Talking tech since 2003

We’re two weeks (and a day) past the release of Destiny, the big-budget title from famed Halo studio Bungie, and, so far, a lot of the reviews haven’t been that great.

The game currently sits at a 77 on Metacritic, which is a somewhat disappointing score based on the amount of time the game was in development and the money spent on it (which has been rumored to be close to $500 million). Many reviewers are looking to the story, claiming it’s missing heart and soul. Others feel like the game is attempting to be an MMO but leaves out quite a bit of what makes MMOs great.

There are some legitimate gripes, don’t get me wrong. But after spending a little more than two weeks with the game, I’m extremely happy with the purchase.

But I might be playing a little differently than everyone else.

destiny-picWhen I got the game, I started playing the story missions with my friend. This has continued through every story mission so far. We’re currently on Venus and both have Level 9 characters. Playing the game with someone you can talk to and share the experience with has really made the difference to this point.

I played the beta toward the end of July, and I can honestly say that having someone to tag along, even through those areas I played previously, made them a lot more enjoyable.

Destiny becomes a totally different game when the social aspect, which is random or otherwise nonexistent in a one-man fireteam, plays a bigger part. Worrying about the story, or really caring that sections of levels repeat themselves, doesn’t happen much if at all when you’re chatting while playing. You don’t pay attention to that as much; instead, you’re talking about things you’ve discovered in the game, or how you’re upgrading your character.

The achilles heel for Destiny is really the communication system, at this point. But that’s something Bungie can easily fix if it tries. By introducing proximity chat, instituting matchmaking, and allowing matchmade players to talk to one another, Bungie can make Destiny way better without retooling the entire game.

Playing with a friend is the reason I’ve enjoyed it so far, and is the reason I believe that other reviewers haven’t taken to it as much. Even though it’s possible to play alone, Destiny really isn’t built with that experience in mind. Unfortunately, Bungie didn’t do enough to serve players who don’t have friends at the ready to jump into the game with them.

If Bungie can fix that, I think you’d see some better review scores.

I’m curious — what are you thinking about Destiny so far? Sound off below.

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