So Destinywon’t make its September 2016 release and possibly miss 2016 altogether, if reports are to be believed. Meanwhile, Bungie’s efforts to keep PlayStation and Xbox players engaged through small-ish events in lieu of larger content releases is quickly wearing thin on the fan base. Don’t let the great Destiny malaise of 2016 get you down, though. There are other upcoming and current titles that can help fill the void.
What has helped make Destiny such a popular shooter is its social engagement in parties of three to six players taking on both PVE and PVE activities. However, there’s been a distinct lack of engaging new PVE activities since the launch of The Taken King and the Crucibles grows increasingly creaky with every update to the game.
Hopefully, Bungie will address these issues while communicating clearly and openly with the Destiny community about where the game is headed and when it will happen. Until then, players can partake in other games that scratch the itch of social / co-op play, role-playing elements, sweet loot, and great gun action.
Tom Clancy’s The Division
Possibly the closest match to Destiny in the upcoming games list to the point where it looks at times like Ubisoft used Bungie’s foibles to help improve their own game. The Division is a social shooter supporting up to four players working together through story missions, random encounters in the game world, and yet to be revealed endgame activities. Social spaces litter the game world to meet with others and venture out together.
The role-playing elements are there with players able to customize and build their character to match their preferred playstyle or respec it on the fly to fill a needed role. There are special character abilities and even a super ability that is mapped to pressing the bumper buttons at the same time. Sound familiar?
More similarities continue as enemies drop loot that require players to be a certain level to use. Additionally, equipped gear and weaponry can give boosts to a character.
There are differences though between The Division and Destiny, though. Ubisoft’s game is a third-person cover shooter set in modern times instead of a first-person shooter based in science fantasy. There is also no traditional PVP in Ubisoft’s game. Instead, The Division challenges players to enter the Dark Zone where they have to decide if they want to run the risk of getting into a firefight with another squad or squads for high-level loot.
The Division is due out on March 8, 2016, but Xbox One owners can try it out during a closed beta starting on January 28. PS4 and PC players can join in a day later and it runs through January 31. Pre-ordering guarantees access or you can sign up on the game’s website for a chance at getting in.
Homefront: The Revolution
The development history behind Homefront: The Revolution is checkered, but it is one to keep an eye on. Details are still scarce on the open-world shooter, but the feature bullet point that stands out is the online co-op play. Up to four players will be able to form a Resistance Cell to wage guerrilla warfare against in the streets of Philadelphia against an occupying force.
Homefront: The Revolution is currently targeting a May 17, 2016, release date for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Xbox One owners can also look forward to a beta sometime in February.
The developers behind the Borderlands franchise know their shooting and looting. Battleborn looks to continue filling that niche in a far-out science fantasy setting. It fits in with the new-ish Hero Shooter genre competitive multiplayer genre, but will feature a campaign more that can be played co-operatively with up to four players.
Battleborn is shooting for a May 3, 2016, release for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC. An open beta is planned prior to release with PlayStation 4 owners getting in first.
Of the currently available games, Warframe is the most similar to Destiny. The free-to-play science fantasy ninja-shooter is from Digital Extremes. The game has a heavy focus on building and customizing your character through acquiring ever more powerful and unique gear and weapons.
There are PVE co-op activities that four to eight players can tackle together to earn in-game credit and loot.
Warframe had a bit of a rough launch, and it lacks some of the polish seen in Destiny. However, Digital Extremes has provided a steady cadence of content updates to the game that has improved it immensely over the past two years. There’s a ton of content to play through even if it is in third-person instead of first-person and players can craft their own gear.
Halo 5: Guardians
The extraordinarily satisfying gunplay in Destiny can only be matched by Halo 5: Guardians. Developer 343 Industries’ second shot at Bungie’s franchise was a great improvement over Halo 4, but still has a few quirks to work out.
The main draw for Destiny players is the Xbox One exclusive’s multiplayer, which continues to grow with new free content releases every month. The campaign does feature drop-in/drop-out co-op but is still a more traditional first-person shooter affair without loot drops. That changes in multiplayer, where loot drops are replaced by REQ Packs filled with different weapons, vehicles, and skins can be purchased using in-game points earned from completing matches.
Borderlands: The Handsome Jack Collection
The shoot-and-loot franchise condensed into a single release containing Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. There’s a ton of content between the two games for up to four players to blast their way through. It even supports split-screen play for up to four players on the PS4 and Xbox One.
If you haven’t dipped your toes into this franchise yet or if you have friends that haven’t. It’s still a worthwhile trip through the off wall world created by Gearbox Software.
It’s not close to a one-to-one match between Planetside 2 and Destiny. However, the massive 100 player battles that unfold in the game can fill the social shooter needs when played with a squad or an outfit. The game is extremely rewarding when played co-operatively versus trying to be a lone wolf. In fact, Daybreak Games built the game to be more rewarding when playing socially.
Planetside 2 is a free-to-play title available for the PS4 and PC. Daybreak recently announced it is bringing DC Universe Online to the Xbox One, and Planetside 2 is expected to come at some point in the future as well.
ARK: Survival Evolved
This is more off the beat and path for Destiny players, but worth a shot. ARK: Survival Evolved is an extremely social game. In fact, it’s unlikely you will find much enjoyment or progress very far unless you find a Tribe to work with. It demands players to work together to survive the PVE encounters with animals and, if you are brave enough to join a PVP server, other players.
There’s not much gunplay at the moment, as players start with primitive weapons, but eventually grow to bigger and more modern weapons. Sci-fi style weapons are planned in a future update. There is still the fun of getting loot off of dinosaurs and other players, a crafting system similar to Minecraft, and dark and dangerous areas to explore.
ARK: Survival Evolved is currently available via Steam Early Access and Xbox One via the Game Preview Program. The full release is expected in June 2016 for both platforms plus the PS4.
Do you have any game suggestions to help get through the Destiny malaise? Sound off in the comments below.
[Image via Bungie]