I originally wanted to write a nice long and detailed opinion piece on my experiences with the Bungie Destiny beta. But, as we all know, I’m not exactly a professional in the review front, so I thought I’d just stick with what I know and type something else instead. So welcome to my personal post on the Destiny beta experience.
Through the PS4, with my preorder of the game through Gamestop, I got the early access along with many others. I wasn’t 100% sure I was even going to like this game, considering I’m not exactly the target FPS type of guy. If anyone that has read my blog before remembers, the only reason I picked up the Call of Duty series was because of my son. So considering I got to try it out for a tiny $5 deposit on a game that I could cancel (and with the approval of our wonderful Gamestop friends, redirect that cash toward another preorder, possibly), I figured I couldn’t lose. Better than spending a full $60 and regretting it!
Will I be canceling my preorder of Bungie’s Destiny?
Destiny is a beautiful (I tend to overuse that word, I know) game play experience. It’s rich in story and gameplay depth. The fact that you can play through the campaign as a single player or bring friends along, forming a Fireteam, is a fantastic option to have. And with this being a FPSMMORPG (a mouthful, I know, but that’s how I’d classify it) it delivers on all fronts of that genre. The first person experience is very comfortable to slip in to and I loved every second of it, even when I got my butt handed to me by the AI. The MMO aspect is a nice feature, knowing there are others around populating the world. It’s actually comforting to be out scouring a location crawling with enemies and suddenly have a Fireteam come running in to help mop up a group of Fallen. And finally, the RPG portion, the leveling of your character class and discovering the loot crates, which were far and few between, and also unlocking new weapons and customizable armor are all fun additions to help you create a unique game world to get lost in and invest valuable hours with.
The story, considering this was a beta build, was fleshed out well enough to give you more of a demo feel. Voice overs by Peter Dinklage as your personal Ghost was a bit dry, but Bungie still have another month or so to add more depth to the flatness of the performance. Not to jab at Dinklage, I’m sure he did exactly what was asked of him. The missions were involved enough to set up what you were working for and of the danger coming to the Last City on Earth, protected by the dormant Traveler. Our characters were level-capped at 8 but you were given enough experience to grow your classes powers and get a real feel for what they could do. The skill trees/options were also visible, allowing you to browse what you could unlock as your character progressed. Hovering the cursor over a particular skill allowed you to glimpse changes that the upgrade would have on your stats, such as increasing or decreasing armor, strength, etc. It was all a very nice preview of things to look forward to in the final release in August.
On a personal note, concerning the gameplay and story, that I really enjoyed was the fact that you are playing against your environment. At least, as far as I’m concerned, the actual story mode and locations allow for PVE, pitting us Guardians – a.k.a., the human players – against the enemy Fallen, which are computer controlled. It’s nice to play against an AI enemy, in my opinion, especially in an FPS. That human vs. human PVP action is what I dislike most about games such as Call of Duty and Battlefield and such. You get the extremely competitive players in there and they tend to ruin it for everyone else by going freaking nuts and trying to outgun and outrun each other, taking the fun out of the entire event. That’s not to say you can’t engage with other players, but when you do, it’s as allies working toward a common goal – such as with the random events that can happen at various locations. Everyone will get a notification when an event is happening and a timer will go off. You then have a set amount of time to reach the specified area and join others against a common objective. Work together and achieve victory, and everyone is rewarded. If you should fail, so be it. Go on back to what you were doing before.
Fear not, competitive players. You won’t be disappointed. You haven’t been left out. One adventure I didn’t partake in, sadly, was The Crucible. The Crucible is where you can go and get your fix of combating other Guardians. I know there are at least 6 versus 6 matches within the hallowed walls, allowing players to get in there and battle it out to see who is the best. For those true MMO min/max folks, this will probably also allow them to go all nerdy with the final release and create those perfect builds for character classes so others can follow the same cookie cutter designs. I’ll save all that fun for the folks who like that kind of thing. Don’t worry, I don’t plan on getting in your way!
So as the beta trial weekend wraps up over the next day or so, I have to say that I’m sold. Bungie has brought me into their fold with Destiny and I absolutely can not wait for September 9, 2014 to arrive so I can pick up my retail disc. I’m a fan, hook, like and sinker. What I’ve experienced first hand, read on other sites and watched from other players has given me an excitement for a game that I haven’t felt in some time. That may not be saying much for the hardcore lot, and it may sound odd to the more casual groups, but for me and others like me, we understand. If you didn’t get a chance to experience it for yourself, I hope you are able to gather enough information in the coming weeks to make a decision, one way or another. As for me and my console, we will be answering the call and preparing for the good fight when the call comes.
Be brave, Guardian.