Destiny: The Taken King - Legendary Edition

It’s been common for videogame systems of current and past generations to bundle specific popular games with the consoles proper, dating back to the Super Nintendo Entertainment System’s days when it was bundled with titles such as the original Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt. Since this reviewer doesn’t care much for videogame genres other than roleplaying games, however, he generally doesn’t go crazy over console bundles, although recently, thanks to a free $300 for setting up a checking account, he used all of it and more to purchase a limited edition PlayStation 4 bundled with an enhanced port of the Bungie-developed shooter RPG Destiny entitled Destiny: The Taken King – Legendary Edition, which generally gave him a good introduction to the console’s growing game selection.

Akin to other shooter/RPG hybrids such as the Mass Effect trilogy and Borderlands franchise, Destiny, predictably, features real-time gameplay, with the player’s character able to wield three weapons of different types and switch them around as desired, although the primary weapon tends to have the bulk of the protagonist’s ammunition, the two secondary weapons typically having more restricted ammo amounts. Shooting and ultimately killing aliens and their technology nets the player’s character experience for occasional level-ups, which largely dictate what kind of gear they can equip. Death during exploration normally allows the player to respawn after a few seconds, although the player will ultimately come across areas where respawning is restricted.

This means that if the player runs out of hit points, which recover after a few seconds of not getting hit by enemy attacks, they’ll respawn at the beginning of an area where respawning is restricted and have to kill the same enemies again. There are occasionally checkpoints in these restricted areas so that players don’t lose a whole lot of progress from death, and they retain experience from previous attempts, levels rising very slowly, and the gameplay sometimes feeling repetitive. Overall, Destiny is perhaps the RPG equivalent of the movie Edge of Tomorrow, where players must learn from past mistakes made in combat in order to triumph in subsequent attempts at a restricted zone, and generally, the gameplay very much helps the game more than hurts.

Control is largely solid as well, given a general linear direction and occasional sidequests (most requiring the player to use their The Taken King code or have PlayStation Plus, thus somewhat marring resale value for those such as this reviewer that tend not to hold onto their games forever), although the biggest flaw is the complete lack of a pause button, with players needing to go back into outer space and/or return to the Tower to get a break from battle. A game clock measuring playtime would have been welcome as well, although just as combat serves the game well, so does Destiny interface well with players.

The game has a simple but enjoyable science-fiction story with good dialogue that only contains occasional errors, although the protagonist is more or less blank-slate, but there are possible variations depending upon the selected protagonist occupation. The voice acting is excellent, although the soundtrack, which is often absent, isn’t terribly memorable, with only a few strong tracks. The visuals are superb, with a realistic style showing little blemish, but some of the damage effects can obscure the player’s view of the scenery in combat. Finally, the trophies, alongside the different initial character classes, add plenty of replay value.

Ultimately, Destiny: The Taken King was, for this reviewer, a great introduction to PlayStation 4 roleplaying games, and fortunately, the game is available for other platforms, therefore not restricting the enjoyable experience to Sony’s latest console. The shooter/RPG hybrid gameplay very much serves the game well, alongside solid interaction, a decent narrative, superb voice acting, polished visuals, and plenty lasting appeal. It does have some minor issues with potential repetition of story missions, the lack of a pause button and game clock, the blank-slate protagonist, the unmemorable soundtrack common to Western RPGs, and the potential for the graphics to get in the way of gameplay, but the game, overall, was definitely worth the purchase of a next-generation console.

The Good:
+Solid shooter gameplay.
+Great control.
+Good story.
+Excellent voice acting.
+Superb visuals.
+Plenty lasting appeal.

The Bad:
-Can get repetitive.
-No pausing.
-No game clock.
-Protagonist is blank-slate.
-Soundtrack is largely forgettable/absent.
-Graphics can rarely get in the way of combat.

The Bottom Line:
A nice shooter RPG in the vein of the Mass Effect and Borderlands games.

Score Breakdown:
Platform: PlayStation 4
Game Mechanics: 8/10
Controls: 8/10
Story: 8/10
Music/Sound: 7/10
Graphics: 9/10
Lasting Appeal: 10/10
Difficulty: Medium
Playing Time: No in-game clock.

Overall: 8.5/10

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