As I said in a column from earlier, Destiny is my most anticipated game of 2014. There are probably two different ways that gamers will look at Destiny. Those that see this uber-hyped and slick first person shooter / MMO that is being backed by the now cross platform developer Bungie and those of us who have been XBOX lifers that have played 7 billion hours of Halo and are wondering how the developer will fair after the revolutionary franchise that (to this day) is still an XBOX exclusive. If the Beta is any indication, Destiny will be as big and ambitious as promised.
From the beginning, gamers are treated to something that didn’t exist until Halo Reach, a true character creator that is deeper than I anticipated. Three classes will determine some small differences in your gameplay options. Aesthetically, you can change your gender, race (as in types of species), skin color, hair, markings, etc. Time will tell just how often cutscenes will showcase these differences and how engaging they make it.
Once you get into the gameplay, unfortunately you’re invited into one of the games most underwhelming features: Peter Dinklage’s voice acting. By now you’ve heard the story of how bad it was BEFORE but Dinklage left all his Lannister charm in whatever country they film Essos in. He voices your guardian’s “Ghost,” a sort of companion that gives you intel and mission objectives. Still, even Dinklage’s uninspired dialogue fades away once you get a weapon in your hand. And good lawd…I was taken right back to Halo. The handling, recoil, reload animations and general physics that Bungie became famous from are still are here. During the first mission, you are treated to one race of enemy, but still several types that attack you differently with different types of weapons, flanking maneuvers, grenades to flush you from cover, etc. Being as this a Beta, the environments are beautiful but not all that unique yet. However the “Moon” mission released late in the Beta turned that on its ear, as the moon surface and terrain varied differently the interior corridors or wide open hills. No matter the environment, Destiny still excels like Halo did in big skirmishes.
As far as mechanics, there are points scored for every hit on an opponent, points in yellow are headshots and other weakspots. You will gain experience throughout the missions allowing you to level up and gain new abilities. Things like grenades, jump drift and power draining melee all benefit you greatly as the enemies become more difficult. Once I finished the first mission and got to “The Tower” I was reminded of something: that Destiny is an MMO. I had honestly forgotten until I entered a “lobby” with lots of other players roaming around to stores, and communicating with each other. It’s not till the second mission that you can begin playing with other players and THAT is were this game shines.
There is tons of loot to pick up on the missions, rewards for completing missions and objectives, new weapons, scooters and armor. Upgrades in armor especially help make your guardian look unique (and badass).
As a first impression and beta, Destiny removes any doubt that this can be a great game, now all there is left to wonder is, just how high is it’s ceiling.