Thoughts On Destiny The Videogame

This is an old post I'm republishing because I'm angry that videogames are allowed to spend millions of dollars in development but have nothing but pretty graphics to show for it. I'll probably take this down in a few days.

My expectations for destiny were admittedly high and I've only played through the first 20 levels on my character (and 8 levels on the beta) so take everything beyond this sentence with a boulder of salt.

The Premise

This is the "Traveler", which is a giant floating ball in the sky.

The ball lands floats on mars while it's (unbeknown to pitiful mankind) being chased by the "Darkness". Mankind somehow moves it to earth where they use it to usher in a golden age in mankind. Lifespans triple, they teraform planets, centuries of peace, lade lade da. But then the darkness comes and all that goes away.

You play a "guardian" who lives in a tower in the last city on earth that the traveler can protect.

If all of this sounds kind of obscure and vague it's not because I'm a bad writer (although I am) it's because it's really just that obscure and vague and even after a few hours it doesn't get any clearer.

That really ticks me off.

The Problems


The lack of explanation of the back-story would be one small thing by itself but then there are numerous design choices and scenery choices that given the back story give me significant pause while playing.

Lets take a look at this scene:

... Why the hell are there cars if we just experienced "centuries" of advanced technology, happiness, and peace? What? This is just one of many anachronistic inconsistencies. Apparently people can magic/technology/transmat anywhere but cars were still used?

The whole history and back-story are ruined by the anachronistic timeline and scenery.

It's Sci-fi! No Fantasy! No Both!

The game tries to play this fine line between "magic" and technology except it makes all the wrong choices.

There's this thing called a wizard (copied right out of borderlands) but it shoots the same sort of "pulse" damage that the robot enemies shoot. I mean what? Come on bungie... Continuity?

You can transmat anywhere

Transmat is this really cool thing that your "ghost" (voiced by Peter Dinklage) can do where whenever he feels like it and he can just magic/technology you into some other place.

Except sometimes you can and sometimes you can't and there isn't any real explanation why. Urrrggghhh.


Why am I moving a cursor around with my xbox in order to select things in menus? Why am I sometimes using Y to select things sometimes using X and sometimes using A. What the hell is with all of this holding buttons to do something? The interfaces are slow and cumbersome to navigate.

It's not like any of this is going to stop me playing the game. It's still fun. I just don't understand how the same people who wrote the Halo books (Halo: The Fall of Reach) and games can bring us this stuff. It's like this shitty borderlands clone where they failed to bring in any of the humor of borderlands that made it so great. It's a borderlands-esque MMO where nothing ever gets explained ever. Maybe that's what they're going for but it's really not what I wanted. I loved reading the Halo books and following the story. How am I supposed to love something like destiny when the story is an incomplete and incongruous afterthought.