So far we’re just getting déjà vu from Bungie’s ‘unique’ sci-fi shooter
Since their respective releases, the PS4 and Xbox One have been experiencing a rather slow start. Despite a few memorable exclusives, neither console has really made us feel as though the next-gen era is truly in full swing. Because of this, gamers are having to rely heavily on the promise of top quality upcoming titles to keep them salivating over what this generation will bring.
One title that has received a massive amount of attention as we approach its September release is Destiny. Since its announcement in 2013, critics and commentators everywhere are discussing how incredible they think this game is going to be and the general consensus seems to be that this is one of the first great next-gen titles. We at Screen Robot, however, are struggling to see what all of the fuss is about.
Destiny comes from Bungie, the creators of the hugely popular Halo series. It will apparently feature a constantly developing open world setting and an in-depth class system that allows players to pick an avatar suitable to their play-style. Sites such as IGN have offered nothing but praise for what they’ve seen, suggesting that Destiny will allow players to “build a fully customised legendary hero”. But given that the game’s character creation relies on established and formulaic MMO stereotypes that Bungie themselves have admitted to take inspiration from, along with many other science fiction sources, it’s difficult to accept that this will be the hugely unique experience that IGN suggests.
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The fact is, everything gamers need to know about Destiny can be gleaned from the content its developers have chosen to release so far. An awful lot of time has been dedicated to explaining how this game has big, bombastic weapons and a few interesting kill-animations for their character’s special moves. Though some players have been sucked in by the flashing lights and gravity-defying acrobatics, it’s frankly depressing that a game so heavily tipped to be great is relying so much on deceptive nothings. The only noted advancement is that the game is visually striking, but that’s a given seeing as it is an experience on a far more powerful machine.
For a title whose developers continuously call “genre-bending” due to its massive open world setting mixed with RPG customisation and shared gameplay experience, there has been remarkably little that we haven’t seen before. We’ve seen plenty of co-op based shooting a la Borderlands, but Bungie has thus far made no attempt to show off what makes Destiny so unique. If they are so proud of how the improvements they have made to the genre, then why haven’t we seen them?
The more sympathetic of you out there may wish to suggest that Bungie are merely keeping their cards close to their chest and that more will be revealed in the game’s beta sessions this summer, but why wait? The fate of a new franchise like this can be sealed early on in the announcement stages, and if the innovations Bungie have worked so hard on are as impressive as they say then what’s the point in keeping them hidden from us? We all already know Bungie’s pedigree with grand and futuristic FPS combat from their success with the Halo games, so why are they just giving us more of the same in a pretty next-gen box?
In comparison, consider the early coverage of Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs. Since E3 in 2012, the gameplay demos presented to gamers at conferences and conventions have always sought to highlight the game’s biggest innovations. From day one Ubisoft have offered solid evidence as to exactly what sets their game apart from potential comparables. Watch Dog’s unique hacking mechanics and vastly interactive world have been given as much coverage as the elements that make it reminiscent of existing titles. Their coverage has shown us plenty of what we already know we love, but revealed even more of what we didn’t even know our games were missing.
If Bungie wasn’t so cagey about backing up their grand predictions with solid evidence then perhaps it would be easier to get excited about Destiny. But unless we see something genuinely innovative before it releases later this year, alongside the newest Call of Duty and Borderlands games, then there really isn’t much to separate it from the other first-person shooters.
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