Destiny! Destiny Destiny Destiny. Destiny.
If you haven’t been paying attention, Destiny is the most Destiny thing to have happened in the last Destiny, arriving today on the PlayStations and on the Xboxes to much applause and celebration. Bungie’s open world shooter takes a slop bucket of Halo guts and chucks it over a Borderlands skeleton to create a multiplayer FPS tailor made to please. Apparently it’s very good, but the PC crowd has been left wanting, with no firm plans yet to bring the console-storming shooter to the desktop.
It will surely make its way to PC eventually, as all good things must, but in the meantime here are six games that, if you play them all simultaneously, sort of come together to form a vaguely Destiny-like experience. Yeah? Just bear with us on this one.
For numbers pinging out of enemies: Borderlands 2
Borderlands is one of the few other shooters on the market to have numbers pinging out of enemies when they’re shot, which to my mind is one of the most notable and enjoyable features of Destiny. The numbers that ping out indicate the amount of damage being inflicted on the enemy, an amount that is determined by the kind of weapon you’re using as well as your own inherent skills and experience, plus a bit of luck.
The more you play, the bigger the numbers that ping out of the enemy become. “Remember when the numbers that pinged out of enemies were around 15 to 20?” you might wistfully recall as you cause numbers in excess of 100 to ping out of enemies, “the difference in magnitude between the current numbers pinging out of enemies and the numbers that were pinging out of enemies a few hours ago is a tactile and satisfying indicator of my progress in this game so far”.
I love numbers pinging out of enemies and I love Borderlands 2.
For space men doing space things in a slightly mystical way: Halo 2
It’s easy to forget that Microsoft brought Halo and Halo 2 to the PC, before getting bored and wandering off to do something else. Halo 2 was especially notable for a revolutionary and largely useless feature that allowed players to play the game while it installed from the disc, a problem that never really needed solving in the first place. Regardless, both of Bungie’s shooters are excellent examples of the studio’s keen understanding of world building, weapon balancing, enemy design and pink needle guns.
There’s a whole lot of stuff in Halo that crops up again in Destiny: epic and horizon-dominating celestial objects, advanced science-fiction masquerading as ancient mysticism and shiny helmets and power armour. The genetics of Destiny are all tangled up Bungie’s previous games, and that lineage is most plainly visible right here in Halo 2.
For magic force powers: Jedi Academy
Without doubt the best Star Wars game on PC, Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy not only contains two colons in its name, but boasts the finest merging of Jedi force powers and lightsabre swordplay you could ever hope to experience. On Bungie’s side of the coin you’ve got Destiny, a game that grants at least one of its classes, the Warlock, strange magical powers. These abilities allow the player to ‘push’ and ‘pull’ distant objects and enemies using an unseen ‘force’.
Hmm! Who needs a PC version of Destiny when you’ve got the next best thing right here already: a third-person Star Wars game from 2003.
For PvP with robots and swords: Warframe
Officially the noisiest game I’ve ever played, Warframe is about some angry robots having a huge fight in a metal maze using guns and swords. It’s a free-to-play, co-operative third person combat game that just happens to be launching on consoles around the same time as Destiny, and while the latter hasn’t really shown off its blades just yet (they’ve been promised, and as far as I can tell they exist in some capacity already), there are parallels to be drawn.
Primarily, both games rely heavily on the assumption that in the future most buildings will be terribly lit and made out of girders and sheet metal. Beyond that, neither holds out much hope for mankind reaching any sort of peace agreement. Warframe and Destiny both have interstellar homicide on the brain, but only one is available to play on PC right now.
For comparable co-operative sci-fi warfare: Planetside 2
Like Destiny but on a much, much larger scale, Planetside 2 is a free-to-play shooter that sees players come together to form big squads and fly even bigger spaceships into even bigger battles involving thousands of soldiers. It might not have numbers that ping out of enemies, or ancient alien artifacts, or force powers, but what it lacks in fantasy oddness it makes up for in co-operative, team-based excellence.
If you truly want to appear needlessly defiant in the face of a new console game being released, Planetside 2 is probably the best way to do it.
For creepily bad voice acting: Fahrenheit
To round off the Destiny experience on PC, it’s worth booting up any game with Dinklage-grade “that wizard came from the moon” voice acting. Not just regular oldbad voice acting, but the sort of voice acting that makes you feel existentially uncomfortable. The sort of voice acting that makes you put your headphones on just in case anybody overhears it and assumes you are in some way complicit in the lines ever having been recorded.
There are many games like this to choose from. David Cage’s Fahrenheit should do the trick.