Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Our Destiny So Far

This began as a planned brief post about my thoughts about the BAFTA games nominations. When I starting writing about the 'Best Game' nomination I then began to rant a little bit too much about Destiny. It turned out that I simply had to put my opinion to paper, and so it warranted it's own article. So here: have some 100% Destiny 'What I think of it now' editorial. Win.

This year I have only played one game on the BAFTA 'Best Game' list: Destiny. I was very willing to defend Bungie's latest experiment at launch; many people didn't understand it and how the landscape of multiplayer gaming is changing and so lashed out. Some people expected a game reminiscent of the loot gathering, dungeon crawling Borderlands combined with the super-fun acrobatic gunplay and grenade tossing of Halo, bundled together in a massively multiplayer experience. Instead they got... well, something kind of difficult to define. I've played for a decent length of time and I appreciate it on a mechanical level, and even on it's Dark Souls-esque take on lore. I didn't mind checking online to read the 'grimoires', in fact it made me feel more engaged even though it was technically removing me from the gameplay experience.

As I kept playing it though, I felt more and more disengaged, although I will disclose that this may be due to all my friends playing it on PS4 while I'm stuck solo on PS3 (boo hoo). I haven't played any of the raids yet, and as it stands I can't for the foreseeable future unless I spend some time making internet Destiny buddies. Destiny is fun, no denying that, however is it £50 plus an extra £35 for the two currently announced 'expansions' worth of fun? You know what: I find it very easy to say no, for what you get I don't think so at all. In reality this game is small and repetitive, and I find myself rushing through it just to get shit done faster. That's not really a good sign, and it doesn't bode well for me personally as I get the same feeling whilst playing most MMOs.

I'll be honest I don't like referring to this new IP as an MMO; it may have MMO features such as a load of people ignoring each other (but occasionally dancing) in a shopping hub whilst buying stuff using basically 20 different types of currency, but it isn't massive and it's only sort of multiplayer some of the time. If anything, it's a faux MMO experience and in that respect whilst I don't think Destiny truly qualifies, it does well in creating an illusion.

As I said earlier, to me it feels like more of an experiment of which I will agree to be a part of for now, but I feel like an experiment on this scale shouldn't be making it's candidates purchase expensively minimal content so soon after launch. I'm not denying Destiny's technical achievement and it's artistic vision, I'm not diminishing the amount of work that's been put into producing a stable (for the most part) environment in which to shoot things with your buddies, and I am not saying the game isn't fun! But for some of us, we just can't invest all our time into one product and simultaneously justify such a large price-tag for what is in reality a 'small' game.

Personally it does just come down to money on this one. I'm not ignorant in the fact that Bungie/Activision has a large development team with associated costs but I don't think the product is worth it. Now, Destiny 2, or rather the second iteration of the franchise (of which I don't think would have the number two tagged onto it), might just be something special. However, we've got a while for that to become a 'thing', and by then the market might be a totally different place. To summarise: good game at it's FPS core, however even though I do enjoy a bit of space-wizardry, it's not a genre that fully works for me and certainly not worth the money. We as customers don't need to accept the way big publishers are carving out the DLC marketplace, especially when there are decent examples of developers and publishers who are continuously supporting their games with content that feels worthwhile for less. I know it's difficult to draw comparisons between the monetary worth of different game content, even on a purely £1-per-hour basis, because people will experience games in different ways for different length of time - but hey, this is my opinion.

For now though, since I do actually enjoy aspects of it I will play a little bit longer (to get my money's worth) and so l'll just have to be Bungie's lab rat until the new breed of 'MOBO' shooters hit the digital shelves, of which I am interested in - but that's a story for another time. -oP

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