Were we patient, we'd say the wait to September 9 is no time at all – 42 days we could do standing on our head. But we're not patient and we need something to satiate our thirst. Luckily, Bungie's latest game seems to pull elements from a host of different franchises, so we have options for maintaining that buzz while we wait for the real thing.
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An obvious selection, Bungie's previous franchise sits on a similar foundation as Destiny. Destiny feels like a Halo game and even uses similar narrative devices: a computer-based companion in Ghost, a reemerging enemy force in The Hive, and its "far-flung future Earth on the verge of annihilation" setting. Even the Sparrow, a Guardian's personal hover bike in Destiny, feels eerily like Halo's Ghost. One of its core differences is in Destiny's primary characters. Halo had Master Chief, a now iconic hero in the games industry gleefully slapped on Doritos and Mtn. Dew packages as a spokesperson. Destiny has you, a customizable Guardian that lacks a marketable identity. Though that's not a bad thing, it forces the game to be played to resonate with gamers, rather than entice them with the "stature" of an already recognizable hero. Perhaps it's all part of the plan.
It's hard not to recall our countless hours with Phantasy Star Online: Episode I & II while playing Destiny, especially when visiting The Tower in Earth's last city. The games have their differences, of course: a first-person perspective in Destiny versus PSO's third and guns versus swords, to name a few, but more than a few similarities. Destiny's three classes – the Titan, Hunter and Warlock – are archetypes reminiscent of PSO's own trio of heroes – the Hunter, Ranger and Force. Both games feature guardians connected together thrust into a universe-saving narrative in an online world. And much like Phantasy Star Online, Destiny is only an MMO in concept. It's a shooter, like PSO was an RPG, that features online trappings that could be categorized as a massively multiplayer game – though neither game's online worlds ever felt massively populated with other players.
Similar in core concept, Planetside 2 is a persistent, open-world shooter with RPG elements that features a bevy of character customization opens. Sony Online Entertainment's Planetside series, however, features hundreds of online players engaging in real-time battles, whereas Destiny's beta seems to vastly limit the player count in public areas. For instanced scenarios, Destiny limits player count to three Guardians – colloquially referred to in the game as a fire team. Still, the similarities are present and SOE's MMOFPS is a fantastic series to satiate your blood lust for interstellar combat.
Defiance shares a few commonalities with Bungie's Destiny: Both are narrative driven shooter experiences, both feature instanced missions, and both take place long after a war has devastated earth. Trion Worlds and Human Head Studios' Defiance is a traditional MMO, however, with a focus on pure fun initially with promises of depth in both gameplay and story for those that stick with the game.
When Gearbox's shooter franchise Borderlands first hit stores, it was often referred to as "Diablo with Guns," a loot-crazed game that kept players hooked with its spoils of war. Bungie's Destiny also features loot, though its take on rewards seems far more subtle (based purely on playing the Alpha and Beta test of the game). Any loot that drops out of an enemy in Destiny is color-coded, be it a white or green orb (in the beta) to indicate some kind of common or uncommon item had been dropped, and loot drops are far more infrequent than those in Gearbox's series. In Borderlands and Borderlands 2, enemies will often explode with riches, leaving a mountain of cool stuff to sift through. Borderlands and Destiny share a few common concepts, but both take different paths: The story in Borderlands is tongue-in-cheek while Destiny, so far, seems to take its narrative very seriously. Both paths, however, have their merits.
For a detailed look at the games that remind us of Destiny check out our gallery, which features additional games nominated by Joystiq readers!
Bungie's Destiny launches on the PS4, Xbox One, PS3 and Xbox 360 on September 9.
[Images: Gearbox, Microsoft, Sega, Sony Online Entertainment, Trion Worlds]