by Donald Wells aka TheDonOfGaming, Guest Reporter
Destiny is an upcoming game developed by Bungie (Descent, Marathon, Halo) and published by Activision (Call of Duty, Tony Hawk, Guitar Hero), which has been on many people’s radar since 2012, including mine. The game has gotten even more hype with the announcement that the marketing and development budget provided by Activision is to the sum of $500 million, making it the most expensive video game produced to date. Destiny brings elements of a Sci-fi first-person shooter and an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game), taking the fast pace of shooters while adding role-playing game progression in an open world. The game is kind of like taking Borderlands and combining it with World of Warcraft.
For those of you not quite familiar with Destiny, the story takes place in a post-apocalyptic Earth 700 years after Earth’s “Golden Age”, successive downfall and the near extinction of mankind. An entity, known as the “Traveler”, saves what little of mankind is left and hovers over the last remaining human city. With the game’s presence at the past couple E3s, people have been chomping at the bit to play this game come September. However, during this year’s E3 they announced that lucky PS4 owners that preordered the game Destiny were getting a chance to participate and play the Alpha of the game on June 12th. With the excitement of this news, I was able to get my hands on the Alpha.
Upon loading up the Alpha version of Destiny, the first thing you have to do is make a Guardian, a character charged with defending the human race and the last human city. Players can choose from three different classes and three different races, which class you choose will have a huge impact on the player’s gameplay and progression. The race, on the other hand, is really only aesthetic, at least as far as the Alpha is concerned. As you progress your character by leveling, each class has access to their own pool of abilities as well as a “Super Ability.” These abilities have their own progression of advancement gained by using the ability. The “Super Ability” is used as a player’s trump card when the need arises, as the ability takes time to recharge between uses.
In Destiny the choices of classes are: Titans, Hunters, and Warlocks with each having their own strengths and weaknesses. The Titan is a “tank” – like your assault/soldier that gets in your enemys’ faces and messes them up kind of class. The Hunter is a “blaster/sniper” – like your hybrid Ranger/Recon class that allows you to keep your distance while your kill enemies from afar class. Finally, the Warlock is your sci-fi wizard that weilds magic vortexes and powers similar to using the Force like a Jedi.
Next in Destiny, you get to choose your race with your choices being a Human, an Awoken, or an Exo. Humans look exactly what you think a human would look like. No surprises here. Awoken are like the elves of this universe: exotic, elegant and, in this game, colorful. Lastly, the Exo are essentially sentient robots. It’s pretty much like mixing a Terminator with a Mighty Morphin Power Ranger, and when you actually think about it, it’s really cool. I actually went with an Exo Hunter. I went with the Hunter/Ranger/Sniper kind of character because that’s the type of character I enjoy playing in games like Borderlands and World of Warcraft. I’m quite comfortable playing this style, at least at the start of new games. And honestly, I just thought the Exo looked the best. So I ended up with a Mighty Morphin Terminator Ranger! I was now on my way into the world of Destiny.
I pretty much hit the ground running. Destiny‘s controls were very similar to the current FPSs out there, and were smooth and responsive with a few minor tweaks here and there. The melee, for instance, is the top right trigger button, or R1 button in the default, while in most FPSs I’ve played it is the right joystick button, or R3. The other addition is with the PS4s touch pad, which when pressed, will summon a little flying Rubik’s Cube computer called Ghost. Game of Thrones fans will quickly recognize the voice of Peter Dinklage, who voices Ghost. What!?
Ghost marks mission locations and main objectives with markers. As you progress, you are given more diversified controls such as an extra jump function, which is different for each class or access to a class specific “Super Ability”. The Class’s “Super Ability” can be accessed with the press of L1 and R1 simultaneously, which needs to be charged over time between uses. With those being the biggest adjustment I had to make, I felt at home with the controls.
The atmosphere of the Destiny world was simply astonishing. The level of detail and colors makes you feel like this place might actually exist somewhere. The textures in the environment were pleasing in a derelict and rustic kind of way, which fit the games post-apocalyptic theme really well. The enemies of the game such as The “Fallen” and the “Hive” felt original and well detailed. The AI felt smart and unpredictable. The “Fallen” are a fierce nomadic race with four arms that are at war with the remaining humans, and are the primary enemy race that inhabits the game. The “Hive” are an ancient undead race that was battled the humans during the end of the “Golden Age.”
After I got the controls down and stopped staring at the environment, I started my journey to my first mission before immediately getting side-tracked by another player in the distance. He seemed to be defending an area from the “Fallen” so, feeling that I finally wanted to get into the action, I joined the fray. With this being the first encounter I had in Destiny, I have to say it was thrilling. It felt varied and challenging. This was due to the fact that, as in most RPGs, the game got considerably harder when facing enemies several level higher than your own. I do suspect that people that play FPSs regularly, like me, will have an easier time of playing.
After the diversion I was pleased to see that I obtained new abilities as I leveled up. I gained a double jump and my “Super Ability”, which upon activation produced Gold pistols that did a surprising amount of damage until they disappeared. Calling upon Ghost I made my way to my initial mission, which brought me inside an installation. I came upon a locked door, which Ghost was more than gracious enough to open for me.
As I made my way up the stairs in darkness, Ghost informed me that we weren’t alone. That’s when all hell broke loose. I was swarmed by the “Hive” who was not supposed to be there. As I fought them off me, Ghost warned me about a potential flying enemy that I would need to dispatch.
It wasn’t long before a flying wraith like member of the “Hive” appeared, which happened to be the boss of this mission. Ducking and weaving shots from the hive and a gaseous black poison mist from the wraith, the fight went on for 5 minutes before I finally was victorious. The battle had me retreating and trying to find an opening to do some damage. Overall, being the first boss fight, I felt quite accomplished as it had me use all the abilities I learned up to that point. After the fight I was awarded my loot and transported to a ship where I received an overview of my accomplishment.
Destiny promises to be an experience that every gamer should have. In its Alpha state, it is an amazing game, and I could easily spend many more hours playing it if the Alpha were still open. Destiny takes the best parts of MMOs, FPSs, and fantasy RPGs and definitely has me wanting to play more. The environments and atmosphere are beautifully done and it controls solidly. The only gripe I had was, I felt like there was a lack of ambient music or sounds in general in the environments. Although, the sounds and music they did have was pleasing and sometimes terrifying to hear.
Destiny was really easy for me to pick up and play, which will be a big attraction for some players. With minor fixes here and there, I can see Destiny becoming what Bungie and Activision want for the long haul. If you missed out on the Alpha for Destiny, don’t fret. You can still preorder Destiny from http://www.destinythegame.com/beta and sign up for the Beta which should start July 17, 2014. I can’t wait to see the Beta let alone the actual game which is slated for actual release on September 9, 2014. It is definitely one to keep your eyes open for.
ComicsOnline gives Destiny 4.5 out of 5 sneak peeks of a sure hit game.
Want more? Watch TheDonOfGaming’s walkthrough review here!