You can consider me personally thrilled that Destiny took this award. No other game this generation, or even in the previous generation, has got its hooks into me quite in the way Destiny has. Like many of you, I’m not entirely sure if I can put a finger on exactly what it is that makes Destiny such an incredibly addictive drug of a game. It might be the all out battles in the Crucible, or maybe the chaotic Raids. Maybe it’s the story…OK, probably not the story but still, myself and many others have been locked into Destiny since September, and the addiction shows few signs of receding.
The strange thing is, there’s probably ‘better’ games in our top 5, with Mario Kart and Shadow Of Mordor being two in particular. Let’s not pretend Destiny is perfect either, there’s much that could be improved upon. The story was weak, and content is arguably thin on the ground if you’re not a fan of getting into the grind.
What Destiny did right though, it did perfectly. The responsive gunplay was a joy from the very first bullet fired. Gorgeous graphics. An epic score underpinning the action. The constant lure of better, stronger gear. Weapons with unique and deadly special additions, such as the Gjhallahorn’s tracking cluster bombs.
For me, the Raid is worth the price of entry alone. Personally, I’ve spent just under 3 days playing through what essentially is just two long form missions and I’ve not felt the nagging doubt of repetition for a single second during that time. I adore the Raids, to the degree that I’d describe them as my favourite thing I’ve ever experienced in all my years of gaming. Nothing beats the feeling I experienced when 6 of us finally saw Atheon and Crota crumble, and the shouts of celebration will live long in my memory.
Not only have I loved Destiny as a game, I’ve loved playing it with this community and seeing what it’s done for us. I’ve helped to carry people through tough missions and the Raids, and I’ve watched others doing it too. Those people then in turn offered to help the ‘next generation’ of Raiders complete the Vault, and so on. I’ve been proud to see us help each other out and really go above and beyond what would reasonably be expected of a group of people with other priorities.
Special mention should also be made of the ongoing support Bungie have given Destiny so far. There’s been several changes to the vanilla release, many designed to make the game more accessible and to smooth off the rougher edges. I have little doubt that the game we’re playing in 12 months time will have significant differences to the game we’re playing today, and that fills me with curiosity and excitement.
What we have in Destiny is a flawed gem; a fantastic game that, with a little more polish that’s sure to come from Bungie, may well turn into a masterpiece.
Community Night Award 2014
Was there really going to be a different winner?
For a game with such a huge focus on multiplayer and co-op gameplay, it’s no surprise that Destiny takes our Community Night award, a game that has energised this community in a way never previously seen. The reasons for this are two fold.
One one hand, we have the superb PvP. The variety of game modes, from 3v3 to free for all, capture the flag to pure team deathmatch, ensures that there’s a mode for everyone to enjoy. Bungie performed some great balancing work too, and no one going into standard Crucible feels insanely overpowered, with even low level players able to hold their own against fully leveled up behemoths. There’s also the Iron Banner, where the time invested into your gear is rewarded, and the higher the rank you are the more likely you are to emerge victorious.
For me though, the real star of the show is the PvE. I enjoyed every second of playing through the campaign as part of a fireteam, and attacking the Strikes with friends made them all the sweeter. The cherry on the top through are the Raids, complex 6 man missions designed to test you to your limits and work together to solve the mechanics. It’s been incredible seeing how our community has come together in the pursuit of defeating Atheon and Crota and watching new friendships form in the process.
Destiny; the obvious choice for Community Game Of The Year.
The Peas Award (aka Standout Graphical Moment) – Destiny Skylines & Moonlines
Every part of Destiny has it’s own unique beauty.
Staring into the sky at the Northern Lights when exploring the remnants of a ravaged Russia in the Cosmodrome has never got old for me, not since first experiencing it on the first look Alpha test back in June. I remember when we first stepped foot onto the Moon for a solitary night back in the Beta, and still now I look out into space at the damaged International Space Station, and admire the level of detail put into it. Venus is still a visual treat, with blue lava breaking through the surface and jungle reclaiming the remaining structures left behind by ancient civilizations. The desolate landscapes of Mars may not have the immediate impact of the other planets, but it’s sandy beauty and buried cities are impressive in their own right. These are just a few of the many reasons why Destiny has picked up the Peas award.
Time to have a Poo Award – Destiny loading time & Errors
“Just jump into the Fireteam and we’ll hit the Daily.”
“Ok, I’m on the way. Wait, I’ve got an error.”
“What does that mean?”
“I’ll look it up. ‘General connection error’, apparently.”
“Hang on, it’s now telling me there’s a different problem. ‘Elderberry’? Still comes up as a general error.”
“For god’s Sake. Give it a reboot.”
We’ve all been through this, right? You want to party up with some friends and some some reason Destiny starts throwing the names of fruit and animals at you. The first time I saw this I thought “What an interesting way to deliver error messages,” but 3 months on I’m now yelling at the screen, “FFS, Bungie, what does this ACTUALLY mean?!”
Aside from the indecipherable error messages, let’s have a word about the loading screens. While floating above a planet having a little chat with your friends is all well and good, I don’t particularly want to be hanging there for 5 minutes when all I want to do is check in a bloody bounty. I don’t know if these are caused by game engine or connection reasons but I seriously hope we see these reduced over the life of the game.
Worse than all of these though is the dreaded ‘Loading…’ message. Nothing breaks the immersion more than hurtling through Venus on your Sparrow only to be stopped dead in your tracks as you transition from one area to the next, with ‘Loading…’ taunting you slap bang in the middle of the screen.
Shut Up And Take My Money – Destiny Live Action Trailer
To be honest, any trailer that features Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” would have been in with a shout of winning this, but Destiny’s live action launch trailer was brilliant for more than just the soundtrack. Ad agency 72andSunny gave us a fantastic mix of action sequences and dry comedy, and it’s debut only a few days before Destiny’s arrival only increased the already feverish hype surrounding the game.
When you look at the names involved in it’s creation, it’s easy to see why the trailer is so superb. Joseph Kosinski (Oblivion and Tron:Legacy) directed it, with help from Oscar-winning DP Claudio Miranda (Life of Pi), Oscar-winning effects studio Digital Domain, Oscar-nominated effects studio Legacy Effects and Oscar-winning sound designer Per Hallberg (Skyfall, the Bourne movies). That’s a lot of talent squeezed into a sub-2 minute advert.
So, top marks to 72andSunny, Activision and Bungie. Destiny’s Live Action Trailer takes our ‘Shut Up And Take My Money Award’.