Destiny’s Sword PC Preview

Destiny’s Sword is just a proof of concept for a real game.

By Fragnarok, Posted 14 Sep 2022

Destiny’s Sword is a “living narrative” adventure game by 2Dogs Games and published by Bonus Stage. In the futuristic world of Cypris, rebels have taken to the streets with protests and riots. The corporate-backed Securicorps are quashing the uprising with brutal tyranny. With their numbers stretched thin, a second organization called Protectorate is dispatched to offer more peaceful solutions. Will the Protectorates be able to placate the rebels, or will they descend into the same harshness as their rivals in Securicorps?

Destiny's Sword|Bonus Stage|2Dogs Games

Destiny’s Sword was originally crowd-funded via Kickstarter as an MMO highlighting sci-fi war veterans who have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Early promotional footage and demos featured 3D-based combat of four-versus-four (or even greater) online teams, along with outside customization like squad management and vehicle customization. The current playable alpha build (version 0.94) includes none of that, making it unclear if those aspects will still be in the final game or if plans have completely changed since the 2019 Kickstarter.

At first, it intended to include a personalized squad of dozens; currently Destiny’s Sword instead hyper focuses on five Protectorate cadets. Jimmy Davis is the level-headed second in command, serving as the player’s eyes on the ground. Mag Williams is a short-tempered but strong-willed fighter. Aarav Varma is the team’s timid tech expert. Yuri Deschamps is a team go-getter who can easily lighten the mood. Janni Lasker seems to be gifted with extra medical training. Finally, the AI Gwen offers direct hints and guidance to the player Commander.

Destiny's Sword|Bonus Stage|2Dogs Games

The art direction of Destiny’s Sword is rather odd and inconsistent. There are all of these great hand-painted backgrounds and story scenes that help to showcase the world of Cypris. But each main character is almost a carbon copy of each other. All of them have the same build, Protectorate outfit, and posture. Even their facial expressions begin to look identical: a scared Aarav will look like a scared Yuri or Jimmy. 2Dogs really needs to improve the diversity and silhouettes of everyone. 

Destiny’s Sword missions comprise of deploying three to five of the troops to a danger zone. Players can pick their loadout of weapons and armor, including stun guns to very lethal plasma rifles. As Commander, players choose dialogue orders to issue to the team, and they will carry them out to the best of their abilities. This can include choices of using diplomacy, direct force or scare tactics. 

In the alpha build, combat is resolved automatically based on equipment. Mag might execute a rebel leader if she was heavily armed or simply incapacitate him with a less deadly weapon. While this streamlines the process, it feels extremely lacking not to be able to engage in a firefight directly.

Destiny's Sword|Bonus Stage|2Dogs Games

After a mission, each squad member can be debriefed on how they think it all went and their general mood. How players answer will change a soldier’s emotion values. These include tracking for Anger, Joy, Trust, Fear, Surprise, Grief, and Disgust. These are eventually meant to cause branching plots and loyalties, but unfortunately, Destiny’s Sword alpha is too short to see any of these pan out. Regardless of input, the five soldiers will mostly remain in their initial mood states.

When not on a mission, players can explore the base. This is done with a somewhat awkward, always-moving camera shake, even if players are in a menu or scrolling to a UI selection. What makes it even weirder is that none of the rooms are overly large, making such a camera pan almost pointless. 

Destiny's Sword|Bonus Stage|2Dogs Games

These moments of searching are also how players complete side quests. An officer might lose their PDA, and players will be tasked with asking people if they have seen it, searching through furniture, and then reporting back. There is no reward, simply more exposition or world-building.

All five of the Protectorate cadets are also, for some reason, trained surgeons. When an injured patient arrives, players will need to pick a team of three to treat them. Certain characters like Janni have additional skills that can aid in medical procedures, though none of this is mentioned until directly in the injury report screen. Destiny’s Sword also warns of having recommended skills, but no one on the team possesses them, nor is there a means of learning said skill. This is yet another feature planned for the entire game but is currently absent.

Which characters and tasks are selected often doesn’t particularly matter. Despite all of Janni’s supposed medical knowledge, some patients are scripted to die and create some kind of emotional impact. In other cases, a full team of novice medics could save someone from the brink of death. It really makes it feel like player input is inconsequential. Perhaps these will play out differently in the longer full game, but it is worrying if 2Dogs can’t even nail the preliminary feeling of choices mattering.

Destiny's Sword|Bonus Stage|2Dogs Games

The current alpha build just peters out without a proper conclusion. A story cutscene plays as if it will lead to a new bigger mission but then just returns to the base to talk to the team endlessly. There isn’t even a courtesy message that the demo is finished and to wait for new updates. It almost feels like a bug or error to those unprepared.

Despite being a graphically simple game, Destiny’s Sword is extremely buggy. UI elements will often suddenly vanish or shrink, making it necessary to reload in order to move on. Character portraits can often get stuck, or menus will overlay on top of each other. Moving between rooms lets players replay scenes, making new choices if they happen to make an error. This further makes player decisions less impactful when they aren’t retained.

Destiny’s Sword had a lot of promises and ambitions back in 2019, but it seems like 2Dogs took on more than it could chew. It is highly possible that the full release will add in all those touted multiplayer features, but for now, it is a little disconcerting how barebones the game is three years into development. There is a demo live on Steam, but for most players, it doesn’t have enough gameplay or length to make a good impression. Still, it will take one or two hours to see everything and make a judgment call.

Kurtis Seid, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): Xbox One, PS4, PC
Publisher(s): Bonus Stage
Developer(s): 2Dogs Games
Genres: Adventure
Themes: Sci-Fi, Narrative, Medical, Post-Traumatic Stress, War
Release Date: 2022

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