Destiny: Crimson Doubles is a real heartbreaker

Friday, 12 February 2016 14:17 GMT By Paul Davies

Love can make a fool of you.

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“There is no sense of progression or bragging rights to claim. Crimson Doubles feels almost like an alpha test.”

Two is company, but it’s not like Destiny has reinvented that particular wheel this week. What on earth is Crimson Doubles, and why should you care? I’m not sure if anyone does.

I love Bungie. I love Destiny. Love can make a fool of you. Crimson Days, which runs February 9-16, is not at all “on a scale close to Festival of the Lost” but all by itself that shouldn’t be a problem. There are comedy masks and Glimmer Chews still clogging up my Vault space, so hording more meaningless (to my wife) memorabilia is a temptation I’m lucky to avoid.

But I did grab some partners to celebrate anyway these past few days. And while this has served to strengthen my growing relationships with valued friends, the 2v2 PvP mode Crimson Doubles has managed to light our fires, but then nothing to keep ’em stoked.

So, there’s two things really to talk about: Crimson Doubles as a game mode, and Crimson Days as a reason to devote any time to this new PvP activity on trial no matter what. Not everyone got along with Sparrow Racing League, but there was sense in sticking hard at it.

Hats off (because there are no hats to earn here guys) to the designers at Bungie for figuring out a new angle for PvP that a) works, and b) is genuinely fun. Crimson Doubles is a scenario that few other FPS studios would even consider, partly because they don’t have to, but also because their audience just isn’t as cute as the Destiny community. You know what I mean.

We’re playing Destiny to be there for our pals as much as anything else, and hopping into a cosy private chat for some semi-serious strategizing is a fun way to indulge this some more.

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Owing to its ‘space magic’ component, Crimson Doubles isn’t the same as Face Off in Call of Duty, which hangs entirely off of the gunplay. The Broken Heart buff, that kicks in whenever your teammate goes down, boosts health recovery by a huge amount while also maximising armour strength, agility and reload speeds. Enveloping the afflicted in vengeful flames is a cool visual touch; you’ll believe that you are more powerful than you truly are while hoping that the opposition is quaking in their murderous boots. Actually, you’re an easier target.

In practice, the Broken Heart mechanic encourages a more passionate (aggressive) gambit within this first-to-five rounds competition. By taking the fight to the opposition, the ideal is to drop the first guy then push hard to DPS the second before their shields have a chance to replenish and in the hope that they have very little time and even less room to respond.

Experienced ‘Trials…’ players though are likely to be carrying their Doctrine of Passing auto-rifles that tear shreds off anyone up close, or split-second sniping your vengeful head off, doesn’t matter how buffed your temporarily bereaved Guardian may be. So each round then becomes about luring the other guys to within dancing range, bringing grenades into the mix and solid head-shots with pulse rifles and scout rifles. My team enjoyed success with MIDA Multi-Tool and The Last Word as primaries for initial strikes and follow ups. The point is, Crimson Doubles is an enjoyable mode that deserves to be placed on rotation. “Need one more for Trials” is a message that has a chance of being banished for good.

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On the great big down side to all this, however, in the context of Crimson Days, is that the rewards for thinking things through are so pitiful that they make the playlist almost entirely pointless. The lure, let’s be honest, is for a 320 Ghost that Bungie has made a ‘possibility’. One of our PSN buddies has played 45 games, with just six losses for no such luck. And since there is no rank to aspire to either, with associated tier levels of other rewards that could also include exclusive Crimson armour or weapons, there is no sense of progression or bragging rights to claim either. Crimson Doubles feels almost like an alpha test.

To complete the half-dozen bounties takes at best a couple of days. The Quest from Shaxx is usually over within one session (complete seven matches on the Crimson Doubles playlist). This gets you the Emblem, which is at least a guarantee. Activity rewards range from nought to maybe Motes of Light and decent though common and unspectacular Legendary gear. Usually it’s Rare items to delete before waiting for the next match-up to begin. You’re more likely to receive a common Ghost with poor attributes, than a Crimson or Sugary shell. The latter, what you’re really after, are not guaranteed to drop at Light 320 either. And don’t.

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All of the above has led to the hilariously hopeless behaviour of players simply killing off their Guardians within seconds of each round starting, hurrying things along to reach the rewards screen, rather than investing their time to compete for kicks and giggles alone.

Destiny, you done me wrong.

I honestly did expect to enter a Destiny-style Valentine’s Day theme park of sorts, based on the promise of that January 21 Weekly Update. It would’ve been entirely silly, but Bungie has always shown a knack of making craziness cool somehow. This emptiness becomes haunting as we jog around the tower listening to music that now sounds like bells tolling, doom-stricken tones eerily coming to the fore. Blood red rose petals strewn around the place seem like an omen too, celebrating mainly the arrival of costly emotes that ironically include one of the best ever to appear, the Facepalm.

So, yeah.

I can’t even…

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