What was one of the most anticipated Beta in recent memory has now ended, the Beta phase for Destiny has been an absolute blast but was it everything we hoped it would be? Has Bungie “evolved combat” again?
I’ll start with what I find is the most interesting aspect of Destiny, it’s epic Hollywood-esque SciFi story. It feels like if Star Wars and Mass Effect had a baby, it would be called Destiny! The Beta gave us just enough to intrigue but like any good pilot gave us more questions. Why do The Fallen and the Hive fight? How did The Traveler and humanity lose to The Darkness the first time? Who are The Awoken and Exo? The Beta gave us the impression that there is a huge world out there with a rich story just begging to be told. The real trick for Bungie though is finding the balance between giving the player the freedom to go off and explore but still tell a compelling enough story to bring them back in. When I played Level 4 Explore, I was quite happy bouncing from one mini mission to the next, all the while levelling up. The “grinding” didn’t feel taxing or repetitive even though I only had Old Russia to run around in so before I knew it, I had lost an hour an a half so I decided it was time to proceed. By this point though the way the story was told felt formulaic – story, tower, upgrade, story and so on. Don’t misunderstand me, even my favourite single player games like Uncharted and The Last of Us employ the tactic but the story sections are so captivating that you don’t mind the rigid style. The levels Warmind and The Devil’s Lair were great fun to play but were a little light on the storytelling. Of course this could be intentional by Bungie, not to give too much away but I hope to be gripped like I was with Mass Effect.
The next aspect I would like to talk about is the look of the game. Destiny is a very pretty game, the background holds so much detail and again with lots of intrigue. The foreground feels solid, like a real world. The Tower is a wonderful hub to socialise in and I could sit and watch The Traveler hovering there silently and ever watchful forever. Does it take your breath away though? Not quite! Although Old Russia is massive and contains a lot variety, it’s still a collection of whites and brown. Indoors is dark and moody but a little non-descript and fairly standard. What I do like is the mix of high and low grounds though. Again Bungie could’ve quite easily thrown the simplest level at us, is Old Russia even in the full game? Think about that for a second! But what I do hope is being able to travel to many many worlds, each with their own distinctive looks and features. The latter is expected but I want lots of worlds.
My dear Editor Metin theorised that Destiny could turn into a very long-running franchise, kept alive by lots of DLCs and expansion like many successful MMOs currently on the market. Recently, even World of Warcraft has had a visual revamp in Warlords of Draenor. A game like Destiny could have infinite possibilities and the Beta was a drool inducing snapshot of this, can you imagine the worlds you could explore, there could even be an expansion that explores the Golden Age of prosperity or even when The Darkness came the first time! There might not be a need for sequels, Destiny can be just built upon.
From what I gather there was a massive improvement on Peter Dinklage’s Ghost since the Alpha but I hope Bungie keep tweaking it. There are times when Ghost sounds a little unnatural and jarring perhaps even uninterested. I do enjoy having a companion hovering around and I wouldn’t turn Ghost off but the script could be a little better.
An aspects that has to be applauded is how easy and seamless it is to switch between single player and multiplayer. The first time I joined a friend’s Fireteam was so unexpectedly quick that I actually put my controller down to go make myself a cup of coffee. Needless to say I never made the coffee because I was taking down the Devil Walker with 2 friends within seconds. The interface and menus is also very clean and self-explanatory. As someone who’s had some experience with RPGs, I know full well how bad menus can destroy a game! The soundtrack is as good as anything to come out of Hollywood as well! I even found myself humming to the main theme!
The biggest gripe though are the numerous and long loading screens as it spoils the flow. A bit of optimisation can go a long way to immerse the player.
To answer my earlier question, is Destiny the game we hoped it would be? Totally, I became obsessed with the game very quickly and just think that the Beta is just a taster of what’s to come! I can’t wait to get right back in there come September and after so many let-downs since the new consoles launched last year, I believe we might finally have a game we can truly call next-gen.
As many of you would probably already know, there is much silliness to be had at The Tower as well, hit this LINK to see what happened when Gamer Attitude visited the hub!