Over the weekend I was one of the lucky few to get their grubby mitts on the Destiny first-look alpha on the PS4. Now, I’ll be the first to put my hands up and say I’ve never been a big fan of first-person shooters, half because I generally suck at them, and half because they never seem to want to innovate a great deal.
Recently, however, a couple of games have started to change my mind about this. The first was Wolfenstein: The New Order, which whilst not particularly innovative – other than in its decision to look backwards towards multi-path maps, health that doesn’t regenerate and, best of all, the ability to dual wield almost anything – was great fun and was a game I found I was actually pretty good at (relative to my usual uselessness).
The second, on the basis of the 3 missions and 1 multiplayer game mode across 2 maps, is Destiny. I should add as an addendum to the above that the one FPS series I have consistently loved (and probably the only one I’ve gotten 100% every game in the series) was Halo under Bungie. To say that my level of expectation for Destiny was high is an understatement. To say that the game looks like it will surpass it… well, that’s nothing short of a revelation.
Graphically the game looks magnificent – textures are detailed, lighting effects bloom and subside, weapons clunk with weight. Importantly, too, performance did not alter in the slightest whether there were 8 guardians and tonnes of enemies in the area or it was just me slugging my way through the wasteland, staring at vista upon vista.
Once you’ve created your character and complete the first mission, a classic ‘walk around and kill everything on the way to your objective’ mission on a huge open map you can choose between going back to ‘the tower’, the last remaining city and upgrading your gear, selling extras you don’t need and dancing on the heads of other players, or heading into to the next available mission type on the map.
This next mission type recalls your classic MMO – its an open map with mission markers dotted around for you to engage with at will as other players stroll in and out of your world, helping you clear monsters. At other times random events will appear which you can join up with other players to complete – be it the appearance of giant spider mech to destroy or a beacon to protect from swarms of enemies. It all works extremely smoothly – until you walk into very specific mission area and anyone not actually in an in-game group with you suddenly vanishes into thin air, but thats a minor gripe.
Multiplayer seems well balanced and well-set up already – but i’d expect no less from Bungie given the experience they have in this area. All in all – from this small sliver of gameplay, Destiny looks like it could be the game to be most excited about this year.
Dont forget – if you pre-order now you’ll get access to the beta on july 17th!