Scotsman Games review: Destiny, Xbox One

A still from Destiny. Picture: Contributed

A still from Destiny. Picture: Contributed

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IN a medium where the word epic is thrown about with careless abandon, Destiny, the most expensive video game ever made, hopes to do the description justice.

Game review with tips and tricks

Destiny - Xbox One (reviewed) / Playstation 4

Score: 8.7 / 10

The sprawling sci-fi opera/shooter hybrid from Bungie, the creators of the Halo series, represents a level of ambition rivalled only by Rockstar North’s Grand Theft Auto V, blending FPS gunplay to an expansive co-operative-orientated RPG narrative, complete with Borderlands-style levelling up. It is, then, undoubtedly, epic, as well as enthralling, bemusing, captivating and off-putting. Seldom, though, does it achieve the brilliance many had hoped of it.

The wealth of information, statistics and options scattered throughout the game is unprecedented, at least for a title that does not market itself exclusively as an RPG. That, of course, is one of Destiny’s big selling points - the ability to fuse a shooter with something more substantial - but for those taking their first tentative steps, it can be confusing, with Bungie seemingly disinclined to offer much in the way of explanation. Breach the ten to fifteen hour mark, however, and it all slowly begins to feel less overwhelming, if never lucid. This is a game that does not so much reward commitment - some might say obsession - as insist upon it.

In spite of its Byzantine world and progress tree, the game never feels like a chore. That is predominantly down to its core FPS mechanics, which like those of Halo, are uniformly superb. Wielding the diverse range of weaponry feels robust and satisfying. Granted, the enemy AI feels insubstantial for the most part, meaning that the battles too often feel like a Gears of War Horde-style onslaught. But the vast firefights are entertaining and act as a gratifying foundation for the game.

As Bungie will no doubt attest, Destiny is best played with friends. Single player is enjoyable enough but the game comes into its own in co-op, as you and your allies seek to down the endless waves of foes and bosses. Again, this is fun largely because of the gunplay - the actual multiplayer modes chart a tried and tested formula, and somewhat puncture Bungie’s claims that the title is set to redefine co-operative gaming (although judgement should be reserved for the upcoming six-player raid missions). It is thrilling, for sure, but revolutionary? Hardly.

Overall, there is a sense that Destiny is not so much the inaugural chapter of a decade-long franchise, but a prologue. The narrative, perfunctory at best, does not leave with the impression of having changes the course of the galaxy’s axis, and after ploughing so many hour into the game, feels a little underwhelming. For that reason, it is difficult to invest yourself in the game world. That may change over the months and years ahead, but for the time being, Destiny is an excellent twist on the Halo formula and a fine game in its own right. Just don’t expect the hype to be fully justified.

TIPS AND TRICKS

1) Master the boost jump as soon as you have levelled up sufficiently. It is an excellent tactic to deploy during heated battles.

2) Don’t let your inventory clog up with useless gear. You can sell it there in then for cash.

3) Conserve ammo and make battles easier by avoiding body shots on the likes of the Fallen. Instead, a simple head shot can take them down quickly.

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