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Hands-on with the Destiny first-look alpha - Destructoid




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Destiny  




Hands-on with the Destiny first-look alpha photo
Hands-on with the Destiny first-look alpha

2:00 PM on 06.10.2014

When Tyrion Lannister tells you to kill something, you kill it


After months of hype it's nice to be able to sit down and actually play a game for yourself. It's crazy to think that Bungie sent over members of the press to an event without even giving them a chance to play Destiny, but here we are these many months later, and the technical alpha has started for PlayStation 4 owners.

I've been playing it for quite a while, and I'm glad to say that it was worth the wait -- even if it doesn't blow me away quite yet.

Bungie (PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 [previewed], Xbox 360, Xbox One)
Developer: Bungie
Publisher: Activision
Release: September 9, 2014

Whatever you do, don't call it Borderlands. Well, you can actually in some regards, because it is a class-based FPS with RPG elements. The comparisons basically stop there though. Once you boot up Destiny, you'll get to fully customize a character with an editor that trumps pretty much every other shooter I've ever played. Any of the three classes (Titan, Hunter, and Warlock) can be male or female, as well as any of the three included races -- Human, Awoken (aliens), and Exo (robots). I chose an Exo Titan.

Right off the bat one of the first things I noticed about Destiny was the weird user interface. Everything is controlled by a virtual mouse cursor that floats around the screen, which you'll direct by way of the left stick. It's odd, because there's no way to flip around the menus with the d-pad like any other game, and it can be jarring to slowly scroll across the screen to select something. On the flipside, the menus themselves are clean, and easy to read, which is more important.

Upon the start of the alpha I was thrown into a story mission, which is just part of Destiny's three pronged method of gameplay -- story, sandbox exploration, and PVP. As a Guardian sent to Earth to save it from the mysterious Fallen, the first mission involves an indoor colony and a boss fight. Peter Dinklage of Game of Thrones fame is your AI guide, calling out hints and tips as you slowly make your way into the depths of your target building. Honestly I'm just happy to hear his voice, but he could use a little more "oomph" in his lines. Hopefully his performance ramps up as you advance in the story.

Slowly but surely I made my way through the darkened abandoned building, taking in the sights and admiring the great lightning engine on the PS4. It really reminds me of the flashlight sections in Doom III in a good way, and there was a fair bit of tension once the baddies started rushing out of the dark crevices of the room. Everything culminated in a boss fight, which was sufficiently satisfying, and consisted of plenty of adds to take out.

Combat is built around the constant injection of action. You don't run out of grenades, you recharge them. You don't just get to jump -- you can extend your leap with a jetpack. Each character also has a super move (in this case, a ground pound), which can be used in a pinch, and recharges fairly quickly. The upgrade system is fairly robust, doling out new skill points at a quicker rate than most RPG shooters, allowing passives like bonus damage, better grenades, and upgraded jumps. You'll also unlock some new moves, like a shoulder charge and the like.

While the visuals didn't really blow me away at this point in the game's development, they look great on the PS4, and the draw distance is vast enough to where you'll want to sit down and take in the sights every so often. It's very smooth, and as I mentioned previously, the lightning is smooth as well. It's not going to take the honors of the best looking current-gen game, but everything is insanely polished. It helps that you can summon your mount at will and just ride around, looking at everything.

I also really liked the "ruined cape motif" that Destiny's art direction is going for. The enemies remind me of fighting the Covenant from Halo for the first time, and the elite type characters are formidable enough to earn my respect. With moves like teleports, special attacks, and even call-backs like Needler weaponry, it's a style that reminds me of Mass Effect mixed with Knights of the Old Republic -- with it's own unique spin.

Destiny isn't just about doing linear story missions though, as some levels are billed as "open world" joints. I wouldn't necessarily think of them as on the scale of say, a GTA game, but they are fairly large sandboxes that allow you to just wander around willy nilly. It's not just aimless exploration either, since tiny optional beacons can be found that trigger mini-missions.

Multiplayer-wise I really dig Bungie's take on the whole "online-only" system. Yes, it sucks that you'll need to connect to the internet to even play the game, and many of you out there will probably forgo the opportunity, which is fine. But the result is something that reminds me of the best parts of Journey -- players will randomly phase in and out of your game seamlessly, helping you out in a pinch and forming squads. I love that it just drops players in without the hassle of checking what level you are, looking for other games in a giant list, or worrying about connection issues. It's just seamless.

Destiny has a hub world too, and it reminds me of Phantasy Star Online in a big way. There's a message center to grab mail from, equipment vendors to get gear from, and even bounties to acquire. There's even a PVP vendor that sells specific PVP gear with tokens that you can only earn by fighting other players. Wait, PVP? Yep, Bungie is incorporating what it does best -- full competitive multiplayer in the form of the Crucible. There will be multiple modes available in the full game, but I only got a chance to try out "Control" -- which is basically "Capture the Point" (A, B, C).

