I wanted to give Destiny: The Taken King a proper chance because Bungie put so much energy into revamping the game for its second year. Sadly, it failed the capture my full attention because everything about the game was so mind numbingly dull that the combat (inarguably the best thing about Destiny) failed to hold my attention.
I started from the beginning with a new character, this time on the Xbox One. For reasons I could never figure out, my PlayStation 4 just couldn’t keep a connection for longer than an hour (indicative of a network issue I’ve tried to fix for awhile), making extended play impossible. Destiny on Xbox One was much more stable, allowing me to get farther into the game than I could before. Bungie has made it possible via a special item that will boost your character to level 25. This lets you skip vanilla Destiny and jump right into The Taken King. I decided to play through the original game and boy, Bungie must have tweaked the leveling system because I blew through the first twenty character levels sooner than I expected. As such, I was overpowered for many of the later Moon and Venus Strikes to the point where I earned little to no experience and acquired less desirable loot. Just like World of Warcraft, there’s very little incentive for a returning character to take on older dungeons and in the case of Destiny, skipping these areas meant the already paper thin plot is torn to shreds.
For awhile, I thought I could do without worrying about what my Guardian was supposed to be doing on different planets. Boiled down to its pure essence, Destiny is nothing more than shooting enemies in a large open area, travel through a few corridors and canyons in order to reach more open areas and kill enemies. The game asks very little of the player and often, its idea of difficulty is throwing waves of enemies in your direction or pitting you against a boss with so much health that it never feels like you’re doing enough to justify the time. This is especially noticeable when players quit in the middle of early Strikes. The same could be said of any MMO, but it’s far more comfortable pressing hotkeys and relying on teammates than have to pull the controller’s trigger so much. And as a brief side note, the right trigger of my Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare controller squeaks every time it’s pulled.
A general sense of fatigue settles pretty quickly. After playing the game for six hours or so, I started listening to audio books and watching Netflix during Destiny play sessions. I did eventually get my way to the Taken King‘s story content but by then I was heavily disinterested in what story the game was trying to tell. No one was running Strikes to fight Crota, and without that experience the battle against Oryx meant nothing to me. I thought about spending most of my time in multiplayer, since that was the most entertaining portion (I played quite a bit of it on the PS4), but at that point, I’d be better off with The Master Chief Collection, because Halo is a lot more fun – busted as the MCC is.
By the way : good on Nolan North for stepping in as the Ghost in place of Peter Dinklage. He sounds a lot like Guilty Spark, but he seems more engaged and uses lots of inflections to keep the speech pattern interesting. North’s performance is leagues better than Dinklage, though it can’t save the terrible and ridiculous dialog. The Halo games weren’t exactly Charles Dickens, but good lord. The writing in Destiny is not very good.
I really wanted to like Destiny, but it seems I never got over my, “Oh, that’s it?” response to the Alpha. Other people have found ways to enjoy it, which is great and more power to them, but my experience with Destiny 2.0 has convinced me that the game is rote, hollow, and derivative.