Destiny Gets Some Big Changes, But It May Be a Lost Cause
Destiny got a major overhaul recently, if the 14-hour download that plagued my PlayStation 4 on Tuesday was any indication.
Bungie calls the patch “Destiny 2.0” to indicate that, seriously, this is the big one. The changes include a restructuring of the story missions, a simplification of the leveling system, and the removal of Peter Dinklage’s vocals in favor of an expanded script featuring Nolan North as your A.I. companion. You can read the full patch notes here.
The modifications seem to answer many of the complaints leveled at Destiny since its release a year ago, aiming to make the game more narratively coherent, more consistently rewarding, and less daunting for new or casual players. In addition, it’s paving the way for the game’s third (and biggest, by far) expansion, The Taken King, set to release on September 15.
It all seems like potentially good news to this on-again, off-again Destiny fan. But I’m not yet convinced. How different is the “new and improved” Destiny actually going to be? And does different necessarily mean better?
I’ve played a lot of Destiny over the past year, and while I’ve enjoyed my time with the game, it’s hard to call it good. It aims to be an interesting place with interesting things to do—and arguably fails on both counts.
The world it offers is breathtaking but empty, and most of the game’s encounters are constrained and dull. If it’s worth playing at all, it’s because Bungie’s designers remain great at making guns that feel good to shoot, and because shooting monsters with your friends is fun.
I’m worried all of Destiny 2.0’s changes are going to add up to nothing more than quality of life tweaks in a blandly sci-fi themed casino. You can reshuffle all you want, but you can’t just make boring missions interesting without redesigning them entirely.
I’ve sensed a lot of anticipation for this new wave of Destiny content, and I think it has less to do with what’s actually been promised and more to do with the idea of Destiny that’s stuck around in the gaming community’s collective psyche since it was announced. The idea of a massively multiplayer sci-fi world helmed by the people behind Halo is a seductive one, and the game oozes with so much promise that it’s easy to imagine the Destiny that could have been: sprawling, generous, smart. Every new piece of content Activision ekes out seems to renew that hope. Is this when Destiny is finally going to become the game it was supposed to be?
I’m going to be digging into 2.0 and The Taken King over the coming weeks. I’m looking forward to it. It might be good, and even if it’s mediocre, my friends and I will get to catch up over pyrotechnics. But we should probably temper our expectations. Destiny may be destined to disappoint.
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