Destiny breaks many indie records

I’ve been spending the odd hour or two mucking around with Bungie’s latest reasonably small indie game Destiny*. In a combined play time of about 4-5 hours I’ve managed to ascend to level 5 – hopefully this will increase with some more free time over the next couple of weeks.

Destiny, despite being a small indie offering, has garnered a great deal of critical attention, with gamers and critics alike being very quick to point out its shortcomings. From the lack of discernible story, to what story there is being full of gaping chasms, to problems with mechanics and the integration of RPG elements, to problems with its being a not-that-great shooter, people love taking potshots at small releases like this one.

In my small engagement with the game, I don’t really have a problem with it. My review of the game is a resounding slight shrug, but playing the game is a joy, and I’ll keep playing, and it’s hard to understand why. The game plays like a pared-back Halo, with the integration of some pared-back elements from Skyrim and Mass Effect, set in a gloriously detailed and rendered solar system that’s just damned fun to fly around.

The game markets itself as a sci-fi shooter with some RPG elements. And, lo and behold, the player is required to shoot things in a sci-fi environment in order to level up and choose some bonuses. Hardly groundbreaking, but I’m not sure what everyone was expecting from a low-budget, indie developer like Bungie.

* Irony. In point of fact, Destiny cost exactly US$72.3 bajillion to make over its 279-year-long development (No One, 2014).

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About Me

Daniel Binns is a media-maker and theorist of media and screen cultures. He is the author of The Hollywood War Film: Critical Observations from World War I to Iraq (2017), and Material Media-Making in the Digital Age (2021), and has published work on Netflix documentaries, drone cinematography, and film genres. Long walks on the beach are fine, but I much prefer cabins in the woods, board games, RPGs, and movies.


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