Destiny (n.) - The hidden power believed to control what will happen in the future; fate.
The quote above is the definition of the word "destiny", and I think it gives some great insight into the potential of the game, Destiny, itself. As you play the game, you ultimately realize that you are the power to control what happens in in the future. You are the destiny.
So here's the deal. No matter what your current opinion is about Bungie's latest quasi-multiplayer game, Destiny, you've got to understand that ultimately Bungie was trying to step out of the shadow of Halo (and that's an incredibly large shadow to step out of). Is Destiny perfect? No. Nobody is debating that, but what it lacks in perfection it more than makes up for in a few key facets of the game itself.
It's elegantly minimalistic.
Now, I know for such a grandiose game that was toted as being the next epic installment in the sci-fi first person shooter genre, hearing that it was minimalistic probably doesn't fill you with over-exuberance; you're probably looking for something more along the lines of lavish or outlandish. Yet I'm telling you that the minimalistic approach works wonderfully and here's why:
The overall aesthetics of the game are simple and easy to understand. Thanks to gaming's overall shift into high-definition displays, Bungie is given the chance to minimize heads-up-display into a few key icons and bars leaving the player feeling as though they aren't missing out on the visuals of the landscape they're playing through. The screen space never feels overly cramped and we can truly immerse ourselves in the ambiance of the game itself while still maintaining our balance of ammo count and health level.
Along with the actual H.U.D. interface, the character interface is also benefited by the minimalistic approach that condenses secondary (and unnecessary) information into simple to navigate views: online, character equipment, and inventory. The way the menu panels fill the screen allows you to never miss any navigational beacons and keeps everything feeling as though they are all connected and easily accessible.
It's an FPS without the usual clunks.
Follow me on this one. Normally, console shooters are thrown under the bus by PC gamers, not unjustifiably, with complaints about accuracy and speed inadequacies when compared to the keyboard-and-mouse controls of a PC. Yet, Destiny provides a solid FPS venture that gives it PC-like credibility. Most console shooters suffer from either clunky mechanics or inaccurate maneuvers; this one doesn't.
Destiny's controls are exquisite, as if they took Halo's control schemes and dissected every aspect of them and spent year after year tinkering until it was oiled, polished, and sitting there on the showroom floor as the unattainable prize. Movement through the game is fluid, effortless almost, as if you're truly a part of the gameplay experience yourself. Things like triple jumping to land on a distant plateau or strafing and scoping an enemy (who is also strafing) to collect the precise headshot; all these things seem second nature and seem as though a minor miracle for console gaming.
Some of the clunks are removed thanks to the detail and resolution upticks thanks to the next-gen consoles. I only played on my Xbox One, but I could see a clear difference compared to playing the 360 version, as well. So, all in all the control mechanics seem to be the finest to date in respect to the console shooter genre.
It's a massive online game without being too massive.
Destiny is NOT World of Warcraft or Everquest, let's get that straight off the bat. But throughout your campaign gameplay you encounter other players (with varying levels) who populate the world around you. Having a handful of players coexist on a map is a unique facet to Destiny's overall playability. Honestly, at first I wasn't a fan because I was afraid of spawn-farming swarm merchants or even to take out the big baddies throughout the campaign.
But Bungie does a good job of juggling players around and making the levels seem pseudo-empty at times, which adds to your enjoyment, because honestly, who wants to be overrun by blinged-out avatars jumping around, turning your gaming experience into a carnival fun-house where you just want to leave the overwhelming and annoying characters behind?
The various levels and worlds in which to explore make the most of the online play which allows you to join strangers or go into a fight with your own fire team of friends and allies. Even with the massive online world, you can still roll through the campaign on your own terms as a lone wolf, so however you want to play, that's how you can play.
Customization. Customization. Customization.
Destiny is nothing if it isn't incredibly diverse in customization. Character customization is a pretty common feature in most games, basically in everything in the last 10 years. Here, players are inundated with options for their character creation. You choose every aspect of your character: class type (Titan, Hunter or Warlock - each with their own unique abilities), race, gender, face and facial markings/tattoos and even hair style & color. And this is all before even stepping one second into the game itself.
Once you begin playing through the campaign, you'll earn various modifications, both defensive and offensive. You get to customize every aspect of your character from head to toe, and that is a huge benefit to the game as it allows you to truly create your character as you wish. If you want to design your character with a specific color scheme in mind, go for it. Your character is exactly that, yours.
Ultimately, Destiny is an incredible game. At times, it's an acquired taste but that doesn't detract from its playability. The game is solid through-and-through, and if you have the chance, you should give it a try. And if you do step into Destiny, make sure to look through the expansions, especially The Taken King. This expansion especially enhances the game in ways you aren't expecting.