Ok, for today, I bring you yet another post series entitled “Thursty Plays”. The concept behind this gem of a series, is that I ramble on about a different game I’ve played or feel like talking about. It isn’t necessarily tabletop, as you’ll see with this first post. Video games and board games are equally open to discussion. Enjoy!
Back in July, my amazing girlfriend decided to pick us up a Playstation 4. Up until recently, the device has essentially been ‘The Bloodborne Box’, as I really wanted a PS4 to enjoy the unique pain that is Bloodborne. I’m not going to talk about Bloodborne here, as I want to complete the game before I discuss it (but don’t worry, it’s amazing). Instead, I want to discuss another game that we picked up with the system: Destiny.
[Caveat: I’m playing the base version of Destiny. No ‘The Dark Below’ and no ‘House of Wolves’ expansions to be found here.]
So it Begins: Me & Dinklespark
I came into this game with pretty much no knowledge, beyond it being a Bungie game. Bungie made Halo. I enjoy Halo. That was about the whole of what I knew.
For starters, Destiny is not the type of game that handholds you. The tutorial is extremely bare bones, with only the most basic instructions coming up as you traverse the first encounter area. The game also doesn’t pull punches when it comes to the lore. Aside from a brief intro cinematic on the Traveler—the big orb that’s the games iconic image—there’s very little background presented to the player. When Dinklage Spark 343 (ok, I think it’s actually called Ghost) wakes your character up, you’re immediately thrown into a world with little explanation. There’s these guys called ‘Fallen’ chasing me around through the ruins of Old Russia.
A few minutes of PEW PEW PEW GUNS™ later and you’re flying off to The Tower, in the Last City on Earth!
This is where the game really messed with my brain. There was no story, there was no background. There was: “Welcome to the Tower, please talk to all these random NPCs with no dialogue to receive your free items.” When I finished this gauntlet of NPC-running, I was actually stumped for several minutes wondering if I’d missed a particular NPC to talk to. Seriously, there’s very little guidance, except for a popup that says “Press PAD to go into orbit”. But, I didn’t want to go into orbit, I wanted to find the NPC who told me where I needed to go next in order to complete whatever arbitrary mission needed to be accomplished.
That’s when it hit me. Modern games (*cough* MMOs *cough*) have indoctrinated me into this need to have someone to tell me exactly where to go and what to do. When I realize that the game wanted me to leave without that… I was kinda shell-shocked. So, I went into orbit back to the ship I escaped on from the first mission. From this neat ‘flying in the atmosphere’ menu, I ended up getting a plethora of options on locations to go. Ok, maybe not a lot of options… ok, maybe just one… ok, maybe just back to Old Russia.
Dinklebot gave me a brief two-paragraph summary on why we were going back—something about upgrading our ship—and BAM, I was back in the PEW PEW PEW GUNS™ action. It was a jolt to the system, but I enjoyed it. The mission ended with me getting some kind of warp stabilizer thingamajigger to make my shoddy old Russian Cosmonaut ship able to travel to different planets. But, it was after this second mission that I ended up getting a longer cinematic that introduced the head of the last city and speaker for the giant orb in the sky. Between him and Dinklebot, I knew that bad mojo was brewing and I was one of a handful of people badass enough to stop it. I’m not even paraphrasing here… this is basically the summary of the game; you’re a guardian who fights the darkness.
Now, being a bit of a ‘gamer of systems’, I decided I wanted to replay the previous mission, hoping to get a jump start on experience and equipment. Ran through the mission on a slightly harder difficulty, kicked ass, took names, chewed bubble gum. Then I beat the mission and the epic ‘speaker cinematic’ started playing. Ok, time to skip.
*Press start* Nothing.
*Press all the keys* Nothing.
You can’t skip the cinematic. Oh God… why… WHY!?
So, I went to get myself an ice cream bar. Did some dishes. Solved world hunger. Painted a Warhammer army. Ok, the cinematic is over. Back to PEW PEW PEW GUNS™!
I’ll spare you the details of what came next, but over the last 2 days, I’ve slowly done a couple missions. I got a sweet new bike (not made of Rush or anything), fought some terrifying entities called The Hive, went to the moon where I got a sweet moon bike (also, not made out of Rush), and then tried my first Strike mission—let’s not talk about my Strike mission. It seems like something I need to get good at the game before I can appreciate and not feel like I’m bashing my face into a heated iron.
Musings on the Game
So, what do I think about Destiny after my first few hours of game play? Honestly, I like it.
Sure, the story (at least thus far) is pretty much nonexistent, but the gun play feels right. I’ve yet to have a moment where I felt cheated during a mission—except that one time the Playstation network disconnected me and I wanted to scream, but my girlfriend was sleeping 5 feet away. The ability to drop into zones and do quick missions is nice; it has a similar vibe to Warframe, another MMO I really enjoyed.
I’m typically a story guy, but so far I’m OK with the bare bones approach. Admittedly, there’s some kind of ‘grimoire tokens’ I keep getting messages about, which I’m thinking are some kind of way for me to read up on all these things and learn about the lore. Maybe I’ll get around to that when I have some extra free time kicking around. *audience laughter*
I’ll probably talk more about PEW PEW PEW GUNS™—errr… Destiny, I mean—sometime in the future, after I’ve played it for a bit longer. For now, I think I’ll just keep leveling up and see if the game can hold my attention for the next while. I’ve heard there’s some fancy expansion coming.