Posted August 6, 2014 by Lloyd Waller in Previews

Destiny (Beta-Xbox 360) Hand on – First Impressions


After playing the beta of Bungie’s upcoming game, “Destiny” I can definitely say that the game has quite a lot of potential to be something spectacular. Destiny is beautiful game. Sadly, I was only able to play the game’s beta on Xbox 360, and don’t doubt that there are some huge graphical comparisons to be made between current, and next gen consoles, but even on last-gen this is a game with a lot to offer.

Character creation did seem to be a bit limited, allowing players to choose a male or female character from one of three races, and pick their skin, eye, and hair colors. Players are also able to pick from an assortment of tattoos that will hopefully grow in variety. This being said, character customization does seem to be much more open than creation. Players are able to purchase shaders for their armor and equipment, which allows them to change their looks.

The story begins with the player’s Ghost –a companion created by The Traveler to assist The Guardians- searching through a field of wreckage for something… a dead guardian… you. The Ghost revives you, and you’re given your first glimpse of Earth, Old Russia. You can tell that this place has long been lost, and your Ghost informs you that you’re in Fallen territory, and you’ve got to leave. You have to make your way to The Wall, a gargantuan barrier, cutting off the Old Russian Cosmodrome the rest of the world.
This is where the gameplay begins.

The first thing I noticed were the controls. I often have a few issues –mainly with look sensitivity- when I switch from shooter to shooter, after having played a game for so long, but switching to Destiny just felt…right. The controls were very smooth in my opinion, although I cannot speak for each control scheme, as I stuck with the default. This also leads me to believe that the game is particularly welcoming to new players.

The gameplay itself was fast-paced, much more so than Bungie’s previous games, in my opinion, but it was still able to maintain a fluid feel. This was something of a plus in my opinion.  The flashing number values that popped up in front of enemies reminded me a bit of the Borderlands franchise, and gave the gameplay much more of an rpg feel, which was nice to see, because while it’s not the only RPG/FPS shooter out there, it shows that Bungie is taking steps to make this game more than just a First- Person Shooter. While I have heard some complaints about the numbers being a bit distracting, I believe that most people will find it quite easy to ignore them. I only ever focused on the amount of damage I was doing when I found myself doing too little (very rarely) or if I wanted to know how certain weapons compared to others.

One aspect of the gameplay that I enjoyed in particular was the use of the game’s server in shards, which allowed other players to seamlessly drop in and out of your game, even during free roam. This feature also came in handy for the public events that happen from time to time, inviting players to join forces and tackle missions that might be impossible –for the appropriate level- otherwise. The public event I enjoyed the most involved pitting players against a “Walker”, a tank type enemy equipped with canons capable of taking down multiple players in one shot, and even an EMP shockwave that punishes any player unfortunate enough to get too close.

Aside from the combat itself, Destiny seemed to have a lot to offer in the way of exploration, and I often found myself completely ignoring the mission objective to check out areas that seemed all too interesting to pass up. Traveling off the beaten path often rewards players with loot, found in the form of treasure chests, encounters with enemies whose level made them damn near impossible to kill –at least during the Beta- and a few other hidden surprises.

After missions, multiplayer battles, and exploration, players make their way to orbit, where they are able to view each other’s ships, and options for travel. While players are able to purchase, as well score new ships via loot, I found them to be purely aesthetic, which didn’t drive me to purchase others. After their adventures, most players make their way back to the Tower to purchase new equipment, modifications, and just to have fun.

In my opinion, the Tower will be one of the best parts of the game, as it allows players to build a sense of community.  It might seem a little strange when you realize that you can’t even talk to other players without joining their fire teams, but when a dance party breaks out next to the ship docking bays, or someone feels like they’re up for a game of soccer, you’ll only feel inclined to join in. At one point, I decided to follow another player around, crouched the entire time, and as time passed by, other players decided it would be a good idea to idea to jump in which immediately put me in an Elmer Fudd kind of mood -Shhhh…I’m hunting wabbits-. In the words of another one of our writers, Peter Rolph, “They have physics items for the sake of physics items…” as we kicked around soccer balls and balloons it seemed to be an appropriate comment, and it was fun…until someone decided to kick the ball off of a tower thousands of feet in the air….Dick move, Titan who shall remain unnamed…

“Control,” the only player vs player game-type available through Destiny’s beta was pretty much a version of the typical Capture the Flag game-type, though it often felt at times that kills were more important than playing to the objective. To be honest, there are some balancing issues that have been pointed out by player, but most of these are already being worked on. By far my favorite multiplayer game mode was, “The Iron Banner” where players are able to bring over everything they’ve worked hard to obtain and pit their guardians against other players who have worked just as hard on theirs.
Truthfully, before playing the beta, Destiny did not appeal to me as much as it should have, but after playing it, I’ll definitely be buying it when it comes out, and I‘m sure I’ll be enjoying it.

Lloyd Waller