In practice, writing a “review” of a beta is not the wisest thing to do. With that said, try not to think of this as a “review” of the Destiny beta but merely my thoughts on it as a Guardian within The Last City. For those that are unsure what Destiny is, it is Bungie’s sort of shooter/MMO hybrid with the setting of various different planets in our solar system. Yes, you can actually go to the moon.
When I first started playing the beta, the first thing I noticed outside of how beautiful the game looked was how the controls felt familiar. The controls in Destiny felt like any average shooter, which in my mind is both good, and not necessarily a good thing either. Where this stands as a good thing for the game is in the sense that if you’ve played a lot of shooters over the years you’ll be able to adapt to it easily. Even if you haven’t played many shooters or are new to them, you’ll be able to learn them fairly quickly. The downside to this fact however, it does not seem to be “unique” enough to separate it from the others.
I have a feeling the story will be really good. The several story missions we were allowed to play during the beta were fun and I was instantly captivated to find out who the mysterious Traveler is. While I enjoyed the narrative of the story, I felt the actual missions themselves were rather repetitive. It felt like you were simply going from point A to point B and then back to the start again. It reminded me a lot of some of the levels from the original Halo’s campaign; which may have been okay for a game to do back then but not so much with today’s games.
The Crucible is going to be the competitive multiplayer of Destiny. In the basic modes every player will be on an equal playing field, while you’ll be able to use that sweet sniper rifle you found in a Strike its bonus attributes won’t be active. I didn’t get a whole lot of hands on time with the Crucible during the beta as I kept getting kicked from matches up until the last three days. From what I was able to play of it the Crucible felt unbalanced to me. Some weapons, such as the pulse rifle, where absolutely amazing in the rest of the game but lacked that awesome feeling once you started using it in PVP.
Strikes allow you to team up with two other people via matchmaking or by bringing in a couple of friends. The Devil’s Lair Strike was available to play during the beta and took roughly a half-hour to complete on normal difficulty. I can see Strikes being an easy to way to kill a short amount of time while having the chance to earn some good loot and money. The Devil’s Lair didn’t seem too difficult, but I was only courageous enough to play it on normal not hard. If bumping up the difficulty doesn’t make Strikes nearly impossible to complete they will also offer up a decent challenge.
I easily see myself spending the majority of my playing time in the Explore mode. Here, you can chose a major location of the game (the beta let us explore Old Russia, but each planet will have a location to explore) and just go in and find what is hiding throughout the level. Having played a lot of Borderlands 2 since it released I have grown to like running around expansive levels seeing what loot I can find or killing a bunch of enemies patrolling.
I really liked how character progression worked during the beta. Leveling up didn’t seem to take forever, but on the other hand it didn’t seem too easy to rank up either. Upgrading your guardian’s abilities was accomplished by simply playing. Say you were killing a bunch of enemies using your characters super ability; eventually you would be able to get the next upgrade for it. Same way with grenades, movement and even if you had more armor instead of health. Weapon progression worked the same way that character upgrades did, the more you use it, the more you could upgrade it. I did notice that it was only with green level or higher items that you could get upgrades for. However, it did seem like upgrades for weapons were obtained quicker than those for your guardian.
Overall I fully believe Destiny will be a good game, but some tweaks will hopefully be made to it before release. I’m anxious to find out where the narrative for the story leads us to but hoping that the levels will not feel too repetitive. The Crucible needs a bit of tweaking so it can feel balanced and by the time the game is out we’ll most likely see some of these changes. Personally I will find myself playing the Explore and Strike modes a lot as they seem to be rather fun. I hope to see my fellow guardians on September 9th!