this game has been out for almost a week so I thought I’d do a mini-review type thing, just for fun
destiny had a whoooole lotta hype, bungie kept using words like “ground-breaking” and “genre-defying” and “innovative” when they were advertising it, and overall I feel like it falls short of that
don’t get me wrong, I’ve been enjoying it. it is a very very pretty game with good art direction and killer music, not to mention very tight shooter controls, but I’ve found it to be an incredibly shallow game. the lore is very bland “light vs dark” sci-fi fare that we’ve seen a thousand times, and the plot is very obviously only there to get you from point A to point B. there are no characters with any personality to speak of, they’re all just cardboard cut-outs who dispense quests and gear — they may as well be vending machines.
(when even the “badass alien queen” character in your game fails to make any sort of impression on me, then you are doing it wrong)
even the narrator, played by the excellent peter dinklage, can’t impart a feeling of personality to the game. part of this is because he plays an AI, but for every line of dialogue that has any sort of humor or warmth there are at least two that are robotic and bland. when this is your most interesting character in the entire game, that is a problem.
you also can’t form any attachment to your own character — you cannot name them, and though they are voiced, there are so few lines that they always surprise me and I have to take a minute to figure out who spoke. either make a silent protagonist or make an actual character, this middle ground doesn’t work.
the game works like a hybrid between a halo-type shooter and an mmo, but it doesn’t really fit in either niche, instead feeling very awkward and light on features.
the worlds are empty, all the levels are filled with silent players and dudes to shoot, while the “social” area is filled with vending machine npcs (mostly literal robots) and more silent players. despite being the last city on earth, you can’t visit it, there is nothing to indicate that there are people going about their lives besides a cityscape texture in the background. there is no emotional connection or desire protect these people because you never meet them.
when it comes down to it, destiny has the framework to be a very cool game, but it’s like bungie lovingly built the skeleton and the skin, but forgot to include muscles and organs.
the game has no heart.