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Game Review

When the creators of the gigantically popular Halo franchise and the publisher of the equally mega-sized Call of Duty series get together, you can reasonably expect that something big might come of their efforts.

It's that logic that's made this space shooter Destiny one of the most highly anticipated games of the year. In fact, in spite of some rather mixed reviews, it shot out of the gate with an enormous first week—selling a whopping 2.4 million copies while also upping the sales numbers for both of the latest-gen PlayStation and Xbox consoles by something close to 250%.

Shaping the Story and Art of War
The game's storyline takes place some 700 years in the future, after mankind has discovered that a gigantic, benevolent sphere of light dubbed the Traveler has happened into our solar system. This alien visitor ushers in a new era of prosperity as it helps humans colonize other planets and make huge technological strides forward. So is it all picnics and parades in this land of tomorrow? Well, is this Candy Land we're playing here? No, the other cosmic shoe quickly drops when the Traveler is followed by a Darkness that wants nothing more than to lay waste to all the good that's been gained.

Players must create a Guardian to represent them—which can be either male or female, and one of three races: human, awoken (blue-skinned space dwellers) or exo (living robots). And then they pick from one of three classes: a heavily armored Titan; a more agile, knife-slashing Hunter; or a magic bolt-flinging warlock, each with special attack or defend skills and an assortment of weaponry. Then it's off to team up with a little robot sidekick called a Ghost and begin defending the Traveler and saving the last of the human race from oblivion.

On the attack for the Darkness team are a number of different breeds of malignant monsters that have dug in on various planets and moons around the solar system and are setting up plans for one last major human-pounding offensive. There are, for instance, huge multi-limbed insectoid ambushers called the Fallen, swarming underground screamers called the Hive, and half-robot-half-organic killers called the Vex that can teleport out of nowhere with death in their glowing eyes.

All of these elements play out in a unique style that gamemaker Bungie calls "shared-world" gaming. What that means is Destiny incorporates some massively multiplayer online gaming elements without being a full MMO. For instance, rather than you being able to see and interact with all other players online, on-the-fly matchmaking allows you to see (and team up with if you choose) only a few players with whom you are "matched." It's an interesting team tool that you can use to get help in tough spots.

Is It Really Your Gaming Destiny?
Destiny is a T-rated first-person shooter, which means the death-dealing never gets as bloody and gory as, say, the aforementioned Call of Duty, or even Halo. You blaze away in story mode at malevolent beasties who go down with a flash of light and then dissolve away.

But you do still blaze away! Constantly. Your one and only game plan here? Kill literally every moving creature you face. Guardians level up their skills, gaining ever more destructive super blasts, along with increasingly powerful weaponry that includes assault rifles, machine guns, laser rays, rocket launchers and grenades. That equals a whole lotta fluid-but-intense trigger-pulling that lasts till long after your fingers go numb, with scores and scores and scores of wounded foes constantly crying out in pain before they tumble and disintegrate.

When those monster baddies come screaming and raging out of the dark by the dozens, things can get pretty creepy, too. And the mere presence of the good-guy warlock class raises a few spiritual questions. Then, if you play in a competitive mode called Crucible, which is essentially a tower-defense deathmatch, you have to also shoot at online human opponents, not just insectoid or robot baddies.

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Episode Reviews

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