Destiny: Public Beta / 30th of July 2014
Like many of you out there, the Destiny beta was the first opportunity that I have had to finally get my hands on Bungie’s highly anticipated sci-fi epic, and after having spent a fair few hours with it now, I think it’s fair to say I actually rather like it. In fact, it looks set to be the best game that the studio has made since the original Halo game, and given, for me anyway, the relative quality of Halo 3: ODST, that is shaping up to be quite an achievement.
Now, the disappointing aspects of the game thus far, are primarily visual ones, having seen the game running on an Xbox 360, there doesn’t appear to be too much difference in terms of graphical quality, well, save for the higher native resolution (both the Xbox One and PS4 versions will run in 1080p on release), improved texture resolution, particle effects, water, reflections, lighting and shadowing. These are all rather noticeable, and they do result in a good looking game, just don’t expect it to blow you away, it was, after all, primarily developed as a last-gen title. However, aside from that, some balancing issues and one rather horrendous boss battle, Destiny is in fact a very, very good game indeed.
The opening of the game sees the player’s character, a Guardian, being brought back to life, ironically, by a ghost (these are actually small robotic comrades), whereupon they are thrust into a running battle with a swarm of enemies, known as The Fallen. These emissaries of darkness are gunning to take you down, and through a mixture of gunplay and abilities, player’s must fight their way through pitch black tunnels to work their way towards a ship capable of ferrying them to humanity’s last remaining refuge on earth. And this, just happens to be the main hub of the game. It is a place filled with merchants, mission boards and a whole host of other players, and is naturally a locale that gamers will undoubtedly be spending some amount of time in.
The content included in the beta is actually quite substantial, including a multitude of missions that can be completed solo, or with a fire team of up to three players, a freeform exploration area that allows groups of players to meander around an expansive play area discovering, and completing, optional side missions and more. As if this wasn’t enough, there is also The Crucible, an area where players compete in PvP battles, though in the beta there is only one mode available, a 6v6 variant of Battlefield’s Conquest mode, though this isn’t without its issues. For a start, point scoring is in need of attention, rewarding far more for kills than for capturing the tactical points on the map, effectively rendering team play defunct, whilst vehicles are hideously overpowered, so being on the receiving end of their wrath is not very much fun at all. Likewise, whilst weapons in single player are reasonably well balanced, this is really not the case as far the multiplayer goes. Slower shooting weapons such as the hand cannon are practically useless against opponents packing automatic weapons, they need to have a boost in damage to compensate for their slower rate of fire, and from what I have played thus far, this is not the case here.
Still there's more than enough of content to enjoy, and three character classes to try out, so there are many hours of gameplay to be enjoyed, though having already maxed out one of my characters, I am hopeful that Bungie will add in just a little more content to keep players glued to the beta until it eventually finishes, a higher level cap would certainly be appreciated. Regardless, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with Destiny, and despite my previous indifference towards the title, I am now eagerly looking forward to its release on the 9th of September. Job done, Bungie.
I didn’t watch any trailers or pay any attention to the Destiny hype however I can only really echo my colleague’s remarks. Destiny had me hooked from start to finish, and finish, I did. I spent the hours playing as the Hunter class with my other two members of my Fireteam. We worked together as different classes completing all the missions, side quests and exploring every cave, crevice and backroom we could find. We spent a few minutes dancing and jumping to our deaths. We even found a football in the main hub and had quite a laugh kicking it around and making feeble attempts to score, much like Brazil in the World Cup.
I have to agree with James; the first graphical impressions are not super impressive and yet I still found myself sitting on the edge of the tower taking in the sights, looking at the landscape and gazing at the new universe Bungie has created for us. I do get the feeling that this Sci Fi world will be just as immersive as Halo’s and is already showing many similarities in audio, layout, gameplay and character design. This unoriginality is certainly not a bad thing if you’re a fan of the Halo series and enjoy the Borderlands structure.
I found this game full of challenges with some good boss fights that maybe ran a bit too long, but none the less posed a task for veteran gamers. Money is short as is ammo and teamwork is a necessity if you want to prevail and evolve. Using my sniper rifle I dispatched many enemies levelling up and hitting the cap within a few hours. I felt the beta was too short but maybe that’s me being greedy and a victim of being won over. I spent a lot of time exploring the beta and discovered a lot more on offer, a hidden depth of material to take up your time from outfit customisation, different actions, different locations, hidden away venders, and bounty hunting challenges, along with a variety of currencies and equipment offered to those that work for it.
I also was not impressed with Crucible, it requires a lot of balancing out as each player uses their own weapons and abilities meaning some were overpowered. I was top of my team scoreboard because I took to sitting in a vehicle and slaughtering everyone that went past, while that was fun for me I can only imagine how it was for the other team. I feel the pace of Crucible is misplaced and doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the game. Hopefully this is something that will be addressed or Bungie may lose King of the Hill.
The beta, while being rather generous with its offering of FPS action, seemed to be over in a flash leaving me with a semi levelled up character and an eagerness to play on. I hope the beta opens up even more as I’m invested now and want to explore the opportunities that I have discovered. I can see this game consuming much of my gaming life as there appears to be so much to do and see, bring on launch day.