This week's Game Buzz sees us chat about Microsoft's acquisition of Mojang and Minecraft, and what the future might hold for both the studio and its wildly popular IP under new management. Now that Jon's had a chance to get cracking in Destiny, we also have a natter about Carl's review and the ongoing mix of feelings that Destiny manages to provoke.
Parental Advisory: We've tried to keep it as conversational and informal as possible, and you should be warned that there may be some instances of strong language.
In today's Destiny video, Carl and Matt investigate the new playlist of Combined Arms, touted as bringing vehicle-fuelled carnage to Bungie's title. However, as our duo found out over the course of the two games they played, that really wasn't the case. Watch the video above to see why they were so disappointed with Bungie's latest addition to the Crucible.
Do you consider 7/10 to be a bad score?
Have a real think about that one, and while you ponder that, here's a further, qualifying question to fit into our consumer-oriented editorial remit.
If you were looking forward to a game, would you be less likely to buy it if it received a 7/10 score or equivalent?
Converted mathematically into a star system, 7/10 equates to three and a half stars. Suddenly, it doesn't quite seem so bad. Hell, even 6/10 starts looking fairly attractive at that point. Put into pictures, the idea of suggesting that 7/10 might be something negative becomes an almost laughable notion. Sure, it isn't top marks, but it isn't bad. It's isn't even average. One certainly wouldn't call it mediocre.
And yet that's exactly what this industry seems hell bent on doing.
Part of this has to do with the pervasive and ever-growing power of review aggregation sites. The shadows that Metacritic and, to a lesser extent, GameRankings cast over the industry have been well-documented. There has been much talk of corruption in the past few weeks, but in amongst the personal attacks on industry figures, the howling banshee noises from various entrenched factions of the internet, the slandered "gamers" and the harassed journalists, and everyone caught in between, let's take a look at something simple and clear and easy: bonuses should not be predicated on aggregated review scores when the entire scoring system is broken.Click here to read more...
In today's episode of Game Night, the team jump into Destiny and attempt to do The Summoning Pit on Hard. Watch as Carl, Brendan, and Matt try to survive the many moon Wizards before taking on the final boss Phogoth. Highlights include the creation of another sport, Carl demanding Matt calls him a hero, and Brendan dying in the most inconvenient places.
Platform: PS4 (Tested) | Xbox One | PS3 | Xbox 360
This review was always going to a tough one to write. On one hand, this is my first new-gen title, and the choice to make the jump for Destiny puts a lot of expectation on it. On the other hand, the difficultly of separating naturally-grown excitement from the flow of mainstream hype has complicated matters, to the point that our Editor Matt laughed as he handed me the job. Add on top of this the fray that has been other reviews coming out within days of release (and the fact I hate review scores – there, I said it) as well as a huge focus on the budget for the new franchise, and it’s been a little daunting in all honesty. Still, a week of play in Bungie’s long-awaited new IP has allowed me to see most of what the game has to offer, so to hell with the numeric opinions of others, and to hell with the budget (I couldn’t care less if it cost $500 million or a fiver to make) – it’s time for me to help you decide if it’s worth your time and money.
Let’s go over the basics for any newcomers in our ranks. At its core, Destiny is a persistent online shooter that sees players choose between three class types and races, each with their own distinct abilities and cosmetic choices. From there, players are charged with levelling up and finding the shiniest of loot by either jumping into PvE encounters or PvP fights, with more content unlocking as the player’s level increases. It’s part MMO and part co-op encounters, all tied together with FPS combat that we know and love, but it’s also not quite like anything else that’s come before it. Despite the similar mechanics, it’s not Halo, and it’s not World of Warcraft either. The nearest thing to it (and I can’t believe I’m bringing it up again) is Defiance – the game that never realised its potential. In fact, there are a quite a few issues that Destiny shares with Trion’s online shooter, but there is one difference that separates the two – Destiny is fun to play for all the right reasons, and that in my mind overshadows the problems that are there.Click here to read more...
Having completed the story missions on the Moon, Carl & Matt decide to delve onto Destiny's second strike mission - The Summoning Pit - in our latest video dedicated to Bungie's latest. See how the duo (plus a random) get on against the hordes of the Hive, before taking on the end-of-level boss, Phogoth.
Be sure to check out the rest of our Destiny coverage, including our critical impressions vidcasts!
A week on from release and I'm still no closer to being able to answer what seems to be a simple question: is Destiny any good? Thankfully, I've exercised my power as editor and given the job of putting a score on the game to Carl, but I was at a gathering over the weekend and three people asked me variants of that very question, and I realised that I gave three completely different answers.
