Reviewed in a vacuum, Destiny would be the most competent of shooter experiences. If the merit of a game was based solely on its fundamental mechanics and whether or not one has fun engaging with those mechanics, then this would be the shortest review you’d read this year; Destiny would get 100% and I’d tell you that you couldn’t possibly go wrong.
Unfortunately, publishers and marketers ensure that games can never be reviewed in a vacuum, and contemporary big budget titles are always more than a primary game mechanic. Still, it would be nice to review Destiny without the rubbish preamble that overhyped the game’s eventual release. It would be nice to play through the game without that cloying mantra from marketers and PR representatives saying, “Judge Destiny by what it will become, and not what it is now.” I don’t buy that. We’ve all bought Destiny now, and we’re reviewing what is in front of us – that’s how video game reviews work.
Yes, in the future there will be more content for Destiny, and features will be added as the game continues to evolve. If that model sounds familiar, then you’ve played MMO games before. This game should have been marketed as an MMO, and not some new industry buzz-genre known as a “shared world shooter”. But Activision didn’t want to do that (probably rightly so) because they wanted to get the console shooter fans firmly on board. MMOs are a hard sell these days, but for all intents and purposes, Destiny is an MMO. Here’s the thing though: I HATE MMOs, but I had (and I still am having) terrific amounts of fun with Bungie’s new baby.