Here are the 5 biggest issues Mike Votto found with Destiny –
I have spent the last year or so completing a list of the 100 greatest video games of all time. It has taken me forever because writing about great video games is boring. It is totally super dull because how many times and ways can you say “these guys got it right” before you deplete all your ambition? Exactly 97 times because I still have three entries to go before I finish the damn list and I’m not looking forward to that task. You know what is easy though? Shitting on bad games. That is never a drag – it makes me excited, gets me amped. A game that rustles my jimmies is an instant cure for writer’s block.
I’ve written thousands of words about Destiny now, most of them in conversations with the guys over at the Nerdgasm Podcast, and it is not because it has blown my video gaming mind. It’s because this game bites. Hard. Destiny is such a glorious train wreck of a game because it isn’t bad in the way that a typical AAA might suck. It wasn’t buggy out of the box, the servers didn’t crash immediately under the weight of all the players (though it is down at time I’m writing this article), and it certainly didn’t disappoint in the visuals. No, it fails with a $500 million budget where games made for nothing succeed: the core components are incoherent and aimless. This is a game full of ambition but made by a team with little capacity to live up to their lofty goals. Adam over at the Nerdgasm Podcast asked the question: what are five things wrong with Destiny? My first gut response was “Bungie meant to make a good game but they sold me a shit experience instead”, but obviously that’s a short article. So I looked into the game, played it a bit more, and have found the five most troubled aspects of the game, and I’ve gone ahead and recommended how to fix them. Your move, Bungie.
The Tower sucks and I fucking hate going there.
I totally understand borrowing this from MMOs – the social area is an important staple of the genre. But it isn’t to just buy gear because that could be accomplished in a menu. The point of a social area is to meet up with similar levels and coordinate for a mission/objective – this is a massively-multiplayer persistent environment, so that would make total goddamn sense. Welcome to Destiny, where up is down and screw your ambitions to play with strangers, even though the game is seemingly built just for fire teams to enjoy. Since Destiny has decided to say “fuck it” to any kind of communication channels between players, this makes The Tower worthless. Nothing is more frustrating that having to finish up a patrol, return to orbit, go to the Tower, decrypt some engrams that end up being fucking worthless, meet no one, go back into orbit, and the get back to the next mission alone. If this was seamless and there were no loading times, it would no be a huge deal but this is a massive waste of my time. Great…I visited the Cryptarch.
Fuck that guy.
How To Fix It: Get rid of The Tower and put all that shit in the start menu, at least until you add in proximity chat. Speaking of chat…
There is no way of communicating with players, and that makes this game a bore to play.
Without a doubt the worst offense in this game is the lack of proximity chat functionality. Maddening, I tell you. They sold this to everyone as a social shared-world shooter, where people come in and out of the games without the need of picking particular servers or matchmaking. Sounds great, but which moron forgot to include simple chat in this new formula? If you play by yourself, this kills a good portion of the great experience that Destiny could be. It’s a decently good time amongst friends, but it is crushingly lonesome when attacked alone. I spent forty minutes pumping bullets into a boss one night and the whole time I was thinking it would have been great to organize a group at The Tower to take this guy on. Find the guy responsible for this mistake and tell him to pack his shit. He shouldn’t be allowed with fifty yards of a development team. He sucks.
How To Fix It: Allow local chat so people can freely communicate with one another, which would hopefully allow for better in-game experiences.
Loot drops are seemingly random and you don’t get rewarded for beating tougher enemies
This seems really easy – reward your players for doing your stupid, repetitive missions. When they defeat a high-level boss, give them something for it. Not some weird item you trade in for glimmer. No, give them something rare, legendary, or exotic. That’s MMO 101: don’t make your bosses worth nothing, otherwise people will find another way to get good loot. Take the Loot Cave as an example. They weren’t doing that because they preferred to play the game that way (I found no difference between this and a strike mission though), but because they knew they would get rewarded for sitting there for hours pumping rounds into regenerating enemies. When Bungie nerfed the cave spawn, they said that loot farming in such a fashion is not how you’re suppose to play the game. Fuck you – you built an open-world MMO, I’ll play it how I want. Don’t want me to play it like that? Then make the rest of your game worth the grinding because, as of right now, it ain’t.
How To Fix It: Make good loot drop when you defeat a tough enemy or boss, and up the chances of getting gear that is actually an upgrade for your Guardian
The gameplay and mission design is super fucking repetitive
I’m not going to dwell on this for long because every Destiny player, even the Kool-Aid-drinking believers, can agree with me. Whether you are on the Moon, Venus, Mars, or Uranus, the levels and progression in this game are the same. Every. Level. Is. The. Goddamn. Same. “Well, maybe the enemies on Venus will be different from Earth and that will spice things up!” Nope, they are just reskinned versions of previous enemies.
How To Fix It: Bring people onto the team who don’t think that Wolfenstein 3D had the greatest level design in the history of gaming – or just swap out the bullet-sponge bosses and red-shirt minions for more varied opponents with a wider range of skills.
“It really gets going after Level 20!” If that’s the case, then you’ve made a game that is absolutely bland and shitty for the first 10+ hours
I’ve heard this explanation from every Destiny fanboy. “Dude, you have to grind because at Level 20 and beyond the real fun stuff is unlocked…why can’t you just suck it up for another ten or so hours?” Basically, the first ten hours of Destiny is a tutorial. That’s unacceptable in any game, I don’t care how complicated it is. It would have helped if the story was coherent and engaging, but it just isn’t. The missions are paint-by-numbers and the confrontations with enemies is yawn-inducing. It’s as if Bungie made the first couple of hours bearable instead of making them fun. No one should have to endure a video game, and that seems to be the general consensus. Imagine this if you will: EA Sports puts out Madden 16, and boy do they press hard and well for your dollars. “Look at all this cool new shit, you’re going to love buying this game and playing all these awesome new modes!” Sweet, so you get it on launch day and decide to go tried-and-true: head-to-head online. EA Sports has always excelled in this arena, might as well eat your dessert first. Tough luck, pal, you have to spend two hours getting to an appropriate level before that is unlocked. Okay, not a biggie, at least I get to learn the new controls and shit. After you reach that level, you go to play a match but instead of being matched with a person of equal skill or level, you are thrown in with people who have zero lives and are Level 20s. You get absolutely smoked. Alright, maybe I should just go play a regular season to shake the rust off. Sorry bro, but you need to play 10+ hours of preseason games before you can play a regular season game. That’s what it feels like to be playing Destiny. The game is an infuriatingly sadistic cocktease, and the worst part is that once you get to what is supposedly the great part of the game, it’s as underwhelming as the first twenty levels. The juice just wasn’t worth the squeeze.
How To Fix It: Either let people level up faster, drag the variety away from Level 20+ into the early stages, and/or make the experience of playing with mixed levels more balanced and enjoyable
Adam’s thoughts will be coming next week and a new episode of the podcast is out tomorrow!
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Throw Down & Level Up!