Written by: Corey Bonanno, Special to CC2K
Bungie, the creators of the Halo series, have struck gold once again. Over the weekend, I had the awesome opportunity to play an extended Alpha of the highly-anticipated title, Destiny. Before I got my hands on the game, I didn’t think much of Destiny. I wasn’t sure it could hold my attention, I found all the trailers and talk a bit underwhelming. It looked like Halo with Borderlands’ loot systems and gunplay mixed with Diablo style dungeon-crawling and gear mechanics. Well it is exactly those things, but I’m not complaining, Bungie has masterfully improved and crafted these mechanics together to create a unique experience. Destiny has my full attention now, and I can’t wait for more.
Destiny takes place 700 years from now in a post-apocalyptic “mythic science-fiction”. After years of prosperity and planetary colonization, a great collapse takes place wiping out most of mankind. A white, spherical celestial body known as “the Traveler,” which arrived centuries before the collapse and brought about the great prosperity, is now all that protects the last city of man. As humanity pulled itself back from the brink of extinction, the people have discovered that their planets are now being invaded by hostile alien races. It is up to “the Guardians” to fight those that threaten the last city of the human race. Destiny has a huge fiction already built-in, much like the Halo universe. I’m sure there will be many books and wikis bursting with extended fictions.
Destiny is a fantastic open-world shooter with Massive Multiplayer Online systems. Bungie has coined their own phrase for referring to what they consider Destiny, “a shared-world shooter” and that is exactly right. Players will pop-in and out of your world seamlessly, or you can party up and take on tougher dungeon zones. From orbit, you choose your destination. The Alpha was limited to a few different locations: Old Russia, the Tower, and the Crucible.
Old Russia gave players the chance to explore one of the many open expanses available in the final game. I wasn’t expecting such a large area to explore. With mountains to climb, abandoned warehouses to scour, and shipwrecks to scavenge, there were a variety of new experiences around every corner. The world is filled with quests to pickup at your leisure and plenty of enemies to take on. The quests follow a pretty narrow pattern in mission type, but it never wore on me. I wanted to keep gaining experience points and leveling up my powers.
The Tower is the hub city for all “Guardians” to buy new weapons, ships, and mods. Here you can meet lots of new players, work with your factions, and take on challenges for the Crucible. The Tower does feel a bit empty of life at the moment, but an Alpha certainly doesn’t reflect the final product. The game looks beautiful, especially looking up at the night sky – stars and celestial eye candy is everywhere. If you want something a little more chaotic than watching ships leave trails across the sky, then maybe the Crucible is the place to be.
The Crucible is Destiny’s combat arena, where you’ll play team deathmatch and all the other staples. What really stuck out for me was that the guns and gear come with players. I was able to bring in my flame spouting shotgun alongside my rapid-fire sniper rifle and reign hell. This, of course, means that everyone gets to do the same. It creates an interesting flow of combat with players having very personalized load outs and different tiers of gear, but no one ever felt so powerful as to dominate a match. The combat of Destiny feels much like Halo in all the right ways and fresh all at the same time.
Bungie gave Playstation 4 owners an amazing look at what could be the next big franchise in gaming. Destiny is shaping up to be a huge game with tons of content, worlds to explore, and gear to tier. If I was excited before, I’m considering a self-induced coma to get me to September right now. After the Destiny Alpha weekend, I feel like I’ve been abandoned to suffer this summer with nothing to play. It feels like there are no titles coming out for the new consoles until Destiny’s release in September. So if you missed the Alpha, or you weren’t sold on Bungie’s new franchise, know that it has this avid gamer on the edge of his seat.
You can still take part in the Destiny Beta on both PS4 and XBOXone July 17th, and Destiny hits stores on September 9th.