It's a game that still fills me with an enormous sense of ambivalence.
It's easy to see why Bungie warned everyone away from day one reviews. One of the most fun, and quite possibly reductive, activities of critically engaging with The Most Expensive Game Ever Made has been seeing which bits and bobs of gameplay have been borrowed from where. A healthy slab of Halo here, a dusting of Defiance there, left to marinade in a bunch of MMO conventions and practices. It's perhaps the aspects of that last one that have proven a little confusing for the console audience. Here in the land of PlayStations and Xboxes, we know little of power levelling. Endgame content is a term that is confusing and sounds suspicious.
Much has been made of Destiny's fairly bland story missions, most of which take you out of the even more bland expanses on Earth, the Moon, Venus and Mars, and funnel you into some sort of dungeon area. In my opinion, the bits of bespoke content (particularly the Strikes) have proven far more entertaining than the other solo/co-op content. It says much when the best bits of a seemingly expansive title such as this are actually the most narrow and focussed sections.
For console players who've shied away from MMOs, content gating will be a new experience -- the slow introduction to the game's systems and modes anathema to the regular slew of content shooters and action RPGs that deliver the whole package and tell you to run amok. Indeed, it's the primary excuse I've heard from people defending the practice: Destiny takes its cues from MMOs, you grind to level 20 and that's when the "real" game opens up!
My response to that thus far has been simple...
Why?Click here to read more...
We've already had a look at many of the modes the Crucible has to offer, but yesterday Bungie unlocked the Salvage game type in Destiny. As such, we sent in Carl & Matt to investigate the 3v3 action in our latest gameplay video from the launch week.
Be sure to check out the rest of our Destiny coverage, including our daily critical impressions vidcasts!
Probably the most fully-realised aspect of Destiny, today we turn out attention to the Crucible in this ongoing series of review impressions, taking a look at game modes, maps, and balancing.
We continue our in-game coverage of Destiny by following on from the recent Game Night, testing out more of the Crucible. Carl & Matt try their luck in two rounds of Clash, before going head-to-head in a Rumble match.
Stay tuned to the site for more of our on-going Destiny vidcasts, with the next episode focusing on the multiplayer modes of the Crucible.
Destiny reminds me of the original Assassin's Creed.
Wait, come back. Let me explain.
I remember when the original Assassin's Creed came out, and the hype train was a full speed for that particular title. I remember it being the game on everyone's lips, not least in part because one of the core aspects of the way that game handled felt so liberating and exciting. Running and climbing was fluid and intuitive and wildly freeing. I remember local multiplayer nights being replaced by us crowding round a single Xbox, swapping the controller back and forth every so often just as we had years before when the GTA series was in its infancy. This central mechanism, this seamless parkour and vertical freedom from which everything else seemed to derive, was incredibly exciting.
That might all seem a little daft now, but at the time it was extraordinarily exciting, coupled with open-ended assassination missions that gave you the run of the city and empowered you to make your own decisions. The core of the game was fresh and fun and brimmed with promise and potential.
That's the thing, though, it took Assassin's Creed II to take the franchise to the next level and really deliver on that potential, realising the promise hinted at in that first game. For all of its seemingly breathless originality and ambition at the time, the original Assassin's Creed was also repetitive, clunky, and fell far short of the grandiose ambitions underpinning its structure. Altair was a blank cipher, whose American voice sounded out of place amongst the heavily accented tones of every other character, and although the game around him had some nice ideas, it was mired in content that still had some way to go, its quality diminished by missions of an increasingly formulaic and repetitive nature, and a devolution into endless combat encounters the further along you got.
At the time of release, Electronic Gaming Monthly described it as "an incomplete template based on multiple other games" -- there were some unique flavours in the mix, but it took a sequel for Assassin's Creed to really find its feet and its complete identity.
That quote above could just as easily be applied to Destiny. In fact, it's even more pertinent here.Click here to read more...
Busy collecting Grimoire cards and Emblems in Destiny this week? Well, allow us to help you out. Through promotional trading cards for the game, affiliate websites, and the emergence of limited edition codes, 26 codes have been uncovered that can be used multiple times and redeemed on Bungie.net for rewards.
All you have to do is register on the site (sign up the Dealspwn Destiny clan while you're at it), link up you PSN/Xbox LIVE accounts to ensure maximum benefit, and then enter in the codes by clicking "Redeem Code" in the drop-down menu from your account name.
