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This week, Zero Punctuation reviews Destiny.

TranscriptEdit

There once was a game called Destiny
Looked more like a graphical test to me
It’s brown, there's a gun
And it looks as much fun
As requiring a double mastectomy.

I wrote those very words a while back in response to Destiny hype videos, and I must say I stand corrected: Destiny would only be as fun as a double mastectomy if after you woke up the doctor said, "Well, we were most of the way through the operation, but then our internet suddenly went down, so we had to sew your tits back on and throw you out the nearest window."

I remember a time not so long ago when "always-on" was a dirty word. When Diablo 3 made noises in that direction it earned itself an afternoon on the hobbling wheel, and when the Xbone pulled that shit, we pushed that shit straight back in again. My internet was dropping out like a military cadet with leprosy last week, so even though I prefer to keep to myself while playing Destiny, I kept getting kicked to the title screen because the game's like a psychotic girlfriend who burns all your clothes if she loses sight of you for five seconds.

So according to Destiny's intro cinematic, some alien being called "The Traveller” came to Earth to crash on the couch or something and accelerated humanity into a space-colonization golden age, until the Traveller's rowdy mates show up and start the usual perpetual cosmic warfare thing. "This was the end but-" IT WAS ALSO THE BEGINNING!-was that what you were going to say, Destiny intro cinematic!? It was, wasn't it, you fucking hack!

After deciding on your class and species and embarrassing 70s haircut, your character is awoken in the ruins of Earth by a floating Rubik's Cube voiced by Peter Dinklage, and mad respect to the actor 'cause he's got a voice as rich as Christmas pudding, but this is stunt casting of the highest order and he delivers his words like he's reading aloud from road signs on a long and tedious car journey. His first statement is something like, "You've been dead for a long time and must have many questions?" and he was right. It's just that we never get around to addressing any of them, do we?

Our first task is to find a ship to fly us off Earth and the main plot reason given for this seems to be: so that we can continue with this video game what we are playing.

Molestiny is a first-person shooter that wants to eat its lunch on the MMO's table, set in a series of expansive levels with jolly pretty scenery and which you'll have plenty of time to enjoy as you trek the same terrain five or six times in the course of a linear mission path. The MMO thing comes into it when you run into other players rampaging around the hills trying to encourage you to join their dance academy and if you make any attempt to explore the area beyond your mission parameters, you might stumble upon a hidden enemy, who looks exactly the same as all the other enemies but is about seventeen levels higher and you will have new-found empathy for flies that smash themselves against windscreens.

You see, the scenery is so pretty it has to work its cute little ass ‘til its pubes go crunchy, pulling double duty as both campaign area and grinding zone. You see, after a while I was routinely finding that I was failing to meet the recommended level for the next story mission and I'd have to wander around previous areas rubbing my face in gravel. And as pretty as the scenery is and as true as it is that the first bite is with the eye, you do have to let some other parts of your face get involved at some point or you end up with gravy dripping down your cheeks.

The recommended level advances by about one per story mission, but after a while, a single mission only filled the XP bar by a fun-sized Snickers worth. The intention perhaps is to encourage you to play in multiplayer arenas or raid missions a bit in between the story, but an immediate stop sign is thrown in my face because (on the PS4 at least) I can’t play multiplayer missions without PlayStation Plus, and I’d sooner run my tongue along a dead dog’s taint than pay a fucking subscription for a console I barely use!

"Wait, you’re complaining about not being able to play multiplayer, Yahtzee? You, the hunchback of Quattro Formaggio?" Well, it’s the principle! If multiplayer costs extra, fine! But I want to know it’s because server costs need to be covered or something. And without PS Plus there’s still all these other players running around so it couldn’t be costing them any more to open up the PVP. It’s rather galling when I’m dropped to the title screen for lost connection, when the major online features have been arbitrarily walled off to keep out the second-class scum. Besides, I thought grinding in multiplayer might at least be more fun than grinding patrol missions which have about five hundred ways of saying, "Go to places you’ve already been and shoot the dudes again."

The dudes in question are a succession of hostile Alien races collectively named "The Darkness" and individually after random words from the dictionary: "The Fallen", "The Hive", "The Cabal", "The Vex", "The Hinge", "The Recidivism", "The Felch" and most of them seem to fall into the category of "Dudes", that is to say, "humanoids", with several varieties of size and snazzy armor with bosses having the biggest and snazziest of all. So it’s kind of one-note. The only other recurring enemy type besides growly dudes with guns is floating robots with no limbs, which are the option one tends to go for when all the animators have gone home and you so cannot be arsed, that your arse occupies a different level of reality.

And remember, this is by the guys who made Halo. One can hardly forget because Destiny’s plot is very nearly a find-and-replace and just as simultaneously lifeless and convoluted with enough pseudo new-age cosmic claptrap to fill Cortana’s discarded bra cups. But Halo had a range of enemy types, some of them were humanoid and some of them were little squawky things dressed up like Quality Streets. And in comparison, Destiny is a bunch of dullards hanging around overdesigned backdrops, like a Magic: The Gathering tournament in the Sistine Chapel.

Generally the combat can best be said to be doing its job alright, I suppose; I’d sniper rifle one guy in the head and then watch the rest slide in and out of cover like cardboard ducks on a wire before coming in on the flank and stabbing everyone up. But that can’t change the fact the game is aggressively boring!

The loading times are arse and the need to constantly travel back and forth to the communal hub to hand in quests and items is arse as far as the eye can see. The game briefly comes alive each time the plot advances to the next planet but the new scenery loses its lustre fast as it's wrung out for every drop for grinding’s sake. Even the cutscenes are I hesitate to use the word ‘dry’ only because every character is as warm and engaging as a bowl of cold piss, for cold piss is what we must expect when we drink from the well of MMOs, routinely pissed in by the need for eternal status quo.

Nothing happens, nothing tries to engage or explain, it’s just fight the Darkness until further notice. But what made the Darkness so dark, Destiny? "I dunno, maybe someone pissed in it!"

AddendaEdit

  • Destined for greatness: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
  • Whatever happened to those courageous weeaboos that brought us Oni
  • This is not the beginning it is actually the end

ScreenshotsEdit

Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5 · Remastered Editions · Outlast 2 · Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 · Prey · Wilson's Heart · The Surge · Injustice 2 · Vanquish · E3 2017 · Strafe

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