Press Play 9/24/14: In Defense of ‘Destiny’

Why Bungie’s latest matters more than you think it does

Conor Battles, Editor-in-Chief, Arts & Entertainments Editor

It’s easy to be jaded towards the video game industry.
2014 has so far been a year of empty hype; ambitious new IPs such as Titanfall and Watch_Dogs were talked up as genre-defining projects that would revolutionize gaming, only to be released to middling reviews and disappointed players. As microtransactions and pay-to-win models begin making their way into AAA titles, the major releases of the year started to seem like little more than cash-grabs from greedy publishers who put no care or thought put into the quality of the game. The “gamergate” scandal that rocked major news outlets such as IGN and Kotaku over the summer left a sour taste in the mouths of many who previously held these organizations in high regard. With all this bad press, cynicism just becomes par for the course.
There’s a lot wrong with the state of the video game industry, but one new title may be able to put all that at ease.
Bungie’s Destiny launched last month, laden, like Titanfall before it, with promises of new and exciting features that would revitalize the stagnant first-person shooter genre. For over a year over its release, Destiny was talked up, and now that it’s been released, it is plain to see that it lives up to the hype.
While perhaps not quite as revolutionary as Bungie had envisioned, Destiny is one of the sleekest, most enjoyable shooters to hit consoles in quite some time. The classes, progression system, and gameplay mechanics are pulled off with all the finesse that ex-Halo developers Bungie is capable of. The loot system and open-world nature of the game is reminiscent of all the best parts of Borderlands, without that franchise’s cartoonish style.
That Destiny will do anything to change the face of gaming is up for debate, but at its core, it is a fantastic game. Almost everything about it works flawlessly, and the few problems it brings to the table, such as a definite lack of endgame content and repetitive level design, are things that can easily be fixed in future installments.
 Destiny’s success as a game is an achievement in its own right, but what makes it stand out is its ability to singlehandedly restore confidence to a video game industry plagued with controversy and negative press. 2013 saw the release of several quality games, and, while 2014 has been decidedly poorer and more frustrating by comparison, fourth quarter releases like Destiny can change the course of the industry. Maybe Bungie’s legacy doesn’t end with Halo; maybe it ends with a franchise that saves an industry.