Destiny Review Pt. 1

Destiny

The time has come, and the game is finally here. Destiny has hit the shelves with massive expectations of greatness from what we experienced with both the Alpha and the Beta. This is the first part to my review. I have made it to level 14 and part way through Venus, as far as story is concerned. There have been some great things and some issues so let’s jump right in.

Story

You play a Guardian, either a Hunter, Titan, or Warlock (based on your personal preference), revived from death by your trusty Ghost (voiced by Peter Dinklage) to help save the galaxy/universe from multiple different enemies: the Fallen, the Hive, the Vex, and the Cabal. Until you hit Venus, this is the only story element that you are going on. There are no other side characters, besides your ghost and the people at the tower, just you. That is my biggest complaint about the game to this point. I don’t know if it was Bungie’s intention to make the entire game and backstory of this completely fleshed out universe a mystery, but I am not a fan and would like to know who I am and what I am fighting for. It just feels a bit sterile.

When you get to Venus, there are a few more side characters and the story begins to be fleshed out a bit so hopefully in part 2 of the review, I will be ranting and raving about how awesome the twist was.

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Gameplay

That was hard for me just then, saying something negative about a game I love so much. The gameplay is so smooth and refined for a shooter. If you don’t know already, the game is a mmorpg-shooter combination. The best way to think about it is to think Halo, with a bit of Borderlands, with a bit of Star Wars: The Old Republic. It is easy to get lost rummaging around looking for loot in caves, killing baddies, and doing randomized missions in the explore mode of each beautiful world.

Your character is fully customizable from head to toe. You pick up armor, weapons, and items off of each enemy you kill or each loot crate you open. When they are equipped, you can customize them even further with different upgrades to make your character faster, stronger, and just overall a bad ass.

The element to be able to play everything in the game with another person is probably my favorite thing. It takes me back to the old days when every game was playable by at least two people sitting in the living room. Everything in the game is able to be taken on by a fire team of 3 players: story missions, exploring, and the Crucible (online matchmaking). I think about the games I have played over the years (Skyrim mainly) and how awesome it would have been to have my brother’s assassin character along side me in some of those tombs. Bungie makes that possible here, and I love it.

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Graphics

Oh the graphics. They take my breath away. The game is by far the best looking game I have played on the newest generation of consoles. Each world has their own specific landscape and foliage that makes them completely unique and in no way the same to the previous one. Everything is smooth. There is no lag in rendering and hardly any loading screens.

The one thing that I would say is that code for caves and rooms holding loot were clearly reused over and over again. It doesn’t feel so bad because they are so small and your only in them for half a second. Clearly that is a nit pick by me and I’m sorry. Moving on!

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Conclusion

Leveling my Guardian up to 14 has been an absolute blast and Destiny has me continuously coming back for more. Again, I hope the story gets better by the end, but even if it doesn’t, I will love it all the same. Destiny is was gaming should be. Even though you may be sitting on your couch with your cat, you can still be playing through the same worlds and kicking Fallen ass with all your friends online. I love it, and stay tuned for Pt. 2 when I finish the game.

Velocity 2X Review

3

Velocity 2X is one of the free games of the month this September, so I thought I would check it out since it came to the system before the launch of Destiny. It is a game about Kai Tana, a human astronaut survivor who wakes from a coma in an alien base and tries to make her escape (at least that’s as far as I got).

There are two forms of gameplay going on in Velocity 2X. The first is in a little space ship that you can fly around in and shoot things, while the whole time trying to rescue other survivors as you maneuver through the stages. The second is as Kai Tana inside the alien base. When you are playing as Kai Tana, the game feels a lot like Contra meets Strider. It’s a very fast-paced, platform shooter.

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Personally, I like when you play as Kai Tana the most. I think the ship is a little tedious and repetitive, where the beat em up, shooter aspect never looses me. There is a weird change in controls when you switch out of the ship to play as Kai Tana. Essentially, both play modes offer you the same skill set. There is teleportation, shooting, and sprint/boost. When you switch between the two, the moves are applied to different buttons on the controller. I died quite a few times because of this and it is very frustrating.

The graphics are stunning. The game has a Strider meets Rayman graphical style that is very pleasing to the eye. The cut scenes are cartoonlike with lots of color and contrast.

Overall, the game is alright. I found, in the beginning, the story to be more interesting than any of the gameplay, but when they finally switched over to play as Kai Tana, the game became more interesting overall and I enjoyed it. Each stage has a timer on it, forcing the player to move quickly through stages. It also has a “Angry Birds” element to it that I try to forget exists (you will know it when you see it). I think for free, the game is a great time waster. I personally wouldn’t spend money on it.

Showrunners: The Art of Running a TV Show Review

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Showrunners, by Tara Bennett, is the companion piece to a documentary of the same title. As you probably guessed from the title, Showrunners is about the job of the television Showrunner. The Showrunner was never really a job or person that stood out or was famous until people like Joss Whedon and Damon Lindelof showed up. Now, one could argue that some Showrunners are even more famous than the stars in their shows. Showrunners does a great job at explaining what the job is, the steps to becoming a Showrunner, the responsibilities of a Showrunner, and providing detailed interview transcripts from people like Whedon, Lindelof, Sutter, Shore, and more.

The book is laid out very nicely. Each section, or chapter, begins with some writing from the author about the particular section. Then it transitions to actual Showrunners talking about their own experiences. These conversations range from how well the Showrunner got along with their network executives, how being a woman Showrunner differs from being a male Showrunner, the difficulty working with certain stars, how some writers got their start in the business, and so on and so forth. It is an extremely in depth analysis of the position and a look into the brains of some of the most famous television writers.

I have always been a fan of the behind the scenes process of making a successful movie or television show, almost to the point of wanting to watch documentaries about the show more than the show itself. I’m a freak that way. This, for me, was enough for me to want to watch the documentary. Sure, I found myself skipping some of the interviews because I had no interest in some of the Showrunners, but I was engulfed by the stories of Joss Whedon and J.H. Wyman to the point of reading nearly a hundred pages in one night. If you are at all interested in becoming a writer for TV or for film, this book is for you. You can purchase the book over at TitanBooks.com.

 

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