Bring in the holidays in first place.
It’s been a little over a year since Destiny was finally released into the wild and the game has changed quite a bit since then. The Taken King came out and proved that Bungie can, in fact, listen to player feedback and figure out how to use that to transform the entire game. Of course, not everything that was asked for was granted when the huge expansion was finally released. But with Christmas on the horizon, Bungie has given what happens to be the greatest gift that could have ever come out of Destiny.
For a long time, since the game released, actually, fans have wanted a way to organize races with their Sparrows. These cool vehicles that you could summon to get from point A to point B never really served much of a purpose outside of an occasional dash to another place where you couldn’t use it. They were fun to drive, though, so players wanted more. With every update and event announcement, Guardians waited with bated breath hoping for the race of their dreams to become a reality, but it was all for naught. Until the announcement was made for the Sparrow Racing League.
That sent everyone into a joyous uproar. Finally, they’d be able to put their Glimmer where their mouth is as they settle all of their disputes on the track. But, it was just an announcement, and there was no way of knowing if the end product would possibly be any good. Destiny’s first major event, Queen’s Wrath, started out strong but once they removed your ability to shard the items, it was pretty pointless. Luckily, Bungie made sure that every single part of this latest event would be worthwhile.
For starters, the Sparrow Racing League is a legitimate event complete with fun race tracks, music, cool cutscenes of everyone preparing to get started (like in all popular racing games) and hectic action. It gets the Destiny touch by the inclusion of portals, and enemy forces taking up position on the tracks. Fallen Vandals, Vex Hobgoblins, Devil Walkers, Taken, Hydras, you name it and they’re probably trying to knock you off of that shiny sparrow of yours.
It’s not just the inclusion of intergalactic baddies and hover-bikes that makes this special, though. It’s the fact that Bungie put in the effort to make this feel like something truly legitimate. The HUD changes to show speed, placement of all players on a track, lap, your position, who the players in front of you are, and more. The race tracks themselves are their own entities and don’t just exist in the same areas you’ve walked through thousands of times (not an exaggeration). And while that may not seem like much, it’s actually a pretty awesome gesture.
Fans asked for races, and Bungie needed to only give some makeshift map to make it a reality. One where they could grant the desires of Guardians all around the world with minimal effort. Instead, they did the mode justice. It feels like a solid racing game even with the sometimes hellish Sparrow controls (and god forbid if someone slams into you). And the rewards aren’t half bad, either. There are class items, shaders, horns for your Sparrow, and end-game level armor (not too shabby, Bungie). But one of the coolest additions, although useless in battle, is the racing gear you can earn.
Playing through races gives you the chance to unlock a full suite of racing gear including an awesome helmet, riding gauntlets, boots, and body armor that looks fit for a Motocross race. Unique gear that brings perks to those with a need for speed, and it doesn’t look half bad. When combined with the Shaders you can unlock, you’ll look like a certified racing badass. The Sparrow Racing League is certainly the real deal.
Unfortunately, it only lasts until Dec. 29. The high-octane action, the slamming into other Guardians, the rush of getting first place, and the adoration of all the fans (even if they only exist in your head) will come to an end. Hopefully this becomes a seasonal thing where Bungie brings the Sparrow Racing League back every so often. After all, we have the gear now, right? Might as well let us strut our stuff onto the race track and expand our racing legends.
But even if this is a one-shot deal, Bungie has certainly provided something amazing for the holidays, even if they do intend on giving real gifts in a few weeks. The Sparrow Racing League is pure fun, there are no two ways about it. Who would’ve thought that throwing in a mode that uses no guns and no special abilities would be so good? (Other than the millions of fans who wanted it, of course.)
Drive swiftly, Guardians.