Bungie’s action shooter “Destiny” is enjoying hot sales out of the gate. The open-world game launched last Tuesday for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3 and PS4, reaching $500 million within 24 hours, setting a record for the biggest franchise debut of all time.
But while sales figures are impressive, many reviews of the game are lackluster. Yes, “Destiny” is visually stunning and fun, but is Bungie’s latest release worthy of so much hype? A number of critics don’t think so.
“’Destiny’ exists in the shadow of multiple games,” The Escapist said on Thursday, “taking a little from each, and doing nothing truly remarkable with any of it. It’s a prime example of how the nebulous concept of “content” can be used to puff up a game without adding anything to it. There’s a ton of “stuff” in ‘Destiny.’ You’ll never want for things to do … but it’s terrible at providing motivation to do any of it.” The web site scored the game a 6/10.
“The disappointment of ‘Destiny’ is that it fails to capitalize on the possibilities. Story missions and strike missions have you taking to ‘Destiny's’ broad and beautiful settings with a friend or two at your side, but breadth isn't the game's primary calling card: it's repetition,” Gamespot said, also giving the title a 6/10.
“You might summarize ‘Destiny’ by the way in which it wraps up its story. Once the final, hackneyed closing scene finishes, fireteam members are awarded the same weapon, regardless of class, and a handful of currency,” Gamespot continued. “This reminder of how wholly unspecial you are is the big finale of a lavishly produced but troubled game that excels in the basics but lacks creativity and heart. It is role-playing grind in shooter form--an empty house built on a firm foundation.”
Polygon was also straightforward about its disappointment with the game.
“It's impossible to pinpoint an exact moment where ‘Destiny broke my heart,” the gaming site said last week. “The 30-plus hours I've spent in the game so far have been a slow rollout of small disappointments, each adding up to a growing sense of the emptiness at ‘Destiny's’ core.”
Polygon added “shooting is all it does” and that there are no “character relationships to explore, no crafting to speak of.”
Despite its less than stellar reception, the title is still selling impressively well. “Destiny” became the UK’s biggest new game launch of all time shortly after its debut last Tuesday.
"Since the beginning, we've been confident that our investment and belief in Destiny would pay off. But not many people believed we'd be able to say it did so on day one," said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing. "’Destiny’ is officially the biggest new franchise launch in our industry's history. It's also the highest-selling day one digital console release in history. We have more confidence than ever that 'Destiny' will become one of the iconic franchises of this generation, and Activision's next billion dollar brand.”
Will the game live up to its hype, or will players eventually grow weary of a game that leaves a "growing sense of emptiness?” Time will tell.