Wednesday, 9 April 2014

A quick note to tell you that Destiny of Spirits is wonderful. (First Impressions)

I felt like I was hit by a bus full of joy when I found Destiny of Spirits smiling at me from PSN one morning. You'll notice I start a lot of my reviews/first impressions like this. The fact is I am on a budget and I often enjoy budgeting/torturing myself by looking at all the lovely games I want to save for. Sometimes it's inspires me to work harder. Other times it's a little soul crushing. But I love when free to play games come up and they are GOOD. Destiny of Spirits is good.

Part MMO, part 'Monster Hunter'-style game, Destiny of Spirits uses your location data to help you unlock spirits to take the evil out of the 'real world' *insert epic fist pump*. The game will determine your location to find your starting point on the map and you go through all the linear but necessary tutorials done by a pretty water sorceress looking lady (I can't remember if her element was water or not, I'm just being shallow.)

You'll quickly find this is a turn based strategy game that uses touch screen, time and an element system of it's own. The battle isn't a strong point, but I play this game usually after a long day at work and I have to admit that being able to battle without thinking too hard isn't always a bad thing. For people who do like strategy, you will find that picking your spirits based on elements and their special attacks will provide you with this satisfaction.

But the gameplay for Destiny of Spirits is made amazing by it's social features. Your spirits can be lent out to other players and you can rent other players spirits. If you become friends with people, you also get to borrow their spirits for a discounted point rate. Also, you can create a spirit at the start of every new day you play and trade spirits. None of this requires even talking to these people - it's just a part of the game! It's what makes this location game feel more like a part of the real world, where everyone helps one another. There are definitely spirits I would not have without my in game friends.

Occasionally, events appear in the game, so far in the form of boss raids that you unlock while playing the game normally and also new summonable spirits from other games - so far Knack and Gravity Rush. They're not amazing events, but your enjoyment on them will be based on whether you like the games or not. (I was pretty stoked to get a Spy Kat.) The only downside to the special spirits is they are random and use Destiny orbs which you can win on rare occasions or they cost real life money. If something costs money, I would prefer more of a choice in which spirit I get. An example is my orc from Knack which I only use because I feel like he's worth money, even though I used my Platstation Plus bonus orbs.

Now I don't normally board the 'WE HATE IN-GAME PURCHASES' train but in Destiny of Spirits it felt somewhat unneccessary. Having Destiny Orbs or not don't effect my enjoyment of the game and I can do most in game things without them, however I would have loved an option to pay $10 extra or something for a season pass and then getting the benefits. Maybe it's not as profitable, but either way, it's only a small problem.

What could be considered a real pro and a con is the online nature of the game - you need to be at a Wi-Fi area or have a 3G Vita if you want to play this game. I don't know this for a fact, but judging from my experience selling PS Vita's to people, buying one myself and my few friends who have the PS Vita, the Wi-Fi model is more popular as it is cheaper and easier to set up. With this in mind, I wonder if Destiny of Spirits would have been better suited to something like the mobile. The gameplay plus the slight J-RPG feel definitely suits the Vita but 3G is infinitely more common on smart phones and the game's touch battle system doesn't really require a controller. If you do have 3G on your Vita however, I'm sure hunting for spirits would be amazing on public transport and I do envy you a little.

TL;DR Even though Destiny of Spirits use of networking and 3G may be off putting, this simple yet fun game provides an unoverwhelming social experience and a simpler addition to the strategy game genre which is enjoyable, uses the Vita's touchscreen seamlessly and will be one I am sure to continue picking up before bed for a little while. Without finishing the game, I would give Destiny of Spirits at 7.5/10.

Thank you for reading! Back soon!

-Tara
PSN: guittaraxx

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