My impressions from the recent Destiny Alpha

At first glance while I was very eager to play the game I will admit that I originally dismissed it as a “Halo” in terms of how the game was laid out. Let’ not forget that it was Bungie who made Halo what it is today and there are definitely traces of Halo in the game. But it’s so much more than that, much much more as I’d soon find out.

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I’m a huge fan of many games and genres, which is made up of First Person Shoots and Massive Multiplayer Online RPGS (MMO’s) so of course I really wanted to try out Destiny. I mean not only was it hyped by just about any and everyone who had access to the game prior to the alpha but I was enthralled that someone decided to clash these two genres together and managed to do so successfully. Now I know there’s going to be someone who says “But Planetside also did this“, but I’m going to have to agree to disagree with you. I just didn’t get that the same experience from Planetside that I did with Destiny, not that Planetside is a bad game but it’s too massive in scope which is something that Destiny has managed to captive my attention. I’ll expand on that later.

Immediately after loading the game up you’re presented to perhaps some of the best graphics to show up on the PlayStation 4 currently. It’s simply beautiful and fluid. For an alpha build the game ran without a hitch.

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Believe me when I saw it was impressive almost to a point where I could stop wishing for a PC version… almost. Though I am a bit bummed that the game is only running at 1080p / 30 fps but I suspect that it’s due to the gaming being developed for multiple systems, namely the 7th generation of consoles (PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360) as well as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It’s something that’s going to keep showing it’s ugly head until cross platform development stops, but I’ll get off my soap box on that and just defer to my last article that I explained this on more detail – here.

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Before you could jump into the game you were greeted with a character creation screen. Here you need to pick your character class which consisted of; the Titan which is basically your tank or heavy class, a walking fortress so to speak. The Warlock which is the all around class with an infinity for using spells along side of weapons and then you have the Hunter who can only be described as , well a hunter or ranger type class with the who recon and stealth going fo them. I choose the Warlock, spells and guns man!

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After choosing the class you could now selected between a male or female from several races; Human’s, Exo’s and Awoken and from those three races you could customize certain aspects such as eyes, hair, skin tone, tattoo’s. It’s not as vast as say Phantasy Star Online or Wildstar but it gets to the point and if one isn’t careful they can easily spend an hour or more in there. Typically I try to recreate my wife when I’m tasked with creating my own character which is a bane to her as I usually yell at the top of lungs to get her to come to me and then ask her which features I should add.

Trust me if you haven’t tried this with your spouse or significant other, you should. It’s tons of fun.

So what could you do in the Alpha?

It’s an alpha and typically there isn’t really to much to do however this time around we were able to do quite a few things.  In the alpha players had access to three different locations; The Tower, Old Russia and the Crucible.

The Tower which serves as the main city and home for the Guardians. Here you can pick up missions in the form of bounties, turn in unknown items that you pick up from missions or from just exploring the world and racking up some kills, buy weapons and armor, check out the flight hanger  or just chill with your fellow Guardians.

Old Russia served as the area that the entire alpha was confined to. Once a thriving human colony that has now fallen into despair. Nothing but abandoned buildings, wrecked aircrafts, mountains and so forth. Here you could locate a mission beacon and choose to complete that mission just explore the vast area and blast away any random enemies you come upon… or you could run if the enemies proved to be too much or on a higher level that you, which is something I encountered a lot.

Crucible is where Guardians head to for some PVP action. Here you could test your skills against other human player and sadly I did not partake in them during the beta at all as I just wanted to explore the world and play around with the Strikes.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGl0iPEtt6M

Don’t ask me about the story. C’mon, it’s an alpha and since when do we care about the story when the alpha or even a beta is so limited to the point where the story is even relevant to anyone. Stories come in play with the full release, so we’ll talk more when that time comes.

M’kay?

Destiny handles co-op play outside of PVP a little differently in what Bungie likes to call Strikes. Strikes are basically dungeons, so if you’ve ever played a MMO such as World of Warcraft then you got the general idea. Strikes allow for three Guardians to group up for some cooperative action and they typically last between 20-30 minutes, though depending on the level you played on or how versed your fellow guardians were it could take longer. In the alpha we had access to one Strike that involved in surviving a massive swarm of enemies while your AI (See, Halo traits) attempts to take down a security grid that is denying the ability to move further into the Strike and two boss phases that involved taking down a massive Spider Tank known as the Devil Walker and the last boss that had Guardians taking out an AI known as Septiks Prime.

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Spider Tank, Spider Tank! Stomps your ass faster than you can blink!

All in all I had a blast with the Strike and while the alpha was limited to one Strike I didn’t have any complaints going back as the group make up different from each time I attempted one.  I wasn’t too thrilled with the “Hold off the enemy while I open this door” but I enjoyed the actual boss encounters, especially the Septiks Prime fight. Not sure if it was the moody music or the fact that I’ve exchanged my sword for a kick ass gun, grenades and some sci-fi flair.

Things that I didn’t like

As many things that Destiny does right there are several items that I didn’t care for and I hope that those will be addressed. First up is the navigation system. Sure it’s simple and does it’s job but there are times when you bring up the map to get your bearings and the marker is hidden due to the background. Many times i found myself moving away from most buildings so I could see the blasted marker.

I also didn’t care for the floaty jumps and (here we go) I didn’t care for it back in Halo. I would rather jump and then begin to descend rapidly vs slowing getting to the ground. At the same time it made for some unresponsive double jumps especially when you’re playing the Warlock class who’s double jump ability is move of a glide. I know one mission where I had to jump a makeshift ramp with the speeder and jump off it to reach the cave was a huge pain due to me misjudging the jump.

TEASING! I really hate when alphas or beta’s restrict you to a specific level and then proceed to drop armor and weapons for you, higher level weapons at that, that you can’t equip because you’re level capped. Don’t do this, don’t tease us. I’d love to know what that Super Ultra Plasma rifle does, no really I would.

Ultimately in the end when the alpha had finally winded down I was saddened as I really enjoyed my time with Destiny and I just didn’t want it to end. It’s pretty rare for me as I’m mainly a PC gamer to be so deeply involved in such a title as nearly 96% of my FPS games are played on the PC which the exception being those rare must play console FPS’ such as the Halo series.  Thanks to the alpha by outlook on the game changed from “Hmm, that’s pretty interesting” to “Yep this is going to be a day one title” and “When does it come out so I can call off from work.

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Until then I’ll be eagerly awaiting the release.

P.S. You sure you can’t bring this to PC, Bungie?

 

About The Author

Keith Mitchell
Editor-in-chief and all-around good guy!

Keith Mitchell is the Founder and Editor in Chief of The Outerhaven. A grizzled IT professional during the day, but a passionate lover of video games after his 9-5 grid. Loves playing the Dark Souls series and has been gaming since he was 6 years old. You can find him on Twitter as @Shadowhaxor or you can email her at keith.mitchell@theouterhaven.net.

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