Meet The MMOFPS, Destiny. Enjoy.Filed inside: Games
Destiny and I didn’t quite see eye-to-eye until recently. And I owe it an apology. I was wrong, and I understand that now. Please forgive me.
It did, and I’m nothing but glad of the whole thing.
I’m sure most of you are fundamentally aware of Destiny, and likely enough have partaken yourself, but the game is of such a nature that on the off chance that there are people here reading you haven’t been following it, as I haven’t for so long, I have accepted it as my solemn duty to correct that issue.
So, where to begin?
Back in the days of the original Xbox we were blessed with a truly glorious gift in the form of Halo: Combat Evolved. While there had been shooters before it, Halo took the hitherto lesser-enjoyed genre and created a truly phenomenal experience. While other games were trope-filled “stories” that were more about the slaying than the journey, Halo created a real science fiction epic worthy of the age.
It had a faceless protagonist that was strangely relatable, despite being a generally alpha male stereotype. The supporting cast was filled with personality, and featured a female member that occupied a decidedly useful role without serving as a love interest, as well (though technically…she’s not a real person. Whatever).
While the game hadn’t yet discovered iron sights (we’d need to wait for games like Brothers in Arms to popularize that mechanic) it was a tightly-configured beast with smooth and challenging gunplay, a variety of enemies that were deceptively intelligent at times, and weapons that ranged from the very traditional to some of the more interesting in the shooter era at the time.
All this added up to an experience widely considered to be the father of the modern shooter. Halo spawned a trilogy of numbered entries (Halo 2 and 3), a number of offshoots (Halo ODST, Halo: Reach), games in other genres (Halo Wars, Spartan Assault), movies, comic book series, tabletop games, the works.
Eventually, however, developer Bungie separated from Microsoft and signed a fresh deal with Activision Blizzard, leaving the Halo IP behind and working on something new and unique.
Destiny was announced in February last year. And to be honest, I couldn’t have been bothered to care much.
I liked Halo. I liked Halo 2 for a time, as well. After months straight of my friends demanding that we play nothing but capture the flag matches endless at get-togethers, I found myself growing more and more apathetic, and from that apathy fled any desire to follow the series further. My last foray into Halo 2 was ended in the final boss fight by an errant bullet from a random mook enemy after felling the last boss on the highest difficulty for the first time. The checkpoint pushed me back and required me to fight hte boss again—something I was no longer willing to do. My only firsthand exposure to the series since then was an eight minute stint in Halo 3. I shot some enemies, pulled the top off of a turret, shot some more enemies, and put the controller down. I was finished.
It wasn’t that these games were no good—quite the contrary. I worked at the time as a GameStop salesman, I knew everything there was to know about the game and the series throughout, I just never played it myself. I knew they were passion-projects that still stood on the razor’s edge of the genre, never quite innovating as it had, but (nearly) always delivering fantastic experiences.
So, when I saw Destiny I approached it as the “reasonable” persona that I had now adopted. Bungie was back in the saddle, so I expected a nice shooter and all that, but given everything that had happened in the FPS genre since their last foray, I didn’t really expect to have something that would win me over.
Early trailers painted an intriguing story: a large celestial entity known as “The Traveler” appeared over Earth and opened humanity’s collective minds to a reality larger than themselves. Technologies were created, humanity reached faraway worlds. It was, as they call it, “an Age of Miracles”.
But the Traveler brought with it a terrible darkness. Now weakened and hovering over humanity’s last settlement, the Traveler guards the remnants of humankind—the last vestiges of humanity after “the Collapse”, a cataclysmic event that severed communication with other colonies, leaving only the Tower (the last city on Earth) and its inhabitants as the only known survivors of the event.