Press Start

Video game news, reviews and commentary with Gazette reporter Jake Magee.

Press Start: Five reasons why I was wrong about 'Destiny'

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Jake Magee
September 9, 2015

Back when “Destiny” first released, I was one of those guys who loved the game at launch but quickly became bored with its repetitive nature and intimidating complexity. Only weeks after first creating my Warlock and diving into the online first-person shooter, I'd beaten the paltry story and hit a leveling wall. Frustrated by a lack of progress and direction, I quit, deeming the game mediocre.

In preparation for my review of “The Taken King,” the biggest expansion to hit the game when it launches next week, I decided to dive back into the world of “Destiny” to become better acquainted with how it functions. Much of “Destiny” will change completely with “The Taken King,” but I wanted to understand what I never could the first time around before it morphs into an entirely new beast.

What I found surprised me. Not only did I learn how to properly spend my time in the endgame after beating the main story, but I found myself enjoying “Destiny” in ways I never had before. I was wrong about “Destiny” for several reasons, and I couldn't be more excited for what's in store with “The Taken King.”


Love it or hate it, there's no denying that “Destiny” has some excellent shooting mechanics. If you're a fan of first-person shooters, you're going to find something to love about “Destiny's” main draw.

Guns aren't as varied as they could be (standard rifles, shotguns and snipers make up the main arsenal players carry), but they respond as fluidly as you'd find in any AAA shooter. Landing critical blows on enemies is easy with lightning-quick iron-sight aiming. It never gets old watching an enemy implode after landing a hit in its weak point.

The responsive controls don't make “Destiny” a cakewalk, though. Expect to die if you're ever overwhelmed or leave cover for too long. And forget about taking on enemies even one or two levels above you. You'll die faster than you can regret taking on a quest you weren't ready for.

I never had a problem with “Destiny's” shooting mechanics when I first played it in 2014. In fact, it was the game's one redeeming quality. But as I've dived into “Destiny” this past week, I've found myself appreciating even more just how fun it is to blast apart endless waves of enemies.


After I beat “Destiny,” a task that only takes a handful of hours, I found myself at a loss. Here was this massive, sprawling galaxy to explore, and I didn't know what to do.

It didn't help that “Destiny” can be confusing and intimidating to newcomers. There are story missions, patrols, strikes, raids and, of course, competitive multiplayer in the form of the Crucible. There are factions with their own reputation meters to work on filling up, a plethora of different types of currencies to collect and more unique vendors than I can remember.

Most perplexing of all is light, a random stat attached to pieces of armor that determines players' levels after they reach level 20 through standard experience.

Confused? Me too.

At least I was until I studied what everything meant. I recently took the time to learn what Strange Coins are, what they're used for and how to earn them. I read articles detailing what Vanguard Reputation is and how to earn corresponding marks to buy new gear. I asked friends questions to learn that playing strikes is more up my alley than competing in the Crucible.

“Destiny” doesn't do a great job explaining what to occupy your time with after the story's done and you reach level 20. But with some foresight, it's not hard to figure out that the endgame is where “Destiny's” real fun begins. And with “The Taken King,” a lot of the confusing processes are being streamlined to make them less off-putting to newcomers, making the upcoming expansion that much more attractive.


One thing I didn't fully grasp my first time through “Destiny” is players' obsession with loot. I was content to use the gear and weapons I found through random drops, but that's not true for everyone.

Some fans will farm certain currencies for hours and hours just to afford that one helmet or exotic weapon. I tried this, once, not long after I quit. I learned that Xur, a special vendor who only appears on the weekends, was selling Icebreaker, an exotic (read: incredibly powerful and rare) sniper rifle. Seeing everyone tweeting about it stirred me to boot up “Destiny” and jump into matches with some elite players to do what it took to earn the weapon.

Afterwards, when I'd acquired the weapon after hours of gaming, I felt a strong sense of accomplishment. I found something I wanted, had a limited time to grab it and got to work, doing everything it took to earn it. It felt good.

Of course, “The Taken King” is going to introduce a slew of weapons that will render the Icebreaker worthless, but I now know the fun associated with working toward coveted gear—a big draw for many “Destiny” players.


One thing “Destiny” is not is a single-player game. Yes, you can play most of it on your own and get through it just fine, but you'd be missing out on what makes the game fun.

“Destiny” is a shared world experience, which means even when doing missions alone, you'll pass other players attending to their own quest logs. The sense of solitude is hard to come by in “Destiny” because there are constantly other players around you doing their own things.

Grabbing a few buddies to play with doesn't only make the game more fun but establishes a stronger feeling of motivation and, upon victory, success. After taking down a difficult boss or getting a lucky drop while playing with friends, it feels like a shared win among everyone.

Plus, talking with pals while doing strike after strike makes the grind feel less like a slog.


There's no getting around the fact that “Destiny” is repetitive by design. After beating the story, your choices are to compete against other players online or participate in various missions to raise your level and get better equipment. Either way, considering the limited scope of options, you'll be seeing a lot of the same locations and doing a lot of the same things over and over again.

And that's OK. Because the base gameplay is such a joy, I don't find much issue with playing 10 strikes in a row or doing the same two-hour raid twice a week. What makes it fun is playing with friends and that ever-present anticipation that you're going to find an awesome piece of gear or weapon to replace whatever you've been using the past 10 hours.

I know it's not for everyone. Just a year ago, I would have criticized “Destiny's” boring repetitiveness, but now that I understand what motivates fans to play the same level two dozen times in a row, it's not such a big deal to me. Downloadable content mixes things up a bit, and with “The Taken King,” players will have more new things to do since the game first launched.

I'm glad I gave “Destiny” a second chance, because I, for one, can't wait.

Video game columnist Jake Magee has been with GazetteXtra since 2014. His opinion is not necessarily that of Gazette management. Let him know what you think by emailing [email protected], leaving a comment below, or following @jakemmagee on Twitter.

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