Hello there my name is Matt and I like playing Destiny. This is a video that I made about The Taken King, if you like it then maybe you could cut it out and stick it on your fridge. Seriously though, it's a bit of a whopper - 25 minutes of lovestruck rambling. Enjoy!
This week Matt is joined by the beautiful Chris Bratt, which inevitably leads to a lengthy chat about a number of PC strategy games. After a month of constant expensive recommendations you're finally in for a bit of respite. Neither of the chaps rate Skyshine's Bedlam, Armello doesn't quite tickle Matt's biscuit, and Total War: Warhammer isn't out yet. Panic over, wallets away, see you next week.
This week we're joined by Leigh Alexander, Editor in Chief of Offworld. For those of you unfamiliar with her work, this piece about Animal Crossing is probably Matt's favourite bit of writing about games. If you want more, check out her stuff on gumroad.
A bit of a redux again this week, but I think it's been interesting to look at games like Metal Gear Solid V and Until Dawn from a variety of different angles - some crossover from previous guests, but some interesting new observations too. We also chat about Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime, which you can watch us play here, and Matt talks a little bit about Destiny: The Taken King.
Last Friday I was struggling to get a bike up a hill for charity, so we didn’t get a chance to post a quick thing about what we planned to play. But the power of retrospect is strong in this one, so let’s forge ahead and talk about what we DID play.
I played Destiny, and nothing else. I’ve got no shame about that at all - The Taken King is simply wonderful. I’ll have in-depth video thoughts about it fairly soon, but I feel confident to say that there’s never been a better time to jump in: the whole back-end of the game has been gutted and replaced with a system more dynamic and fun, and the new stuff really plays to the game’s biggest strengths. My favourite thing so far is the Court of Oryx - an explosive public fruit machine that takes magical coins and spews out bosses. When you’ve got five people leaping around hurling wild space-magic in a tiny arena, it feels less like a shooter and more the X-Men. Appreciate that many really don’t dig it, but Destiny remains up there as one of my all-time favourite games.
Myself and my Best Destiny Buddy have decided to give Taken King a miss. Our plan is to rejoin the Destiny party with the next expansion, when we’ll get twice the new content (the other part of our plan is to not think about the fact that this will cost us a lump sum of £60). So instead I had some friends over, we drank wine and played Porcunipine, which is like Destiny but you only get one bullet.
Did you win the game of biking up a Hill, Matt? It sounds like a bad game.
Oh gosh it's the worst game. I was full of a cold and had to walk it up the last bit just before Brighton, because hills that steep probably shouldn't be allowed. Still - my other half raised over £8,000 for charity, and I admirably performed my required duty of comparatively making her look really good at BIKES. In other news, I will never be using my legs again.
What did you lot get up to on the weekend? Have you sworn never to use your limbs for evil ever again?
Having been softly struck down by the common cold, the new Destiny stuff couldn’t have arrived at a better time. Many turn their nose up at Bungie’s shiny loot-shoot, but I personally adore the pace and atmosphere - lining up headshots while you stomp around like a beautiful tank is a form of FPS that I mostly find relaxing, a break from the modern twitch ‘n’ sprint formula.
Also - being ill - it’s mostly just lovely shapes and colours that glow in my face while I drink hot tea. The Taken King though, eh? Well it’s really rather something. It feels like all of that day one feedback has finally had an impact on the game, just a year after it first came out. The characters in the world suddenly have character, springing to life in unexpectedly excellent and frequent cut-scenes.
Oh, and it’s funny. The one prayer I had for Destiny that I never got around to loudly vocalising was that it found a way to be less po-faced. Nathan Fillion sorts that out nicely, to the point of taking the piss out of the lacklustre plot delivery prior to this. Regardless of what really happened regarding rumours of abandoned plot and disgruntled employees, it’s evident that something internally that wasn’t right before has since been amended. It’s an exciting reminder of what Bungie are capable of. Also handcannons. HAND-CANNONS.
The new missions are brilliant to the point that it’s a huge shame the original set wasn’t on par - I particularly like the tiny changes they’ve made to the way that you use Ghost to scan stuff, which now gives off vibes of Metroid Prime. I was cynical when I heard that instead of new enemies we’d mostly get ‘Taken’ variants of foes from the base game, but what they’ve done here is straight-up cool - new mechanics, new animations, and amazing art direction.
Headshots cause a splatter of dark matter which the enemy is then sucks through like a black hole - one of the many visual details that has me grinning like a teenage lump. It’s all just very cool. Very, very cool. The brand new location takes first prize, though. ‘The Dreadnaught’ invokes the same sense of awe and desire to explore as the incredible Vault of Glass - except this place isn’t hidden behind a locked door.
You can expect an in-depth video once I’ve played more, and I’m especially excited about the new raid - having seen Bungie back on form in every other regard, my hype for The King’s Fall is very much real. Still, the proof in the number-pudding here is whether they’ve successfully rebooted the formula, especially in terms of how progress happens. So far it seems smart, but this is a chat to be had another time in more detail.
So yeah, it’s hard to say how I’ll feel about the game once the rush of this new stuff and the Lemsip has worn off, but so far The Taken King seems excellent. I’ve seen a lot of feather-ruffling regarding old equipment being made obsolete, but I’m more than happy to have a fresh start. Going back to using equipment that feels a bit basic has rekindled what I loved about Destiny in the first place - the joy of finding a brand new toy and chucking your old stuff straight in the bin. Some people will be pissed I’m sure, but it’s an MMO - what did you expect?
The one thing I didn't expect was the UK to be so unbelievably shafted on price - the $40 to £40 conversion stings hugely here, especially when you can buy Destiny with all the DLC to date for not much more than that brand new. It sucks. It really sucks. There’s really no excuse, and we’ve every reason to feel Miffed-to-the-Max.
Still, with that universal truth laid out, we can hopefully fixate on stuff more interesting than that in the comments. Anyone furious because Destiny killed their dad and stole their dog? Or perhaps like me you've dipped back in to have a nice time? If not, what are your favourite games to play when feeling under the weather?