For the record, that question I posed to myself at 2 a.m. this morning did not bear any of the snark or negativity it may seem to have attached to it in basic black and white. Nor was I speaking to the fact that I had been playing for a good four hours by that point and, hey, shouldn’t I be heading to bed soon?
I asked myself why I was still buy Destiny power leveling for the same reason I might ask myself why I like ketchup but can barely stand mustard. Or why I enjoy a show like The X-Files but can’t seem to get into Grimm or Supernatural. I was genuinely curious what keeps bringing me back to a game that critics deemed “’Aight” and many players seem to actively hate.
This is especially curious behavior for me since Destiny is a shooter with strong multiplayer hooks, two things I simply don’t tend to go all out for these days. I wrote a few years back about how I felt like I was saying goodbye to multiplayer gaming and, almost by extension, first-person shooters. Most shooters tend to lean more heavily on the multiplayer side of the equation and, whether I was trying to outshoot HeadHunter316 or team up with a bunch of folks to keep zombies out of our hideout, nothing could hold my attention for more than a week or two.
I tend to enjoy more narrative-driven games these days, which is why I was more than happy to sink a dozen hours into something like BioShock Infinite. It gave me a great experience and, unlike Call of Duty or Battlefield, I couldn’t blow through its story in a couple of afternoons. More importantly, it gave me a world and a story that were worth my time and attention, making me actually want to reside in that floating city of Columbia for more than five hours.
Most shooters, however, don’t follow that pattern, so I no longer felt like I was getting my money’s worth out of the annual FPS crowd. Like I said, they’d keep me occupied for a few evenings, then I’d be ready to move onto something more substantial.
What I’m getting at here is: What makes Destiny different from those other games I no longer play? Its narrative was short and thin as a strand of hair. That just leaves the multiplayer, which is broken down to a few team events or PvP that only boasts a handful of modes. By all accounts, Destiny should fall into that category of shooters that no longer hold my interest. So again I ask, why am I still playing it?
I’ve given it a lot of thought, and I’ve come up with a handful of factors that I think provide an explanation. I’ll start off with the biggest: Destiny is an old pair of sweatpants. It’s comfort food. It’s that episode of X-Files I still put on in the background when I can’t figure out what else I want to watch.
The dialed-in shooting is a huge part of what makes it so comforting, because I’m almost never fighting with my character, baffled why a gun or a double-jump won’t behave the way it’s supposed to. The game feels so good that the controller disappears in my hands, allowing me to, in turn, sort of disappear into the game.