Hype: The Video Game. Begin rant.
I’ve been consistently and frighteningly bothered by the shift the gaming community has began to take. As the demographics of gaming begin to encompass more and more of the population, fewer and fewer are left that seem to have a clue of how the industry works. We’ve reached a state where the gaming industry is treated like any other entertainment medium. In my opinion, however, gaming is drastically different from almost everything else and should be treated as such. When a new game is hyped to a million degrees of intensity, and the majority of the gaming community gets on board the hype train, disaster is almost sure to happen. Most gamers who have been a part of this for a while understand, at least to some extent, that the process of developing a game has a myriad of steps and that there is no way to assure the quality of a product until it is in the hands of the consumers. Yet there have been several games this year alone that have seized onto the easily dazzled sections of the modern gaming community and entrance them with phrases like “the evolution of” or “the next big thing in”. When a game is released and is shown to not be the second coming of Half-Life, there are loud moans, gnashing of teeth, and wails of upset gamers who didn’t get the genre defining experience that they believed they were receiving. The problem rests with two parties, the gaming community and game publishers. It takes a purposeful effort to hype a game beyond levels of possibility just to get the pre-order dollars in. I’ll admit, I do pre-order games, but I almost always only do it for games that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’ll be wanting, no matter what other people say. Games like Dragon Age: Inquisition, Assassin’s Creed Unity, and especially The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt are all games that I know are going to be on my shelf. I pre-order not for the bonuses, but for the knowledge that a game is paid off and that I don’t have to worry about have $60 when it releases. This applies especially true during the months like November when everything under the sun releases. Anyways, that’s my rant about the culture that gaming has found itself in. On to the review at hand.
Destiny confounded me before and after release. I didn’t let myself get too hyped about it until Bungie, the game’s developer, opened the Beta to everyone. I got to play that game for a long day and loved every minute of it. I decided that it was a game that I would want, so I went out and pre-ordered it. That deposit however wasn’t a sure thing since the news about the level cap and lack of matchmaking in raids led me to pulling my pre-order. How awkward it felt to find myself actually getting the game a week after release. A few friends of mine had picked it up and needed a third member for their fireteam. Destiny is built around the three-man fireteam system, and the idea of playing the game with others really interested me and tipped me back onto the other side of the fence. Since then… well, all of my free time has been spent playing Destiny. Is Destiny the best game out this year? In my opinion, it is. Now to be fair I haven’t bought many new titles this year so I’m not one to give an official ruling on this, but I’m enjoying it more than I did Titanfall or Watch Dogs (not putting in the “_”, I have standards). Both games I thoroughly enjoyed, but Destiny just has a bit more of an appeal to me. It’s hard to pin down, but I think the main thing that keeps me playing is the finely attuned system of advancement.
Oh, I can hear it now. I can hear the sounds of angry gamers and other people with loud opinions that the reward system in Destiny is broken. I’ll admit that it’s not perfect, no game is, but the fact that someone has to work in order to gain good equipment is a great thing in my opinion. Now that Bungie has patched out the “Cave of Death,” the best way to gain better equipment after the end of the story and level cap is achieved is to actually play the game. Yes, there is a lot of backtracking and replaying of old content, but this can allow for a play to develop actual skill instead of relying on stats. I absolutely love this. Yes, it gets pretty repetitive at times but the feeling of grinding on something is relaxing to me after a long day. Maybe I’m weird, but that’s how I feel about it.
Destiny‘s biggest weakness, however, is its weak story. A friend and I who were playing the last mission in the game were commenting on how disappointed we were that the story ends where it does, but that we felt the game has an extreme amount of potential in the future. I think that the fate of Destiny‘s story relies on how well the DLC coming out in December gives the world more flesh and depth. Also, there needs to be a consistent amount of new content. If you want your players to be playing your game for an extended amount of time after release, you need to add more content on a consistent basis. Without anything new I can easily see the game becoming stale after a few months.
Is Destiny worth buying if you still haven’t picked it up? I can’t answer that for you. If you like a game that you can sink a lot of time into without becoming the omnipotent being that so many other games allow, this might be for you. The level system does not scale exponentially, so a low-level strike mission (missions made for a full team of three players with a boss at the end) can still kill you if you’re not careful, regardless of your level. As someone who doesn’t have time to play each and every game that comes out, Destiny was a solid investment. I’ve spent 44 hours on my level 26 Warlock and have enjoyed every minute of it, and I still have two more classes to do when I feel like it. If you want a game where the rewards are doled out quickly and consistently, maybe give this a skip.
I’d be willing to guess that I’ll have more to say about Destiny the longer the game is out. Bungie has the seed of something awesome, they only need to treat it right and it can grow into the next amazing science fiction video game franchise. Just don’t make me pay another $60 for each new chapter and I’ll be satisfied.
So I know that at the start of this month I made a post about all the things I was going to post about and then didn’t post at all. I apologize. This month was surprisingly busy with school work and what free time I did find I put into gaming or writing. The problem with having a predominantly gaming focused blog is that the subject you write about by its very nature takes away time to write about it. If I wasn’t busy with stuff like school then I could work on this full-time and publish several reviews and editorial posts a month, but right now it’s just not possible. There is one thing that I have been working on that will be making its way here, even if I suspect most of my audience won’t care too much about it. I’ve been working on a world to set stories in, and the first book in The Witcher series inspired me to start this with writing a few short stories and the first one is almost done. Coming in at a little above five thousand words right now, it’s of actual short story length. I’ve been really tempted to e-publish it for 99 cents in the hope of making a few bucks off of the work, but I’ve decided to publish it here for free. Hopefully that’ll be done within a week. Also, I was going to review the second Dark Souls II DLC but I actually never finished it. Hit a wall with a boss and kind of burnt myself out.
So yeah, thanks to everyone who reads what I write. Each and every view gives me a little drop more confidence in what I do, even if I don’t do it as much as I’d like.