Destiny Beta Leaves Us Wanting More
For a long time we have been waiting for Bungie to bring their next flagship title to the consoles. After making Halo the phenomenon that it is today, Bungie set out on their own to explore their future in console arena. The hype behind their long awaited flagship title, Destiny, has been the hot topic of the year especially after Sony’s E3 stage presentation. Well you can believe the hype, because if the full version of Destiny plays anything like the Destiny Beta then Bungie is a very high contender for game of the year. Destiny combines everything you love about Halo, FPS shooters, and MMORPGS and combines them perfectly to create a groundbreaking new franchise that has the potential to rival Halo in popularity.
I bring up Halo purely because the game plays a lot like Halo, and in essence Destiny is a Halo MMO, but it is also not Halo in all the right ways. For instance, melee attacks in Destiny are fast and effective, however not completely overpowered. In Multiplayer (Control) it takes two melee attacks sometimes to kill a full armored opponent. In campaign you are able to “one-shot” a lot of enemies, but taking on a hive knight or wizard with just a melee attack is not advised. The controls are fluid and it is a very polished first person shooter. The open worlds are large, have hidden chests, and many caves that have high level enemies and loot. And the game is just beautiful. The graphics in the opening cinematics and in all other aspects of the gameplay will make you happy you bought a next-gen system. Bungie’s Joe Staten in an interview with X360 Magazine stated that, “You can bet that no matter where we are, we’re going to make the game look great.” Destiny followed through with this claim and it is gorgeous on all platforms. The Destiny Beta was only available in 1080p to PS4 owners, but is promised on launch day to be running at 1080p on both next-gen consoles.
Something that is not talked about much when concerning game releases is the soundtrack. Destiny has some completely epic and adrenaline filled campaign zones and has the soundtrack to match. When you and your fire team are battling hordes of thralls and feeling like a badass there is nothing better than an epic soundtrack in the background. However, when in a heartfelt cinematic the music calms down to a beautiful intrapersonal melody. Bungie’s own music composers, Martin O’Donnell, with the help of co-writer, Michael Salvatori, are responsible for this masterpiece and I can’t wait to hear more.
Destiny brings together the FPS and MMO genre in perfect balance and I found myself wondering why this hadn’t been done before. Before jumping into the vast world of Destiny you have to create your character. There are three races and classes to choose from. There are no racial abilities so your choice of race is completely cosmetic. There is a wide variety of customization for your characters from hair, markings, facial structure, make-up, etc. The three classes (Titan, Hunter, Warlock) have different abilities and talent trees and more subclasses are unlocked after level 15. All three characters are extremely fun to use and hopefully will continue to remain balanced in the years to come. Once you complete the tutorial you are able to join your friends in fire teams of three to complete the campaign. Where Respawn Entertainment tried to make a multiplayer campaign and failed Bungie excels. Adding a friend to a fire team is simple and if you were already in a fire team before with certain friends you will be automatically added upon booting up Destiny. The small details are also some of the greatest features of Destiny. For instance, when adding people to your fire team you see their ship fly in behind yours and when joining others in the Crucible (PVP) your ships all meet up in hyperspace together. While these features have nothing to do with gameplay this is the attention to detail that Bungie is known for and just adds more polish to an already polished game.
The Last City (as it is called in-game) is the central hub in Destiny where you can buy upgrades, unlock gear, learn from your trainer, and check your mail. The city is not unnecessarily large and serves the functions that it is there for. There is no chat function short of the four emotes that are linked to the D-pad, but we will see if chat or trade is added in the final version. These are features that most MMO loyalists are waiting for, but I enjoyed that they are not included because it keeps a lot of the MMO trolling out of the game and keeps it focused on gameplay. Bungie seems to want players to use the voice chat functions of the console instead of typing in a chat window.
There is vast amount of weapons and armor and they are coded much like World of Warcraft in which white is common, green is uncommon, blue is rare, and so on. Not only are you able to upgrade your characters abilities, but your gear also levels up to gain new abilities allowing you to further customize your toon with gear perks. Each character is able to hold a primary weapon, a special weapon (sniper rifle or pulse rifle), and a heavy weapon (heavy machine gun or rocket launcher). There is a low ammo cap for each special weapon which really helps to balance their potency. Snipers can only perch for so long until needing to refill ammo and having to switch back to their primary weapon to hunt for more. All of the weapons are viable and even the hand cannon is a legit primary weapon and proves the magnum is timeless.
Although the Destiny Beta was exciting and very well done it was not without its kinks. There was many issues for PS4 users concerning framerate drops and certain stuttering of their character at times. Being the only console that was running the beta at 1080p it can be assumed that Bungie was using this time to test out the high resolution on live gameplay. The Xbox One encountered different problems during the beta in the form of stabilization issues and chat functions. Sometimes it was hard to connect to the Destiny Beta servers and sometimes the Xbox would tell me that I was not connected to Xbox Live even when connected. Also, while in game it was not possible to hear the members of my party without having to keep the party app unsnapped while playing. Or sometimes it wasn’t possible to hear them at all. This proved very frustrating as this is a very basic feature that has been around since the PS2, but something that Bungie will hopefully have handled upon release.
Destiny Beta definitely left us all wanting more with the level cap at 8 and only the first section of Earth unlocked. The tease of the beta was excellent and Destiny may be the first epic franchise that we will see come to the next-gen systems. And so everyone waits now with baited breath for September so they are able to fulfill their Destiny. Players all over the world are now left with a void inside that they are trying to fill with other games to tie them over for the next five weeks until release. What games are you playing to fill the void that Destiny Beta left? Let us know in the comments below and make sure to stay tuned to areyougaming.com for all your Destiny news.
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