I’ve put into it so far. The shooting feels tight and enjoyable, just as one would expect from a Bungie game, but what Destiny nails that so many other games fail to is the way encounters are designed. In order to have a truly satisfying shooter, one must understand the importance that the environment, enemy design, and enemy placement have on a combat encounter. Every single encounter feels lovingly handcrafted in order to maximize player enjoyment while still providing an appropriate amount of challenge.

Enemies are designed in a way similarly to Halo in that the types and tiers of enemies are immediately obvious to the player so that it is clear what they can expect from the enemy in the way of attacks, as well as what they have found to be their preferred method of dispatching that particular enemy. There are grunt type enemies that are the most abundant and are often easily dispatched, the slightly tougher squad leader type enemies that are less frequent and require a more careful approach, and the more rare captain enemies that can often easily overpower the player. This is, of course, an extremely rough approximation of the enemy types, but is currently applicable between the two enemy races, the Fallen and the Hive, present in the Destiny beta.

Bungie’s thorough understanding of these enemies and their abilities, as well as their careful and intricate placement throughout the environment, allows for both an enjoyable difficulty curve and good pacing in the missions or instances. And really, this is the most notable area in which Destiny and Borderlands differ. The latter has a ridiculously large variety of enemies but it often seems as though they are all designed in a way that could allow them to present a very formidable challenge to the player. This on its own is not problematic, but without a notable difficulty curve to speak of (aside from the stat differences that come with a difference in levels) every single encounter feels just as deadly as the last which, in my experience, can lead to the player feeling exhausted and annoyed at the lack of shifts in pacing. I can think of multiple points in Borderlands 2 where my two man team became bogged down by an absurdly long firefight and the constant rinse and repeat of going down and rescuing one another due to an overwhelming number of powerful enemies in a single area. In Destiny, combat is short, sweet, and to the point.

What was the point to this article again? I dunno. Basically, Destiny is just Phantasy Star Online.

Bad blood at the Bungie offices

News, Video Games

By William Chandler

Award winning composer Marty O’Donnell, best known for his exquisite work with Bungie on the Halo franchise from its initial inception all the way through Reach, is now suing his former employer after his shockingly sudden departure from Bungie in April. Apparently, the termination was even said to be without notable cause. The lawsuit also claims that O’Donnell has yet to receive the promised post-termination benefits that were outlined by Bungie.

Yo, team Marty all the way. Not only because the Halo soundtracks are of some of the best quality of any big budget game to date, but also because it definitely seems that Bungie are being super lames as of late. Like, Destiny looks totally uninspired and Bungie appears to have lost its former down to Earth cool mentality in favor of a much more corporate demeanor, which is always a bummer.

That said, we’ll see how this plays out.