The more that Bungie reveals about Destiny, the harder it becomes to describe. Is it a shooter? Is it an RPG? Is it an MMO? What’s up with all that space stuff? The game is really a combination of all these things. By allowing players to create their own characters (with a myriad of options to make yours truly unique) and thrusting them into a brand new shooter situations, Bungie is crafting one of the most ambitious titles of the next gen. I really hope they can stick the landing.
In Destiny, players are allowed to choose from three different classes. The Titan, whose focus is on close quarters combat, primarily utilizing a shotgun; the Hunter, who is the more stealth-oriented class, and the Warlock, who not only holds magic abilities but also works with ranged weaponry. Players can also choose the gender as well as the species with the options ranging from humans to the sinister robot-looking Exos as well as the Awoken, a sort of alien night elf type. You can even further customize your characters by picking their faces, eye color, lip color, hair style, hair color, and markings (ranging from face tattoos to scars).
The first area we were introduced to in Destiny was The Tower, the central hub for the game. Here is where players can interact with and mingle with other players, and where it explicitly feels the most like an MMO. During your time in the tower, you’ll see your character from a third-person POV. You’ll also be able to further customize your characters by finding or purchasing new armor, equipment, weapons, or upgrades for your personal vehicle.
Following our brief stint in the tower, we went out into the wild, in one of dozens of areas that players will eventually be able to explore in the full version of Destiny. Our group was tasked with infiltrating a base which was being occupied by a group of enemies. When players get in on the action you revert to a first person POV, and this is when it feels like a traditional shooter. The control scheme is almost exactly like Halo, with just a few adjustments, making it easy to learn for experienced shooter fans. While I was having a blast shooting aliens in the face and playing with my teammates, something unexpected happened, the server hosting the alpha demo crashed. We were told this was the first time that had happened all week, so perhaps it was a momentary glitch. After a brief setup period, we dove back into the game.
This next time we decided to just do some exploring. I asked one of the developers just how big the maps are for the areas that players can explore and he told me to just look around and see for myself. Without purposefully trying to make the game sound too good to be true, I couldn’t find the edges of the map. It’s enormous, and unlike some FPS games the environments aren’t just copies upon copies of the same area. It’s an evolving terrain that really feels like a complete world.
It’s impossible to pigeonhole Destiny into one specific category. Part shooter, part RPG, part MMO, it’s one of the most exciting and daunting game projects I’ve ever seen. The mechanics of the game work really smooth and the graphics are stunning, especially in the character creation. Fans looking for something unique will want to check this one out as there really is nothing else like it out there.
Destiny will be available for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One on September 9th.