Des­tiny

Trav­eller’s tales

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Comics -

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

£ 59.99 | For­mat re­viewed: PS4 Also avail­able on: Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3 Pub­lisher: Ac­tivi­sion

Bungie

re­de­fined sci- fi shoot­ers with the sem­i­nal Halo se­ries, but after leav­ing Master Chief be­hind for star sys­tems new, the in­evitable ques­tion was: what next? How about the most ex­pen­sive game ever made?

Re­port­edly cost­ing $ 500m, few games have ar­rived with the bur­den of ex­pec­ta­tion that Des­tiny is sad­dled with. Rush through the scant main mis­sions about a dark­ness con­sum­ing the galaxy and you might be baf­fled as to how such an astro­nom­i­cal sum was spent on six hours of con­fused and un­der­whelm­ing sto­ry­telling. But the real jour­ney be­gins when the story ends.

Hit level 20, the nom­i­nal level cap, and a world of pos­si­bil­i­ties opens up. Shoot­ing mil­i­tarised space aliens will take up the majority of your time, but the un­der­ly­ing struc­ture is more like World Of War­craft – an MMO where grind­ing for bet­ter gear and em­bark­ing on ul­tra- tough Raids with five friends is your ul­ti­mate goal. This can be achieved by re­play­ing Strike mis­sions, jour­ney­ing into finely bal­anced mul­ti­player arena the Cru­cible or pick­ing up Boun­ties, mini ob­jec­tives used to fast- track your progress. If you’re pre­pared to put in the hours it’s an ad­dic­tive and hugely re­ward­ing endgame.

Part of the prob­lem though is that Des­tiny does a ter­ri­ble job of ex­plain­ing it­self. There are mul­ti­ple, dis­tinct ven­dors sell­ing ar­mour and weapons, none of which get more than a cur­sory in­tro­duc­tion. Ex­pect to learn a lot from dis­cussing it with friends or by trawl­ing fo­rums. The same is true of Bungie’s world­build­ing. The art di­rec­tion is sen­sa­tional, im­pos­si­ble vis­tas ripped straight from the cov­ers of ’ 60s sci- fi nov­els brought beau­ti­fully to life, but the sto­ry­telling is un­for­giv­ably bad. The majority of the world’s lore

The real jour­ney be­gins when the story ends

is hid­den be­hind un­lock­able cards that can only be viewed via Bungie’s web­site. It’s a bar­rier to ex­plo­ration that leaves the world feel­ing shal­low.

Bungie has a 10- year plan for Des­tiny though, so there’s plenty of op­por­tu­nity to make amends for the nar­ra­tive’s duff first chap­ter. And cru­cially, mur­deris­ing in Des­tiny is al­ways fun. Bungie know their way around an FPS and the shoot­ing is Halo’s genre- defin­ing gun­play evolved and per­fected – weighty, tac­ti­cal and oh- so sat­is­fy­ing. Thirty hours in there’s no sign of it get­ting old.

Go in ex­pect­ing a Mass Ef­fect- style sweep­ing space opera you can play on your lone­some and pre­pare for dis­ap­point­ment. Embrace its idio­syn­cra­sies, and drag a few friends along for the ride, and Des­tiny is worth ev­ery penny. Jor­dan Far­ley

Bat­tling big ar­moured bad guys: never gets old.

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