One of the reasons that I finally ordered an XBox One after so long of living in the past (well, really, I always live in the past when it comes to video games) is that a deal came along that I simply could not ignore. Chris texted me about it because he knew that I was looking. I also suspect that he secretly might be working for Microsoft and that’s how he can afford such a luxurious lifestyle. Granted, he did buy a PS4, but that’s exactly the kind of thing that a secret Microsoft employee would do to make it seem like he’s not working for The Man.
The bundle that Chris told me about was an XBox One with Forza, the Forza Hot Wheels DLC, GTA V (Five), and another game that I can’t remember right now. Well, the main reason that I wanted an XBox One was for cross platform Minecraft. I could buy the game (again), and would have. However, I noticed that Wal*Mart had the exact same bundle available with Minecraft instead of Forza. I like Forza, but I have not played it even a fraction of the time I’ve spent with Minecraft. That sealed the deal.
It still took me a week or two to order the system. I wanted to have ample time to play it and my break (this week) was still a couple of weeks away. By the time I got around to ordering it, the other game (that I can’t for the life of me remember), was sold out. They were offering Destiny 2 instead. No big deal. The game that I really wanted was Minecraft. As I discussed in my last article, GTA is always just big, dumb fun.
In my discussions with Chris and Kevin about Destiny 2, I mentioned that I had heard mixed reviews of the game. I’m learning more and more that might not actually be the truth. Because of the proliferation of voices due to the internet and social media, we tend to hear and read things that may actually be popular opinion but become part of the zeitgeist due to repetition. What’s the saying?
In spite of the negative comments that I heard about Destiny 2, I bought the bundle. I suspect that they might have just been because people like bashing Activision whenever they can. It started (at least I started to notice it) when they invested in Blizzard a few years ago. I find it funny that one of the little guys who were just trying to make good games when I was a kid have become the 900 lb. gorilla in the room and a big bad simply because they want to give developers money to develop good games. I will never understand the psyche of nerds today.
In my GTA V (Five) article, I talked about the story in this section. Those of you who are regulars at the page know that I often talk about the story with games. I understand that not everyone is into good stories, but I feel like enough of us are that they keep trying to appease us with decent to good stories. Again, take this with a grain of salt because I don’t remember the source, but I heard the argument that some of the best narratives today are in video games. Actually, I just remembered where I heard it. Christine and I have been binge watching the MTV Scream show and a character made the point.
Ignoring the source, I do think that they have a point. Since the graphics of games have gotten so good and realistic, they can’t really be used to sell a game anymore. As a result, there are more or less two ways to sell a game. First is with gameplay and the second is by writing a compelling story. While Nintendo has decidedly gone in the direction of gameplay, many other developers have chosen to hire better writers. Heck, one developer makes its money solely on “Story Mode” games.
I appreciate both methods and am still a huge fan of Nintendo. However, as I get older and my time is at more of a premium, I find myself playing and replaying those games that offer the story. If there’s any question about that, I have played through Portal 2 twice, once by myself and once while the boys watched to show them the story. I discovered it again the other day when I was trying to hook up a controller to the computer for Minecraft and started playing through it again. It wasn’t at my favorite part of the story yet, so I didn’t finish it again, but it’s only a matter of time.
Again, similar to GTA V (Five), I’ve only gotten to play a bit of the game the other night before passing out on the couch. Whereas I only got a little bit of the way through the tutorial missions there, I am about 2 hours into Destiny 2. In that time, I can confidently say that the story is going to be good. It’s not a terribly original story and might actually be the only story that these types of games are producing at this point, but it is a good start and I can tell that it should keep me interested in the game for a bit.
I’ve never been a fan of first person shooters. Well, that’s not technically true. One of the first games I ever became obsessed with was DOOM and then Hexen after that. I got Quake for the Nintendo 64, but I didn’t play that much. By that time, I had moved on to 3D platformers because of Mario 64 and Spyro the Dragon. I also really liked sports games, especially MLB The Show for the PSP. It wasn’t that I didn’t like FPS games, it’s just that there were so many other games out at the time and what felt like a glut of first person shooters. I think this was around the time that all of the military games were being released. Because I wasn’t a social gamer at the time, I had absolutely no use for them.
Sure the game has some interesting mechanics. I like the “ghost” for each character. It’s sort of like your own personal GLADoS, only not as funny nor sarcastic. Also, at least with the type of character that I chose, there is a mystical element to the game similar to that from Hexen. However, at the heart of the game, it is just a typical first person shooter and not a revolutionary one like (broken record time) the Portal series.
When I was talking to Chris about the game, he mentioned that it was one of those “always online” games. I didn’t know exactly what that meant, but now I do. During the game, it seemed like other players were able to join me during different parts of the game. I first noticed it when I was playing through and I saw that someone needed me to revive them. Shocked that someone else was in my game, I missed the chance and apologize if that was you.
This in and of itself was not ugly. I actually didn’t mind having the help and needed it because I died twice during that part of the game even with the assists. But, I was also talking to Kevin about the game and he mentioned that the “always online” part of the game extends to personal lobbies that you might make to play with friends. Those lobbies are always open and other players will come in to grief you and your friends while you’re trying to play the game. I generally avoided PvP realms in World of Warcraft because of the griefing that people would do. I just don’t understand the appeal. So, if that’s something that actually is a problem in the game, I want no part of it.
Similar to my Grand Theft Auto article, this one is based on limited experience with the game. As a result, my opinion may change and I can revisit this in a month or two if I find that things are radically different then. As of right now, I very much enjoyed my time in the game. The story is engaging, the gameplay is just different enough to keep me interested and I don’t exactly have many other games that are occupying my time right now.