Destiny, the next game from the creators of Halo, and the first game Bungie has created that isn’t exclusive to Microsoft platforms, is nearly upon us. September 9th marks the day that PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One players will be able to play this new sci-fi epic, but for now, Bungie are holding a beta to test the game and it’s servers to ensure the full launch is as smooth as possible and all bugs are squashed. We’ve already looked at the alpha, now here are my thoughts on Destiny after sinking hours into the beta.
Now, I have to make one thing very clear. If there was no logo in the top right hand corner of the screen that clearly said “Beta Build,” this could pass as a full-fledged retail game. The graphics are stunning, with beautiful environments and great lighting. The sound is authentic and gripping (yes, Peter Dinklage’s voice acting has improved from the alpha). The sliver of story that I’ve seen is interesting. And, most importantly, the game is fun as hell. But above all this, however, is something that I find fascinating. I’ve encountered no bugs, glitches, crashes, freezes, disconnections or anything else of the kind. Yes, the PlayStation Network crashed when everyone tried to download the beta at the same time, but now that most people have accessed the beta, Bungie/Activision’s servers have held up remarkably. It really begs the question, why does this game have none of the issues in beta that some games have in their full launch and continue post-release? (I’m looking at you, Battlefield 4).
Obviously, the thing our audience looks for on OnlySP is coverage of single-player games. I can happily tell you that every story mission I’ve played has been able to be played solo. I select the mission, the game tells me I can have 1-3 players, and I jump in alone. In certain areas of the game, especially The Tower (the central hub of the game), you will run into other players, and for this reason, you do need an internet connection and to be signed in to PSN/XBL to play the game. But if you’re set on playing the story alone, no interaction with these other players is forced or necessary. Single-players, rejoice!
Obviously, Bungie has emphasised cooperative play for Destiny, with co-op only strike missions, and certain enemies that can be easier to take down with a team. This won’t be the same for everybody, but I love online co-op. For this reason, I definitely enjoy Destiny more when I’m partied up with some friends, taking on this massive universe together. Working as a team to take down a tough group of enemies, co-ordinating tactically, or sniping while your teammates lead the assault makes the game much more enjoyable in my book. But if you’re a strictly single-player gamer who wishes to take on the challenges of Destiny alone, you are definitely able to do that.
Destiny is a cross-platform, cross-generation game. Bungie has to spread its resources across four versions of the exact same game. Has this impacted negatively on the graphics of the new generation? I would have to say no. On the PS4, Destiny is nothing short of stunning. Everything from beautiful worlds, detailed characters, flashy particle effects and more are found here in Destiny, and it looks amazing. I’ve never encountered any frame rate or screen-tearing issues. If Bungie have Destiny looking this good in beta – what is essentially old code – I can’t wait to see what the final edition looks like come September 9.
Although he left Bungie under a shroud of mystery earlier this year, Martin O’Donnel’s score for Destiny is perfect. When you’re in a dark space, daunting music plays in the background to ratchet up the suspense level. Exhilarating, fast-paced music plays when you’re in the middle of a huge firefight, and music that inspires a sense of awe can be heard when overlooking huge environments such as the Tower. The guns sound great with every pull of the trigger, and the voice acting is great. Just like with the graphics, Bungie is nailing the sound.
The story in this beta is very limited. Obviously, the beta is there to test the servers, not tell you the story of the game. Yet what is available is interesting enough. It’s just enough to start laying the foundations of this world you’re a part of, and to explain why you’re doing what you’re doing. For now, the beta gives you enough story that will have you looking forward to learning more when the full game launches in September, and that’s what matters.
I love Halo, but I’m not too fond of MMOs or Borderlands. So when I initially saw footage of this game at E3 2013, I thought it would wind up being a combination of both games. To further my initial dislike of the game, a select few sites first got hands-on time with Destiny a few months ago with mixed previews. This put me off even more. Then people played the alpha (which I missed due to its unavailability in New Zealand), and it blew them away. Friends told me that my dislike of Borderlands should not put me off this game, so I decided to pre-order the game and try the beta. Boy am I glad I did.
The shooting mechanics are great, finding helpful loot is fun, the game is challenging-but-not-frustrating in some areas and the world to explore is huge. I even dabbled in the PvP gameplay for a while, and I now know that’ll take up a lot of my time in September. Not once has Destiny’s gameplay annoyed or frustrated me. My deaths have been my fault and a learning experience, and have allowed me to go in with a new strategy to emerge victorious. Every minute I’ve put into the game has been fun, and above all else, that’s what matters most.
The beta for Destiny is outstanding. There is a wealth of content which will only grow bigger for the full release, the graphics and sound are both impeccable but most importantly, the game is simply a blast to play. Whether you buy it on PS3, Xbox 360, PS4 or Xbox One, it’s looking like you’re going to have a great time with it. It is a fantastic take on mixing an FPS with an MMO and the beta is a great indication that the full release will blow us all away.
What are your thoughts on the Destiny beta? Have you been enjoying it, or has it put you off the full game? Sound off in the comments below, I’d love to hear your opinions.