So…I finished the cinematic campaign mission of DESTINY 2 over this past weekend, after getting the game back in November. This isn’t the first “AAA” (big name studio) video game I bought or played since getting back into playing games regularly, but it’s the first one I finished through.
I put off the end of the game for a while because I discovered while playing (I’d never played the first one) that the game, ostensibly a sci-fi FPS (first person shooter) is more like a large fantasy-style RPG world that you travel through in a first-person view. That basically means that there’s tons of stuff to do on the side without being bogged down having to do the main story first (though obviously some stuff isn’t accessible until certain main story stuff is done).
What this basically means is that four months of casual play in (not counting me sometimes entering the player-versus-player “Crucible” matches from time to time), and I’m still not really sick of anything in this game, and I know there’s the expansion “Curse of Osiris” to maybe eventually get to (and another one coming soon, “God of Mars” I think?). There’s still so much to do and find, win, and explore. I’m glad I’m getting my money’s worth because games like this aren’t that cheap.
I’ve been trying to figure out just what it is that I like so much about this game, and what drove me to want to try it besides the people I know who crowed about it so much. I finally figured it out though;
It’s the lore.
As a kid I loved reading about various fantasy RPG games (like Warhammer 40k in particular) lore in bits and pieces in the backs of gaming magazines (even though my connection to playing those games/being a part of that fandom is minuscule at best), and the best sci-fi that I loved growing up had lore elements that were basically fantasy. I adore Star Wars, and the line between “planetary fantasy” and straight fantasy (as opposed to science fiction) is tenuous and rooted primarily in being a dweeb about wordplay. I think a lot about something a fellow writer and Twitter bud said (though I don’t know if he said it first, I feel like I heard it from Matt first, so he gets the attribution) about how all science fiction is fantasy, just a different kind. It’s a lesson I wish more people embraced at times, because the rambling allowance of the world of Destiny makes it, despite being a very shoot-y game (that tries really hard to make you play in communities/groups online), a great game for exploring and messing around, relaxing on alien worlds under alien skies, representing the light against the darkness.
So much of science fiction’s “lore” works almost in overtime to try and find ways to justify and explain the mechanics of just about everything in the world, and oftentimes, that expectation that every little tinkering toy, every single being, has an in-depth (true of lore) and “realistic/explainable” (ugh) set of rules for how they function or work or even just live…it drags a story down. It drags a world down, especially when you’re engaging in that fiction for the escapist elements. Sometimes it just DOESN’T MATTER how a thing works, you have to embrace that it does and if it’s magic or technology or a little of both, as long as you enjoy yourself, that’s ultimately what matters here. That’s what, to me, the world of Destiny does so well to have sucked me in.
Best part? I first started playing as a Titan, one of the three classes of player types. Titans are big armored “space knights” in full armor, for smashing and heavy defense. I still have two other classes (the scout/sniper-type Hunters and mystic space-Jedi type Warlocks) to create characters in and run through the whole thing all over again. I can’t wait.