For the past five years I've had a certain tradition: if we get a big enough snow storm to keep me indoors all day, I play Phantasy Star Online. For whatever reason, PSO just became my perfect game to be snowed in with. And in a way the snow itself would be a Pavlovian trigger - instantly I'd hear PSO's tranquil music in my head and I'd smile. To say that I love Phantasy Star Online is a total understatement. It's easily among the pantheon of my favorite games of all time. And I had been holding out hope for the sequel to find its way to the West. Of course now I've all but given up on that. And while I know I could do some dicking around to get a translated version running via proxy servers or whatever... it just sounds like an unappealing solution.
When Destiny was released in 2014 it was one of the only console-only games that I knew of that I was actually curious about. Not because I was some huge Halo fan and had to know what Bungie did next. Rather because it reminded me a lot of Phantasy Star Online. In fact there was even an infographic that made the rounds showing the two games' similarities. The three available classes; the four areas to explore; the little floating robot helpers! The more I read about Destiny, the more it seemed like a spiritual successor. Except in first person.
I picked up an Xbox One earlier this year. As a staunch PC gamer, the acquisition of a new console surprised even me. But it was the way that the Xbox One and Windows 10 played so nicely together that made this appealing to me. Basically, the Xbox stays out of view and all the games are played at my PC via the Windows 10 Xbox app. It's good stuff. And I'm happy with an expanded library of games.
And then it happened: we were getting a huge snow storm. And instantly my thoughts turned to Phantasy Star Online... and then quickly they turned to Destiny. It occurred to me that I could finally play this game. I let it install the night before the storm. And then it snowed. A lot. So in between rounds of shoveling, I managed to play four hours of Destiny!
Okay wait - I need to get something obvious out of the way here. As a guy who's been pretty much solely a PC gamer for the past few years, playing a first person shooter without the luxury of keyboard and mouse is totally weird to me now. It really takes me a lot of thinking to do just about anything. Just barely touching the right analog stick sends my camera flying across the screen. I'm just not good at playing these kind of games with controllers. Now I know that there are adapters and the like for getting around this, although they're kind of pricy so I'm not sure I'd benefit from them enough to make the investment worth it. Yet.
But you guys! Destiny is awesome!
Right away I was feeling the visuals. As mentioned (numerous times) already, this reminded me a lot of Phantasy Star Online. Only with more detail - and diversity to regions. But even the way that the characters look has a certain PSO flair. And even streaming to my PC from the Xbox One S, the details are excellent. That goes for every spec of space dust that hovers around every gold ray of whichever star it is that's casting light. This game looks wonderful. Controls are of course a mixed bag for me. They work as well as any FPS controls are going to work with me fumbling around on two analog sticks. You've got the sorta old Halo thing where first person switches to third if you get on your little hoverbike thing. It feels smoother than Halo's version, though. I don't hate it here. But I don't use it much. The voice acting is bad - but y'all probably already know that. That was kind of highly publicized.
And so I spent my snow-caused downtime attempting various missions in Destiny. Mostly they involved killing stuff. It's certainly addicting, though I can't help but think I'd enjoy it more with friends. Unfortunately it feels like all my friends who wanted to play Destiny did so already, long before I bought this console. Oh well. I guess I could run around with random strangers though I haven't figured out how to do that successfully. A couple times I did encounter others out there. I once helped a guy fight off a swarm of baddies coming out of a spaceship. We held down our little fort, they all died, and he waved goodbye to me and was on his way. It hasn't been all that social, really. There's lots of guys hanging around the main hub, but I don't know how to go about really jumping into an actual game with others.
But that's okay. I'm also not in any real rush. Nope. Destiny is my new snow game. Or maybe my sick game as well? Either way, I love that I've got several expansions ahead of me. It's nice knowing that whenever I have one of those days where I'm given a reason to really slack off all day, I have lots of stuff to explore right here.