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September 9, 2014

Disclaimer: Any game that intends to grow and expand over a long period of time should be frequently revisited by critics and players; otherwise, you’re doing the project a grave injustice. What we review here is merely the starting point of what could be a definitive experience.

Destiny is perhaps the most intriguing yet flummoxing dichotomy I’ve ever reviewed. On the one hand, it’s the epitome of everything that's wrong with video games today; i.e., an uninspired story that takes a backseat to the action. On the other hand, it’s an evolutionary step for the first-person shooter genre and it’s undeniably entertaining. There’s nothing here you haven’t seen before but as I’ve stated many time in previous articles, it’s the combination of these familiar elements that make the game special. That being said, “special” is a relative term and reliant upon emotionally subjective and candidly objective observations.

Graphically, the PlayStation 4 version impresses. Again, though, we stumble upon a double-edged sword: The wonderful detail, excellent special effects, and super fluid animations are proof of the project’s extreme level of polish and technical sophistication. There are some beautifully designed areas, too, but there are also lots of bland, uninteresting areas that have no personality, no appeal. Borderlands had a similar problem in my estimation. Still, if you’re analyzing the game solely on its individual technical merits, there’s no doubt that Destiny is a solid achievement and indicative of a true-next-gen presentation.

The audio provides the player with added atmosphere and intensity, which is indeed the hallmark of quality sound. There’s a subtle mysticism to the tracks that accompany your standard travels, and a driving insistence when faced with sticky situations. The effects once again take center-stage, as they’re a perfect accompaniment to the graphical effects. The professional voice performances are another highlight. However, I think Bungie missed an opportunity to greatly enhance the experience by including a heftier, more diverse sampling of tracks, especially when exploring distinctly different landscapes. Perhaps this could be built upon in the future.

Developer Bungie may have bitten off more than they could chew with this production. Either that, or they took an extremely ambitious first step with the full intention of expanding upon a fantastic foundation. I imagine it might be the latter but if that’s true, the game wasn’t necessarily advertised as a “first-step” game. I understand that you can’t really sell a game by saying, “well, see, it’ll get bigger and better over time.” That doesn’t generate $500 million in 24 hours. At the same time, I can also understand why many gamers feel, to some extent, betrayed. They wanted a next-gen experience now .