This last week I was able to take part in the beta for Bungie’s upcoming game Destiny. After playing, my excitement for this game skyrocketed as I played through the first few missions. Unfortunately I was only able to play for 3 days of the 10 day windows, but I was able to level up my Hunter class Guardian to the level 8 cap and get a good sense of how the game was going to operate.
Since this is Bungie’s first game since selling Halo to Microsoft, I was curious to see how Destiny would look and feel compared to Halo. There are some similarities in look, but the mechanics are way different and much better. The mix of third-person and first-person give Destiny a very unique feel along with the RPG elements. The one thing that stood out to me was the game’s fluidity, something which I feel FPSs have lacked, and gave me a greater sense of control. The button mapping lets you easily switch weapons, reload, melee attack in a way that seems very natural. One stand out moment to me was when I was rushing a group of five Fallen (the enemy) with only a pistol. The Hunter class that I was using focuses on precision with the majority of weapons being semi-automatic rifles, sniper rifles, and a knife for melee attacks which can act as a throwing knife. I run up to the Fallen, quickly deliver two head shots with my pistol, rush another and stab him with my knife. The fifth Fallen came out from cover and I pressed the melee button again and killed him with the throwing knife (I recorded a gameplay video of this, but since Destiny was still in beta I couldn’t upload it… a video would have made it a lot easier to describe this scenario). That was moment I fell in love with Destiny because of how easily and naturally I was able to dispatch my enemies all in the space of a few seconds. I felt like I had more options than just running and gunning or chucking grenades. Having the throwing knife/melee combo being mapped to the same button might be my favorite feature so far. Based on your distance to the enemy determines whether the button will activate the basic melee or use the throwing knife. In other shooters like Call of Duty, the melee attacks don’t feel natural at all and I’m often frustrated by other players who shouldn’t be in range of the knife attack seemingly leaping across the room and knifing me at random.
The multiplayer component of Destiny was also excellent as the Guardian you use is the same as what you use in the single-player missions. This creates a great mix of players all with different combinations of weapons and abilities instead of a standard list that all players have to pick from. In fact, you couldn’t even play the multiplayer until your Guardian has reached level five.
Finally, the RPG elements of Destiny add lots of depth and customization to the game. It also has MMO qualities like public events or Strike missions where you can team up with other players who are playing simultaneously with you. This allows you to join in another player’s battles and then leave to finish your own mission without having to join a party or exit the campaign.
Destiny launches on September 9th and I can’t wait until I can immerse myself in its world again! After I’m able to play after launch I’ll post a full-blown review.