I’ve been playing Destiny for over a week now, and I’ve built up a fair number of hours of gameplay so far. I’m currently at level 20, but I’ve been focusing more on the side missions (the Raids / Strikes) and the Crucible than I have the main story (which I’ve heard is rather short). Though, I have played a bit of the story, I guess. I’ve just met with the Awoken guys and I’m on the second Venus mission. That could be over half way, I have no clue. I’ve played all of the story on my own so far, with just a little help from randomers who join the world before the ‘no respawn’ events. But the most fun that I’ve had on Destiny didn’t come in my first play-through of the first few missions. It actually came in my second play-through, when I was helping my brother grind out the early levels.
Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed my first play-through. I was impressed by the graphics, the gameplay was solid and there was a good level of challenge that caused me to struggle on my own, but not to such an extent that it was impossible for me to get anywhere. I like that in a game. Still, when I finally got around to playing those missions with somebody, they seemed to shoot up on the ‘enjoyable scale’. I’ve always been a fan of playing games co-operatively, with split-screen multiplayer games being my favourite genre of co-op fun. So I was itching to play Destiny with someone, in a fire-squad, for quite some time (despite all of the multiplayer being online, beggars can’t be choosers). I finally got that chance once my brother had purchased the game. Even though, at the time, I was level 10 and he was just starting out, playing through the missions together was still a ton of fun. I was slightly overpowered for the enemies but I ended up just taking pot-shots at the bad guys, trying to get as many headshots as possible whilst leaving the majority for my brother to pick off and gain some XP. He levelled up pretty quickly, mainly because I was showing him the best places to grind. Even though I had seen it all before, I really enjoyed playing through those missions again… probably more so than I did the first time around. So, for me, I think the real power of Destiny comes from its multiplayer.
It’s a good game to play on your own, don’t get me wrong. I mean, it isn’t going to ‘change the world’ and you could never compare it to single-player games like Skyrim or Fallout 3, but it is fun to play, for sure. Destiny is a strange beast; it seems to have borrowed aspects of so many different game genres. Though I think its best comparison is Borderlands cut with the PvP elements of Halo 3. And, just like Borderlands, its campaign is ten times better when you play it with someone. There’s nothing better than that sense of comradery that you get when you play a game like Destiny with a buddy. It’s like you’re battling side-by-side to save the world, and through that shared experience it creates an enjoyment that’s a hundred times more powerful than playing it by yourself. That’s the best way to enjoy the Destiny campaign and, to be honest, I think you’d be doing a disservice to the game if you played it by yourself, or refused to at least try it with someone else. The game is made to be shared – it’s what the whole focus is about.
I’ve noticed that Destiny has been getting a few bad review scores of late, and part of me wonders if it’s because the person reviewing it didn’t play it with a friend. When I was playing it on my own, even with the PvP elements, I felt that the game was deserving of a 7.5/8 (7.5 to be a tad harsh). It wasn’t because it was bad, I actually quite enjoyed it most of the time, it was just nothing special. But, after playing it with my brother (and really getting my teeth into the Crucible) I’d happily give the game an 8.5/9 (9 to be a tad overzealous). Destiny’s true strength lies in the PvP and in the co-operative modes of Strikes and Raids – that’s what will keep the game feeling fresh and ensure that people come back; much like GTAV achieved through GTA Online.
So, if you’ve purchased Destiny and you’re wondering why you feel like you’re not getting the most out of it, it might be because you’re only playing it by yourself. Try to encourage a few friends to get the game (3 including yourself is a good number) or, alternatively, look on a few forums to see if there are people out there, like yourself, whose friends don’t want to get the game. You’ll probably find that missing element that will elevate Destiny from a good game to a great game… and you never know, you might make a few BFFs in the process.