Recently, I was watching an episode of Halt and Catch Fire in which one of the main characters laments the rise of the first person shooter as personified by the original Doom. Her desire is to see more depth than Doom allows for, more room for growth and exploration.
Back in the day, I played Doom, and before that I played Wolfenstein 3D, and the complaint makes sense. As invigorating as these games may be, they are relatively shallow affairs. I wouldn’t argue, however, that this is necessarily the fault of these games or this genre… well, may be the games, but it certainly is not the fault of the genre. First person shooter-style games have evolved to be so very much more than they were in 1993, broadening the definition of what we can and should expect when we sit down to blow something up real good.
More Than an FPS?
In fact, one of the biggest games to fit this expanded description—and certainly one of the best I’ve played in recent memory—hit store shelves just a few weeks ago. Destiny 2, a sequel to the 2014 Bungie title, is stellar. I highly encourage you to check out the Blogcritics review of the game by Michael Prince, where he opens by describing it as a game that “has surpassed all” his “expectations,” and that is exactly how I feel as well.
One of my complaints with the first Destiny is that, at least when initially released, it didn’t branch out that far past a traditional FPS, that the non-FPS elements felt poorly mixed in with the game; that the quests quickly became exceptionally monotonous. These things are fixed here in the sequel (or were fixed through updates to the original). Certainly, the story is more engrossing here than for the initial release of the first game.
I don’t mind saying though that I still find learning about the various weapons and armor upgrades rather daunting. There is just so much loot to be picked up in the game that I’m constantly changing my weapons and armor, sometimes only to find that I really quite prefer my previous setup (and yet, I too regularly dismantle items when I no longer have them equipped). This, in part, shows just how far FPS titles have come from the age of that first Doom, and why it’s important to not dismiss a whole genre out of hand.
The Live-Action Trailer
As with the first game, there has been a huge of amount of marketing here with the sequel. I, for one, particularly enjoy the below live-action trailer.
No, Destiny 2 isn’t a live-action videogame, but I’m including the trailer here as it actually manages to offer up some of the fun that is available in the game (even if the game isn’t quite as irreverent as the trailer). The number of baddies one is constantly facing in the game is almost daunting, they can be found all over the place all the time, and there is a definite emotional reward (as well as in-game loot) for destroying them. This emotional reward is very FPS, but because it’s melded into a game that has more going on than the immediate reward, because the player feels as though they are truly building a character, it works wonderfully.
I have read reports that the original Destiny changed very much through the years and now having played Destiny 2, I very much regret not seeing what that first game became. I would still love even more character-building in this franchise and even more open-worldness, but Destiny 2 is a very impressive feat and well-worth playing.