Yesterday I got my first taste of Destiny in the Alpha testing phase. Having signed up when the Alpha became available during E3, I received a code to try out the build. So far, the experience has been fun if a little underwhelming.
You start off, of course, creating your character and choosing from one of the 3 main factions; hunter, titan and warlock. After a long debate and inner turmoil I chose hunter over warlock and set out to make my half head shaved, red headed alien chick because why not. From there they drop you into the world in the very first quest of the game. You are led around by “Ghost,” a little floating orb voiced by Peter Dinklage (though halfheartedly) gives you some insight on where you are and what the background is. However, I felt a little lost being dropped in with no real explanation of who the aliens (The Fallen) are, why I’m fighting them and what the overall premise is.
The game has all the mechanics of an FPS when out in the world. As you progress you can upgrade abilities, like gain double jump, have better focus with certain guns and throw knives instead of just needing to be up close and personal. Certain abilities need charging after use though, and throwing knives, along with grenades, are a couple of these. It makes for a fairer fight and causes you to save said grenade for larger groups rather than wasting it on a couple of Fallen.
After your run through with the first quest, you head to the Tower, which is the main hub where you can upgrade armor, weapons and your ship. You can receive rewards from your faction’s leader and interact with other players. Here it is immediately thrown into 3rd person and feels like a true MMO, running around a base and being able to “wave” to and “dance” with players, etc. It definitely brought me back to my Old Republic MMO days (which were short lived, FYI).
Later on in my play-through I joined up with two friends in their FireTeam. It makes traveling with each other easy; the leader of the squad can choose to go to orbit and pick a new destination and you all follow instantly with the same loading screens. Working together was fun and definitely makes quests far more manageable. This feels like a game that can be completed alone, but you are going to get a lot more out of it if you head out in groups.
We did choose an “explore” mission that wasn’t part of the story, but a lot of it had mini-quests that were essentially “kill this many bad guys” or “go after this one souped up bad guy.” Fun for a bit, but not for prolonged play.
The game itself is beautiful, there’s definitely no faults there. Great renderings, beautiful skyline views and just a nice overall art direction.
So far, the game feels like WoW in that you complete quests to level up and gain XP, but not in that its an FPS/action game, which is more something that would keep me interested. It’s a different take on the MMO world and is seamless in its integration. It’s been fun and this weekend I’ll take the time to explore even more and give the Crucible a try, which is the PvP arena. I’m not sure it 100% lives up to the hype, but keeping it mind this is an Alpha build, there really could be much more to come when the game is finally released.