You can see your Grimoire cards immediately on Bungie.net once you've unlocked them, but you'll need to take a trip to the Tower and visit the Postmaster to nab your Emblems and Shaders. Don't expect to be able to to use the latter until level 20.Hit the jump for the free list of Destiny codes >>
Hello there Traveller! Welcome to Day Two of our ongoing series of critical vidcasts regarding Destiny. Yesterday, Carl and I shared our initial thoughts on the retail version of the game, delighting in the game's exquisite gunplay and lamenting the empty feeling of the game worlds. Today, it's all about customisation. We talk about character creation and classes before moving onto equipment, upgrading gear and the economies present in the game, and also assessing Destiny's approach to dispensing loot.
This week's Game Night sees Carl and Matt dive into the Crucible multiplayer of Destiny, testing their skills again other Guardians in the Control game type.
Be sure to check out the rest of our Destiny coverage, including our on-going impressions on the game in the run up to our final review.
It's finally here - Destiny has arrived and it's in the hands of gamers everywhere. The Dealspwn team have been getting stuck into the action as well, and so we kick off our video coverage of Destiny's launch with Carl & Matt taking on the first mission on the Moon. Highlights include Carl's delight in discovering the Pike for the first time, and Matt demonstrates why he loves the Warlock's power glove.
If you haven't already, be sure to check out our Critical Impression video in which Carl and Matt discuss their initial thoughts on Bungie's latest.
Bungie basically laughed in the face of conventional review-making earlier this week, surfing into town on a swagalicious wave of money and hype. So, given that conventional reviews are sort of out of the window for this action-RPG-FPS-MMO hybrid, we thought we'd bring you a running commentary of our impressions and critical thoughts over the next few days by way of a daily vidcast.
Today we take a look at the basic gunplay, the exemplary sound design, the oddly empty worlds, and the awesomeness of the Tower and ask why the hell does a new-gen game have loading times that are longer than GTA Online's.
Also, does Carl have PS4 buyer's remorse having bought a new console for this game? Or are all of his generational dreams coming true?
Let us know how you're getting on in the box below.
Destiny is upon us, and we'll be bringing you a number of impressions pieces from various perspectives over the next week or so as we get to grips with the Most Expensive Game Ever Made.
But, along with the Starter Guide we published earlier in the week, here's another helpful little article to help you get the most out of the vast PvE experiences to be had across the Solar System, and some tips regarding levelling, loot, and combat.
Save your Glimmer
Glimmer is the main form of currency in Destiny, and you'll earn enough in the first hour or two to buy some more powerful weapons back at the Tower. Don't do it. Although the game doesn't shower you in loot, completing the Story missions will see you gifted weapons and armour, and you'll gradually uncover a host of loadout options out in the open world and on Patrol. Comb areas thoroughly for chests, and be sure to mop up any dropped items after a firefight. You'll want to save your Glimmer for rarer things.Click here to read more...
It's so very close now. Bungie have announced that "Destiny servers will admit Guardians as soon as it is September 9th somewhere in the world. When you play is between you and your retailer."
With the year's most anticipated game only hours away, we've assembled a little starter guide for interested parties who've yet to get stuck into the game or maybe just want a little clarification on what the hell is going on.
Here's a little all-in-one article to give you the fast-fire lowdown on everything you need to get started in Destiny when the servers go live later.
The Darkness forced humanity back to Earth whereupon The Traveller sacrificed itself in a last stand designed to salvage the pockets of humanity that remained. The Traveller now lies dormant, its aura protecting the last human City.
But before it succumbed to The Darkness, The Traveller delivered one last boon to humanity in the form of the A.I. Ghosts -- sent forth to seek out worthy warriors to become Guardians of the City and defend Earth against attack.
You (and indeed I) are one of those Guardians.
Yesterday we ran a deal for the white PS4 Destiny bundle, which was a good price, but had one major problem. The console is utterly hideous. So if you're blessed with a sense of taste and an AV cabinet full of black devices, why not save an extra tenner and grab a black version of the bundle from ASDA instead?
Unless you want your PS4 to blend in with your kitchen appliances rather than your living room kit, that is. Remember to use voucher code CONSOLE at checkout!
Thanks to hatcher @ HUKD!
It may be garish if not bordering on the hideous, but the special edition white PS4 certainly turns heads. Especially since it also comes bundled with a physical copy of Destiny for £339.97 at Gamestop. This is a fantastic price and one that I'm not sure I can personally resist, to be perfectly honest.
Remember to join the Dealspwn Destiny Clan whatever platform you choose. My Little Dealspwny needs YOU! Thanks to roshambo @ HUKD!