At the moment Destiny holds a metascore of 75. The reviews that have come in and aren’t, more smartly, reviewing as an ongoing process have been mixed.
This is unexpected for a game that was so hyped as the next big thing it practically jumped off our screens and clubbed us in the head if we didn’t preorder it. Depending on who you talked to the alpha and the beta suggested that we had something truly amazing to look forward to on release day. What we actually got was a pretty straightforward continuation of that beta and a solid, if limited, MMO style experience. Things are just getting started though, we know a huge investment went into this game and it will only get bigger.
Destiny isn’t quite like other games and I don’t mean in the gameplay department. While we can all struggle with letting go of $60 for an unproven new IP Destiny is more than just that. Bungie has said that they want it to have a 10 year life span. That means $60 is the entry free, the cover charge. What you will have to provide, unless you are comfortable just letting it go after the medium-length main campaign, is a serious investment of time. It also means commitment, Destiny basically has to become your go-to online shooter where your attention stays for extended periods of time.
With all this in mind you have to ask yourself, is a game that’s reviewing this poorly worth my getting involved? It is best to get started while everyone else does and while the hype is still on a roll or you may miss out on any number of goodies plus the ability to just soak up the fun with your friends that are already sucked up into the hype machine.
The answer is to go ahead and toss the scores by the wayside. You can’t really slap a number on something that is incomplete and in its infancy. I know it’s tempting to look at the score and then make a snap judgment but in this case you want to do a special kind of homework.
First, find or stick with a reviewer or site that you trust. You might even want to stay away from big sites whose livelihood depends on those huge Destiny ads that you’ve been seeing. I’m not saying their reviews are bought and paid for but there is a psychology behind who butters your bread. Smaller sites run by gamers with nothing to gain or lose are often more trustworthy. If you think you’ve got a kindred spirit at a big site though then go with your gut.
Watch out for comparisons, they can be helpful in understanding how the mechanics function but when gamers are attached to a certain online shooter everything else tends to become awkward for them. Also you want to make sure that the reviewer is cognizant of where the game is setting up a framework to grow without basing their review on potential more than anything else. It’s a balancing act, you certainly want to know where it can grow but you always want those expectations based in reality.
Pay attention to the early impressions of network stability. Are people getting disconnected a lot? Are they noticing lag? How long are the loading times if the player gets ahead of the map? You’ll want a few opinions on these matters since they can depend on where you are in the country.
The foundation of a good online experience lies in the basics of functionality. If all of the gameplay systems run smoothly and are user friendly then you know you’ll want to keep coming back. Are the reviewers finding everything easy to navigate? More importantly, when the action is ramped up and the fire team is assaulting a very busy position how well are the basic mechanics of firing, reloading, positioning, jumping, targeting, and cooperating going down? Balance of controls is a major point that will carry forward. Do the maps as described hold up to your standards? If most outlets are saying that these things hold together then you know that the product won’t begin to break down as it grows and will require fewer patches than current online shooters tend to. Fewer patches means fewer things to go wrong.
So far my experience has been mostly buttery smooth and satisfying. However we must finally consider the potential for some reviewers to feel the inevitable gigantic letdown after months of absolutely impossible to live up to hype. So watch out for anyone hung up on whether or not the game redefines or revolutionizes anything. As a cross-gen title in its infancy there was always about a zero chance of that happening.
Whatever the scores say Destiny will probably have a pretty bright future but whether or not it is for you will require some more homework than you’re used to. If all else fails, listen to word of mouth from other online gamers and just remember to take these review number scores with a grain of salt and pay attention to the content more than anything. Overall they just can’t be totally accurate at this time but are not useless or just based on opinion.