If you’re positively bewildered by the madness you’re seeing here and would like some additional context, a link to previous parts in this series can be found at the end of the article.
When I started playing Destiny again, I began to think: how much more of this is there? After all, we’ve done the main big bad boss of Rise of Iron. Right now, we’re simply sweeping the remains up like a sci-fi janitor. If we did it until all the missions are done, we’d be here until 2018 crunching through all the side missions and the new content as it gets added. It would not only be dull for you, but tedious to wring new things for analytical content. So, for the sake of our sanity, I think it’s best we agree on a cut-off point.
I believe next week will be a good cut-off point. Next week will be a big wrap-up of what has been, what is, and what may be in the future. We’ll do a few more missions, finish some stories, and march off into the endless sea that is space. After next week’s part, I’ll have one final send-off to present in the form of an unofficial review of Destiny in its entirety, as well as having some “Venture into Destiny” trivia and miscellaneous analysis. So let’s crack on.
As the SIVA factory has been closed down, it was now time to help the Fallen Splicers along to extinction. At first, we figured it’d be easy enough to let them die out from unnatural, self-inflicted violent causes, but the Hive are getting provoked by Splicers somehow. So I was tasked to go in and investigate how Splicers are tormenting their leaderless neighbors and to perhaps speed up the extinction process.
Fronts?! I thought we were just lashing out at everything surrounding us.
Needless to say, the first conclusion was a tedious territorial conflict. However, The Hive (Crota minions’) chatter was less along the lines of proud boasting of land gained and more akin to furious bloody vengeance. Amongst the fury was the cursing of the High Priest’s name, as it was stealing something or doing something deeply heretical or having something The Hive wants. Whatever it was, I still thought was a bit beneath me, but pushed on anyway. I was at a point where I was beginning to struggle to find my motivation in this squabble, especially as my glimmer pouch was feeling rather heavy from having nothing to spend it on.
Fortune smiles on the patient or the narrow-minded; I’m not sure which. Either way, I stuck in and found out something more devious was happening. The Hive were being experimented on by the Fallen’s “big brains”, also known as the High Priest. If that was not bad enough, there rested a question mark that this decision might be coming from higher up the chain.
The WORST case scenario? I mean, if you think Hive experimentation is the worst case scenario, I guess that speaks about your imagination or your hyperbolic brand of anxiety.
So what better way of fixing this than to shoot the specific High Priest in the face with two others? I guess this is reflective of a minor frustration I have with Destiny‘s writing, one that I do occasionally bring up.
If I had to summarize Destiny‘s ludonarrative approach in one word, that word would be “lumbering”. Gameplay-wise, it focuses purely on offensive FPS action. There’s no room for diplomacy, no room for strategy, and not even any room for hunkering down with immobile weaponry. Instead, your skills and weapons feel designed to close the distance and/or exert severe destructive force with agility. Even the sniper rifles and LMGs, which are weapons associated with defence, feel fast paced compared to their appearance in other titles.
Tasks where you must defend mark the areas of gunplay that feel the weakest. Cover feels designed to let you take a breather to recover instead of as a place to hide from bullets, since you will often be open to flanking. This seems to be to encourage the player to stay on the move. Even at the lowest agility, you move rather fast–it doesn’t feel like the game intends for you to stay in one position. Instead, bullet-dodging seems to be the preferred manner of preservation while firing. This makes defending Warsat public events particularly awkward, as you only succeed if you stay alive near a point rather than attack the enemy directly.
This tendency to lean more towards offensive FPS gameplay wouldn’t be so noticeable if it wasn’t for a narrative that holds the same preference. Every problem for you to solve is done so by attacking it with your gun–or sword, or axe–on their turf.
The seemingly obvious response to observing a gun-focused solution service is “Duh, it’s an FPS. Don’t be so thick.” While I agree it’s an FPS with a heavy emphasis on offensive combat, we shouldn’t be okay with every narrative plot point needing to be resolved with enough bullets and bodies to make World War II look peaceful.
For instance, do you remember the mission “The Bog” in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare? It included a broken tank that needed to be fixed, so you had to get to the tank and then defend it while engineers repaired it. While the conflict resolution involved gunfire, the plot-point itself reached a conclusion only once the tank was fixed and not when someone would die. The mission even ends shortly after the tank was repaired and as you were evacuated from it.
In contrast, in Destiny, you break tanks.
So in comparison, Destiny seems rather dim, narrow-minded, and brutish. There are some missions I recall resolving around intelligence gathering, but they are comparatively few and far between and work as lead-ups to a plot that revolves around putting someone down. Due to this, when characters spoke about it–especially where it concerned power vacuums in the House of Wolves expansion–I ended up chuckling as they just kept on killing every problem that appeared. I believe it’s hard to get invested in a cast who lack guile to such a severe extent.
