“Destiny” has been available for more than a week now, and it’s no secret the first-person shooter is selling extraordinarily well. The highly-anticipated title reached $500 million in sales worldwide within 24 hours of release -- so why are critics giving “Destiny” such mediocre reviews?
Before the game hit shelves for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 on Sept. 9, developer Bungie, Inc. prohibited journalists from publishing reviews of the online game. The studio felt that “Destiny” should be graded only when players were able to fully experience its social capabilities with “thousands of gamers to ensure each potential public space would be populated.”
“Typically, games receive their report cards before they become available to the public. We don’t believe ‘Destiny’ is a typical shooter. You could experience the storyline, jump into a few rounds of competitive multiplayer, and form a Fireteam of friends and take on all the Strikes and you would just be getting started,” Bungie community manager David Dague said on Sept. 5. “So, reviews of Destiny will wait for your arrival. On day one, you’ll be rubbing elbows with the pageant judges, so look sharp.”
It may have been a savvy move on Bungie and publisher Activision Publishing, Inc.'s part. When the game reached players on Sept. 9, millions were still in full anticipation mode-- especially after all hype that surrounded “Destiny’s” alpha and beta releases, which were played by millions of users.
“Destiny’s” alpha ran from June 12-16, and Bungie reported that more than 6 million games were played during the test. The beta ran in late July and ended on July 27, with more than 4.6 million players involved. While the beta was first accessible to only those who pre-ordered the game, Bungie opened the test to all players on July 24, allowing anyone with a working console to take part in the test run.
It’s difficult to ignore all the hype surrounding “Destiny,” but it seems that a number of critics – and some users -- aren’t buying into it.
“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 said, scoring the game 6/10. “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.”
Another player agreed.
“It’s a fun game, I’ve already dumped a lot of time into it…but it does feel like it’s lacking something,” user EarlyDestinyAdopter said in IBT's comments forum. “Hoping the game gets betters with the expansions, but, the game should feel more complete than it is now for $60.00.”
User Ghost felt similar. “I've seen nothing but middling reviews and am inclined to say that Bungie/Activision did it to themselves. The ad campaign is so compelling that I, a man who often waits to hear first impressions before slapping down my cash, bought just after launch. And, a few hours in, I thought: So...that's it?"
Various other complaints addressed the lack of a split screen in co-op mode, a shortage of areas to explore and a low level of character development.
How can Bungie and Activision improve the game? Creating great downloadable content is a first step. “Destiny” will receive its first DLC, “The Dark Below,” in December. Listening to player feedback will also be useful in eliminating or changing features that don’t work with the game.
How would you improve “Destiny?” Leave a comment below.