Destiny Beta ImpressionsAugust 5, 2014
Destiny is the highly-anticipated online multiplayer FPS game from Bungie, the studio behind the critically-acclaimed Halo series. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the new IP until I got a chance to play the PlayStation 4 beta, but I came away from it very impressed.
Bungie’s ambitious new title feels like a great mix of Halo and Mass Effect, with perhaps a bit of Borderlands thrown in for good measure. The character designs and beautiful, scenic sci-fi environments are truly something to behold, especially on next-gen in 1080p, and it all runs almost flawlessly with a buttery-smooth frame rate.
At the outset of the beta, players are tasked with creating an avatar, with a choice of Hunter, Warlock, and Titan classes. I created a Warlock female, who could wield not only guns but also some really cool energy/ magic powers by the time I reached level 8, the cap of this particular beta.
The game’s character editor features a pretty robust selection of faces and hairstyles, and you’re free to customize your avatar’s skin color, hair color, eye makeup, markings, eye color, and more. There are also three races and multiple genders to choose from.
Destiny at times evokes Borderlands with the sheer volume of loot that players come across, although the inventory management system here is vastly improved. Players have a large amount of storage, and can easily dismantle armor or weapons at any time to get Glimmer (the game’s currency) and parts. The Tower is always accessible between missions to buy new armor, weapons, engrams and much more.
It’s also incredibly easy to see if new collected items are more powerful than your current gear, by simply holding down a trigger for a quick comparison. As you level up, you’ll also unlock new weapon special abilities and character upgrades, which are thankfully made very accessible for those who weren’t raised on RPG games.
The MMO aspect of Destiny really sets it apart from other games of its ilk, especially in a heated battle when you’re up against a high-powered enemy. When you’re just starting out at the lower levels, it’s an awesome feeling to have a fire team of experienced players show up and annihilate your foe before continuing on their own personal journey. The community for this game in general seems great, as players always seemed willing to revive a fallen player or lend a helping hand in a firefight.
So far, I’m quite intrigued by Destiny’s innovative mix of FPS, MMO and RPG elements. The game has a very addictive quality to it, and the fantastic visuals and voice acting really add to its presentation. Right now it’s hard to say if Destiny’s story will be as good as its gameplay, but Bungie could just be keeping its cards close to its vest here. The game’s graphics look stellar on both current gen and last gen; that said, the PlayStation 3 version I tested looked quite a bit blurrier when compared to the razor-sharp resolution of the PlayStation 4 beta. Assuming that Destiny can only improve from now until launch, I’m extremely excited to get my hands on the final retail release.