This mode is 6v6, and operates like a traditional FPS, but with the same character you've used in all of your other missions. There's vehicles to use, and the level itself really reminded me of playing Halo for the first time, which is a great feeling. The audio has a real punch to it, and makes combat pretty entertaining as a whole -- especially with a pair of great headphones. At the present time it looks like you can play the Crucible as much as you want, but the actual currency you earn from it is capped at 100 tokens per week (a very MMO-like trait).

Destiny is an ambitious game, and I had a lot of fun during my lengthy stay with the alpha -- I can't wait to see if it'll hold my attention when the final version drops. I will say though, the MMO influences are really working to its advantage, and I see lots of long nights storming dungeons for loot in my future.





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Destiny Updates, Screenshots, & Videos







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Review: Destiny: The Dark Below photo
Review: Destiny: The Dark Below
2:00 PM on 12.12.2014





timeline following:
Destiny



12:30 PM on 01.28.2015
This Destiny guitar medley is pretty rockin'

One of the best soundtracks I listened to all year was easily Destiny. For all the problems that the game had, it was a joy to listen to, especially while in orbit waiting for a group or a connection. Guitarist Ryan Abu...more



12:00 PM on 01.26.2015
House of Wolves might be Bungie's last chance to save Destiny

Before Destiny was released, it was hyped into oblivion. Hundreds of thousands of fans bought into it, and by extension, purchased the Season Pass consisting of the first two expansions -- the second of which, House...more



12:00 PM on 01.22.2015
Destiny's Crota's End Hard Mode is disappointing outside of the final fight

I have a stable of around 30 people I raid with in Destiny regularly, but yesterday I picked the five I play with the most and set a scheduled time for the brand new Crota's End Hard Mode. Everyone showed up, and te...more



10:30 AM on 01.21.2015
Bungie delivers quick Destiny hotfix before Crota's End Hard Mode

Bungie is gearing up to release its last bit of major content before the next Destiny expansion, the Hard Mode version of the Crota's End raid. Before that, a quick hotfix was dropped that adjusts the bridge encounter, a...more



7:00 AM on 01.09.2015
Bungie's post-holiday Destiny update is the best one yet for Dark Below

Bungie is updating Destiny next week, and it looks to be a massive improvement for both existing raids. Now, instead of getting a random Exotic weapon from a chest that can be soloed in Crota's End, the Ir Yut boss will ...more



10:00 AM on 01.08.2015
Bungie's Holiday gift for Destiny players was...a random legendary weapon

Before the end of 2014, Bungie tweeted out that players would obtain a "small, but legendary" gift for their Destiny accounts. Most people presumed that it would be a Santa hat consumable of some sort, like the Halloween...more



10:04 PM on 01.04.2015
Leaked photo shows Bungie's possible plans for Destiny in 2015

[Update: YouTuber LittleBigOkey has crafted a high-res image of the leak. See it here.] A new leak has been revealed that may shed some light on what's in store for Destiny in 2015. So far we have the Dark Below&nbs...more



5:30 PM on 01.01.2015
Destiny Ghost Hunter is a really cool third-party site to track secrets

Since I already explained why Destiny is both bad and good, let's cut to the chase without talking about the game's shortcomings, shall we?An individual has created a really nifty third-party site that allows you to loca...more



12:00 PM on 12.31.2014
Destiny is the most fascinating game of 2014, mostly for negative reasons

I have roughly seven days of playtime logged into Destiny. I have a level 31 Warlock, Titan, and Hunter who are all one piece away from level 32 -- the current cap. I've completed the new Crota's End raid roughly 20 times, 10...more



8:00 AM on 12.17.2014
Destiny patch ups base stats of Crota raid gear, adds a mission back

It's only a week out from Destiny's Dark Below expansion, and a small patch is upon us. The biggest change is definitely the buff to Crota raid gear, including the base light stat of +30 to all raid armor and 300 attack to al...more




Destiny

12:00 PM on 01.26.2015
House of Wolves might be Bungie's last chance to save Destiny

Before Destiny was released, it was hyped into oblivion. Hundreds of thousands of fans bought into it, and by extension, purchased the Season Pass consisting of the first two expansions -- the second of which, House...more



12:00 PM on 01.22.2015
Destiny's Crota's End Hard Mode is disappointing outside of the final fight

I have a stable of around 30 people I raid with in Destiny regularly, but yesterday I picked the five I play with the most and set a scheduled time for the brand new Crota's End Hard Mode. Everyone showed up, and te...more



10:30 AM on 01.21.2015
Bungie delivers quick Destiny hotfix before Crota's End Hard Mode

Bungie is gearing up to release its last bit of major content before the next Destiny expansion, the Hard Mode version of the Crota's End raid. Before that, a quick hotfix was dropped that adjusts the bridge encounter, a...more



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