Destiny Alpha Impressions

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Destiny has been a talking point for many gamers since its announcement last year. A first person shooter from the makers of the Microsoft exclusive Halo but this time on multi platform. Will it hold up against the likes of Halo, Battlefield, Killzone and the self-proclaimed king of the FPS genre Call of Duty? Well for some there has been the opportunity to try out an early Alpha build recently. Bungie released codes to players to participate in a weekend of Destiny action and JoypadAndMe were lucky enough to be able to sample some of the action.

Destiny First Look AlphaI’m not sure why but for some reason I wasn’t expecting much in the way of character customisation but I was happy to see that even in the alpha there was scope to create your own character. Firstly you can pick between 3 different character classes. The Titan, an armoured weapon of war. The Hunter, a master of the frontier and lastly a Warlock who can manipulate the universe’s energies to annihilate your foes. Each of them has their own strengths and weaknesses like most multi class shooters. Players will find a class they prefer and work with that but its worth trying others just to surprise yourself.

After picking the class you can customise your appearance, armour and detail colours. Even for an alpha this had a fair amount of scope to choose from. For my first playthrough I went with the Exo and a rather striking helmet design along with some nice red details.

From there it’s onto the action. With the PlayStation 4 being the amazing machine that it is, we are able to record our gameplay far easier than hooking up capture cards and such so I even managed to record my very first play with Destiny and here it is for you to enjoy.

My first reactions were…….stunning. The hype is justified. Everything looked amazing. The landscape, the draw distances and everything else! What I noticed after I picked my jaw up off the floor was that moving around felt like you had real weight to your character. In some games it can feel like your somewhat floating about in the landscape whereas here I felt very firm and planted to the ground. Add to this the feel of the weapon. It felt heavy and chunky. It moved from side to side fast enough but it felt as though there was effort to do so and I really liked that. I know we are talking about a sci fi fantasy title but I do like some form of realistic feel in there somewhere. This is something I have felt the Call of Duty franchise has lost. To me, everything feels the same and the connection to your character, your weapon and what you are doing has become lost whereas here with Destiny its back and in a big way. Travelling around you get the option of using what can only be described as a speeder bike not unlike those from the Return Of The Jedi. All I can hope for is a forest/jungle area where I can get together with friends and re-create that scene! the Bikes moved well enough although I did feel as though there wasn’t as much weight to the craft. I understand that it’s an anti gravity propelled vehicle and that it floats etc but its a machine built from varies metals and components and it would be nice to have it feel weighted when cornering and braking. This is however an alpha build with lots to develop and add to so all these opinions and observations are only for this particular alpha build and could be completely changed come release day.

One thing that we had seen from trailers is the inclusion of seemless multiplayer and community events happening during your gameplay. During my playthough I was able to see this in action as I suddenly came across other players as if from nowhere. No need to invite or bouncing in and out of games to play with friends. As the previous video showed, during a fight with a wizard I was joined or I possibly joined (its hard to tell as it really is seemless) a long time JoypadAndMe fan, Frawlzfans. In the next video you can clearly see me coming up to two complete strangers (not on my friends list) and joining them in a battle to take down a walking tank and its support troops. To be honest its hard to say just how often this kind of thing will happen in the release version but I look forward to seeing more of it and if this is an indication as to what this new console generation can do with its increased power then the sky really is the limit for what we can expect.

DestinyThe more I played, the more I felt a similar draw. It has been said that Destiny has the feel of a Halo meets Bioshock. I would also add that there is more than a little Mass Effect in the mix. There are more than a few similarities between Destiny’s Hub and Mass Effect’s Citadel. For me this is a really impressive move. I was blown away by Mass Effect and to have that same feeling for Destiny draws me in event more than normal. Destiny does have a lot to live up to if they are heading down that route but fingers crossed.

Talking of the Hub, there seems to be a lot you can do in the way of customizing your character, armour, weapons, offensive and defensive capabilities. Even from this alpha you can see the potential for a very varied arrangement that should give players the chance to feel unique in this game. It looks as though not only can you choose the type of combat you want to pursue ie. scout sniper, heavy weapons platform or assault master but there is a multitude of weapons for each style. I can’t wait to try them all out and perfect my style. They even teased a few weapons and armour parts that during the alpha you couldn’t use. clever move but I would like to know if they were going to allow alpha players to keep any equipment and characters made when Destiny releases or will everything will be wiped. I have a feeling it will all be wiped. This would be a bit of a shame but the level cap in the alpha was only 8 sand you could get there pretty quick so it wouldn’t take too long to get back to that point anyway. Just more time with Destiny and so far I cant see that as a bad thing at all.

DestinyI admit im not exactly the best FPS player and that probably blatantly obvious from the gameplay vids but I hope that they give you an idea of how the game looks and plays. I did have a few personal issues with the control layout as it wasn’t exactly what I was used to but it is something that can easily be gotten used to or customised. Gunplay felt great, the shots being fired felt as though they had force behind them as they left the barrel and the sounds were spot on for what I was expecting. The enemies encountered seemed strong enough to be a threat but most could be displaced with ease. With some more time the different enemies will become more obvious and relevant tactics to take them down will come to be second nature as well. I cant wait to see what Bungie have not shown us yet. For all that they are showing in trailers and this alpha, I can be fairly sure that they have kept plenty up their sleeve to shock and amaze us when this finally comes out for release. As an FPS I will state that I seriously think this could and will be a strong contender for the FPS crown. Even in its early alpha stage its a strong title and one that makes me want to play more and more. They say a pictures say more than words so why not watch the videos and see for yourself just what Destiny looks like already and don’t forget, this is only an ALPHA version so expect things to look even crisper and cleaner and gameplay to be even smoother. I wait with bated breath!

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