SHOCK HORROR! “Oh God, Vahrkalla! Why? WHY?”. Gunshot noises and screams ensue.
Now, let me make this clear. I’m not one of those undignified consumers who would endlessly praise anything released by a triple A developer because of their legacy, defending any product of theirs with the disingenuous platitude of “It’s not that bad, really”, or the popular “Do you know how hard it is to make a game?”. In short, I hate Destiny. It’s an exquisite example of the direction AAA video games could be taking, where freshly-released games leave gaping holes in their content, only to be filled post-release, and then only accessible if you throw more money into your already expensive disc drive. But that way of explaining it makes it seem better than how it really is. In Layman’s terms, it is becoming fashionable for games to be released with no substance.
But many of you may view this as somewhat of an overreaction. Many of you may like Destiny for genuine, explicable reasons. For example, the underlying wasteland-ish theme was ripe throughout, and the soundtracks rivalled those of Bungie’s previous titles. I hope I do not give the wrong impression; Destiny has merit. But not enough in this market, next to multiplayer shooters that are far better, that, unfortunately do not have the ‘Bungie’ stamp that will launch itself through to the top of the sales charts, and Destiny isn’t as good as games in this market that don’t have a $500,000,000 budget. For those of you that enjoy a game heavy laden with farming and grinding, then this would probably sufficiently satisfy you. But if you’re one of those people, then I personally think that you have no taste, and it is obvious that you are so easily manipulated by false-advertisement. The 2014 E3 expo trailer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clRpcIHpmoY) obviously nods at strong theme of humanity’s struggle against the ambiguous ‘darkness’. This motif is certainly nothing original, but Bungie are experts at making ‘black & white good vs evil’ tropes interesting. The actuality of the story was simply nothing. There was no clear beginning, middle or end and what little substance was kept for release was confusing and incompetent, with the obvious plot hole; if ‘The Traveller’ can resurrect people, why the hell is humanity in such a struggle? And Peter Dinklage, everyone’s favourite dwarf, absolutely kills it (‘it’ being the mood) with his almost-as-bored-as-we-are delivery of your superfluous and uninteresting companion. People may say that ‘It wasn’t a game set out to be a story’ but you cannot argue this clear case of false advertisement.
I mean, if the story’s bad, they must have focused on gameplay? Apparently not. This wave after wave defence-point gameplay consists of you revisiting the same small maps, where levels do not change for different objectives, enemies spawning in the same places and at the same times for different missions, and your character spawning in the same point for every different mission on these maps. It lacks variety and replay-ability. And this supposed 10-year plan Destiny has set for itself, with future free updates and paid expansions, is no excuse for its terrible condition upon release, and the amount of content the finished game will have is in no way proportional to the price people have paid for it. At the end of the road, the finished product of Destiny may amount to around £200, and who, in their right mind, would pay that ludicrous price? And people say that this follows the quasi-MMORPG formula, because this is where Bungie is heading, but why then, do so many reviewers rate this far lower than titles such as Diablo III (probably because you can’t even trade loot in a game about farming)? It’s not simply a change in genre, it’s a shift in quality. But people are defending it because they bought it, and so are trying to defend their taste in purchases.
It’s laziness and corporate extortion in place of artistic integrity. Destiny is terrible for explicable reasons. If you like it, you have no taste. So why is it my game of the year? Because Destiny made people realise that you can’t trust the triple As. Destiny made people realise that you can’t expect your pre-order to look like the trailers. Destiny abolished the decline in quality from AAAs that was bubbling under the surface and it completely eradicated the proverbial surface by shitting all over consumers. It turned suspicions into proof. It turned niggles into frustration, and for that, I am ever thankful to Bungie for releasing a terrible, mindless and unimaginative game. Destiny set in motion a real market, where for the first time, big budget games have the opportunity to do terribly, it made AAA developers realise that they have to work hard instead of merely pushing out anything they can think of, that people don’t actually like money-grabbing, randomly selected rewards, repeated wave levels, and general incompetence. And it is not just Destiny, either. The blame is shared with Watch Dogs, Assassin’s Creed Unity, Assassin’s Creed Rogue etc. I wouldn’t say that it is necessarily a good thing that that Destiny was bad, but I am more relieved that this AAA taboo has been broken, so that consumers are now more inclined to be more critical, form their own opinions, turn to other games, and put more trust in indie developers. What do you think? Was Destiny destined to be a bad egg? Did you give into the hype? Have you ever sold a AAA game you were disappointed in?