Well, after much waiting I finally managed to have a good old go on the Destiny beta. It had an absurdly low level cap of eight that I reached within a few hours, but I was greeted with a game that I can say without doubt I’m beyond excited for. From the moment Peter Dinklage’s soft tones emit forth from the super-cute and ultra-cool Ghost, to the error message that booted me off the beta in the early hours of the morning, I don’t think I’ve sat and stared in awe at a game’s vista like I have at the Last City – not in a long time.
Bungie have said that Destiny will usher in a more idealistic story than we might expect in this modern age of cynical, self-piteous drivel. One of the major themes I got straight off the bat was holding on to hope in the face of everything having gone really, really bad – and you can’t help but feel patriotic for the Guardians’ cause, doomed though it may appear. When Ghost excitedly encourages you that when he decided to wake you up he chose well, I actually smiled and nodded bashfully – that’s the power rumbling at the core of Destiny.
The Beta - which, technically, should really be called ‘Gamma’ or something, given the amount that can change in the four weeks until release – took me on a brief journey around what was Russia, with some exploration mixed in. It’s all very much in the tradition of Halo – to the extent that I get the feeling this might have been Halo 4 if Microsoft had played their cards a little differently. Ghost is a dead ringer for 343 Guilty Spark, the Guardians could easily have been Spartans – and yet Destiny still forges its own identity. That’s a paradox, isn’t it?
There’s also a bit of Borderlands and World of Warcraft strewn about, as Bungie take the first-person shooter, the role-playing game and the massively-multiplayer online game and rearrange their acronyms into something so beautifully readable. Loot peppers the battlefield, and fellow Guardians fight alongside you in three-man fireteams, which can result in your merry trio facing off against mighty raid bosses and legions of armoured foes!
It’s pretty awesome.
However, since this is a beta test, I do have some minor suggestions. Stop me if they’re too nitpicky!
- Could the spawn time on Sparrows be reduced slightly? When I want to summon a jetbike, I have to tap the touchpad and then hold Square for two seconds – which is not that inconvenient, but since I’ve already brought up Ghost, a simple tap of Square would get me moving more quickly with less standing around!
- Could we either unify the ammo types, or properly separate them? It was a smart move to lump ammo together into just Primary, Special and Heavy. It minimises stress on a hectic battlefield, and avoids me holding on to redundant types. But if you swap out your Special or Heavy Weapon, you instantly lose all the ammo you had for it – ammo that doesn’t come back if you re-equip the original gun, which isn’t fun.
- Could there be more ammo in general? Towards the end of the Beta, I found myself regularly running dry of ammunition, and in several cases it was actually advantageous to die, since resurrecting restocks you! I would suggest making ammo drop more regularly from enemies, and/or maybe make primary ammunition infinite to always provide a way out, but also encourage the use of heavier weapons when it counts? (Plus, there’s something badass about having a battle rifle as a sidearm.)
- Could we swap to first-person when at the Tower? Third person is a nice option, but I’d prefer to explore the hub in first-person if that were an option.
And that’s it. Aside from those slight requests, Destiny rules. I’m excited beyond reason.