Put the kettle on and grab a snack, it’s time to talk Destiny!
Destiny. Become Legend. These are the words that Bungie – the creator of the epic Halo series – boldly state for their latest instalment. Described as a shared world shooter by the studio this science fiction first person shooter has generated major hype with the gaming circles, boasting a seamless open world that offers full character customization for players and various multiplayer game modes.
Interested? You should be! I got some hands on time with the Destiny Beta that launched mid-July on PS4, Is the game any good you ask? Answer is simply hell yes!
In a masterstroke advertising campaign Bungie gave Beta codes to anyone that simply pre-ordered the game on any platform, that code gave the player 3 download codes with 2 spare to give to friends, Genius! Playstation 3 & 4 got first access followed by Xbox One & 360 shortly after.
The player finds themselves taking the role of a Guardian – the defenders of the last safe city of Earth, sounds very cliché but who doesn’t want to be a hero? Don’t lie we all do! Set in a post-apocalyptic future, after humanities golden age of expansion; a darkness from all corners of the galaxy crumble the once mighty empire, all what’s left is the last city that is protected by the mysterious giant orb known as the traveller.
The player chooses from three classes a Titan, Warlock and Hunter, then choose from 3 different races Human, Awoken and Exo. You will then get full customization of the facial features of their chosen guardian…..then it begins…..
Revived by their very own trusted Ghost companion (voiced by the very talented Peter Dinklage from Game of Thrones) players will find themselves in the ruins of Old Russia, the first thing you’ll notice are the crisp graphics. Bearing in mind this is a beta build of the game and not full product, the visuals were outstanding – running at 1080p with steady 30fps they are very pleasing to the eye! Walking through the dark damp corridors of old Russia the attention to detail is remarkable, dripping pipework forming puddles, hackles of unseen enemies in the distance and light/shadow effects all create a unparalleled atmosphere.
Bungie have also kept true to their Halo roots with the music and sound; ever hear the famous monk chant theme song from the series? Truly inspiring stuff! Similar composed songs are in the fray for the game, along with their trademark vehicle and weapon sound effects – Blasts of the plasma grenades, the hover of your sparrow even the harrow of your sniper rifle when shot, you’ll be very pleased!
The initial part of this game acts as a tutorial to gently tell a player what to do and when, there’s nothing worse than a laborious tutorial mission but this easies you in. Most players will be very familiar with the gameplay, gun mechanics and controls are virtually identical to that of the Call of Duty series, and this is probably due to Activision being the main publisher of both series.
Is gameplay important to you? It is to me! Like lots of guns? you will be offered various ways to dispose of your enemies in game – You have 3 weapon slots, Primary, Special and Heavy and more importantly weapons are not class specific, choose a load-out that suits you the most! Each Guardian class has their own class specific ‘Super’ a huge impact attack that a player builds up on a meter on their hub overtime with enemy kills. A message ‘Supercharged’ pops up when it’s ready to use – you’ll feel like a god when unleashing this bad boy!
A much more enjoyable experience is gained while playing with friends; you can play all games modes co-operatively. A ‘Fireteam’ consists of a maximum of 3 players, if you have a fourth then they will be playing alone! Not sure why it’s capped at 3 but I’m more than sure Bungie know what they’re doing.
Even when you fancy playing as a lone wolf in the game you’ll find that you’re never truly alone, within the open map public areas there will be other Guardians going about their own business; but moments of unity with your fellow man will occur in form of public events. These are random and normally involve an enemy drop ship and a time limit; you and other Guardians in the local vicinity have a choice – Flee or Fight! The latter you’ll find will give you a sense of camaraderie with your fellow gamers.
Fancy a ride? No problem! Vehicles are present in the game with every player getting their very own non-combat sparrow (Speed Bike) to get around the expansive maps, other vehicles found were a Pike (a combat hover bike) and an Interceptor (Kind of hover tank) but these could really only be found in the crucible – the competitive multiplayer part of the game.
As you progressed through the game you got more in tune with the skill trees, this allows you to upgrade your Guardian in general with weapons and armour improvements. Most equipment is found through loot chests that are scattered around the maps but can also be bought in the Tower, the 3rd person social hub space where players call relax and upgrade without the fear of having enemies trying to put a plasma bullet between your shoulder blades.
Obviously being the beta much of the game was locked, players were capped a level 8 and were offered 2 competitive multiplayer maps, 4 story missions, one strike (enemy wave mission) and one explore map (Old Russia), For a couple of hours we got to experience the Moon, Wow this was a joy to behold; Visuals were stunning! plus we got to experience an event called the Iron Banner – Crucible maps with serious loot rewards!
What about competitive multiplayer you ask? I did clock in a few hours; to be honest it wasn’t my favourite part. Only two maps were initially available one close quarter map on Venus and the other a larger more open map set on the Moon, think Halo meets Call of Duty – Space COD if you will! It was enjoyable but this is not the focal point of the game, you still get to use your personalised load out which is always a plus but this will not be the only reason you’ll want to buy this game!
Overall I had a good experience with the beta, my main gripe was that a few times I got bombed from the game onto the main start screen, but this could be expected with this early test phase and should be ironed out in time for launch. I also found the AI quite predictable and static at times, they would always respawn in the same areas with the same number of enemies as the time before so they rarely surprised you. The Side quests at times felt linear and unfulfilling, other than the reward of some loot at the end there wasn’t a real need to undertake them. I enjoyed the strike to most; this was a very tense affair! With waves of enemies being thrown at you and your buddies tactics and teamwork really become apparent, working through several areas of this you really get a sense of achievement at the end- especially when you get a better kill/death ratio than the rest of your fireteam!
The story line was engaging and cut scenes were beautiful to watch, put that with arguably the best gunplay out there along with masterfully composed music & sound; this could be a real game changer! Bungie counted 4.6 Million beta testers so interest is peaking – Game of the year anyone? I guess we’ll find out!
The full release is on September 9th on all platforms and is definitely one to put in your diary! Games can suffer from over hype that dwindles on release (Cough Cough…Watch Dogs) but I don’t feel this will be one, with major investment from Activision over the next 10 years (yes you read that right!) to create games and several DLC’s you can bet it will be around for a long time!
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