Getting back into the game, I found one other who was willing to help me take down the High Priest. Said priest was using an abandoned missile silo’s defence structures to an unfortunately good effect. So there was a lot of unlocking of doors, lots of finding keypads, and lots of getting deeper and deeper into their dwelling space. That is until the platform beneath my feet broke and I went tumbling to the bottom. I then gasped as a massive ogre stood over me. All I could think of doing was closing my eyes and holding my breath, waiting for the end to come.
. . . And then I opened them. Huh. It wasn’t moving, just staring. I could see it move around in a natural breathing state, but no desire to advance on me. So I reluctantly crept closer, confused. “Let’s give it a scan,” I could hear Nolanbot exclaim in his usual out-of-place chirpy manner. So I carefully slid my fingers into my pocket and then threw Nolobot at the ogre with reluctant confusion. I guess annoyed at having its ogre looked at, the High Priest appeared. So I did the natural thing and shot it.
Especially the ogre. It didn’t hurt it, but it made me feel good and sometimes that’s what’s important.
I admit that I was beginning to feel worn down. Yes, it only took a small handful of missions investigating priests to make me want to give up. The problem with clean-up duty like this is it’s rather easy to lose sight of the goal. Fortunately, Lord Reaper found a solution by posing a more immediate task for me to dig into. Once upon a time, the lords and ladies of iron had medallions to signify their order. As established, they all got an acute case of the dead. So to help honor the dead, I am to find six iron medallions.
“Is this actually important?” I had to ask myself.
“Well, yes young wolf, as by honoring the dead we honor their struggle against SIVA. By giving these noble and worthy warriors a fitting tribute to their struggle . . .”
“So you want me to hold off on the immediate dangerous enemy to honor people who struggled and failed in their task of locking up a threat they created? I really think I should go back to shooting the Splicers . . .”
As I turn to leave, Lord Reaper blurts out with surprising measured calmness, “There is a fabled rocket launcher in it if you do it. They call it Gjallarhorn.”
I wanted to walk, stay composed, and pretend I foresaw this. Instead, well, I kind of dashed back and yelled, “WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY SO BEFORE?!” I then grabbed the mission tightly, and I went sprinting out the door.
Frustratingly, the damn things were scattered on the patrol open world. I collected most of them, but I had to take a break from it to stay sane. So I went on a strike against one of the more potent threats lurking about. It seems we tracked down that big ball of necromancy, Sepiks Prime, from early on in Rise of Iron. Coincidentally, the sentient pool ball had been spotted in the first strike I ever did but on a harder difficulty. So it was definitely interesting leaping back into The Devil’s Lair.
Fortunately, it went a lot smoother than the last time I was there. Last time involved one person staying back doing nothing as I died over and over, before tea-bagging my corpse in front of the boss. This time though, it was a smooth ride as everyone pushed through. I even got a new rocket launcher out of it.
I never said it was a good rocket launcher.
So I went back to talisman collecting, where I had to use a guide due to how some are stuffed in rather obscure places I wouldn’t have thought to look. Once I managed to collect them all, I thought it was time to reap the rewards in the form of a new boom-tube. So I slide the iron wolf heads across the counter with an eyebrow raised and a swagger in my step. “So . . .” I mutter, “Can I have my famed rocket launcher now?”
“You can have me help you make it.”
“. . . What?”
Turns out I was merely paying for assistance in necklaces. I have to go get the recipe since they don’t know how to make the thing. Apparently a group of people used to make religious themed weapons, and so it’s time to raid their workshop. Except, walking around the abandoned place, something seemed familiar. Bannerfall! I ran the name across my tongue, feeling and tasting it. It’s as I begin to look around while scanning the weapon recipe that it begins to click.
This wasn’t abandoned. This is a regular PvP hotspot, one I played quite a few parts back.
As Fallen began to rain on the parade, I was astounded there was no backup. Was this suddenly abandoned, or did I just pick the most inopportune time to go recipe-grabbing when all the PvP admin had shuffled off? So it was just me left to diffuse two bombs that threatened to tear the wall into the city apart, a city I can’t confirm still exists. Once the bombs were taken care of, instead of just leaving, a boss appears to soak my bullets up like the easy bullet-sponge he was. Say one thing for Destiny: they should go into cleaning products due to how well its cast soaks bullets up.
So I stumble back to the icy mountain tired with recipe in hand. I slam it on the desk, staring at Lord Reaper in the eye. “So NOW can I have my deserved boom-tube?”
“Oh, well, I need materials! Can you get some for me?”
AAAAAAGGGGHHHHHHHHH. I’ll be back next week with the final part after I take my frustration out on some “innocent” Fallen.
[Part 6: A Wolf Amongst the Taken] [Part 7: Venturing Onwards as Sif] [Part 8: Taken for a Violent Walk] [Part 9: Let Us Light The Way] [Part 10: Step Lightly and Carry a Large Gun] [Part 11: Racing for a Victory Bathed in Iron]