Opinion: Destiny Beta Is An Addictive Multiplayer Experience



Easily the most anticipated game of the year, Destiny demonstrated a mere fraction of its content over the weekend to eager fans.  Initially intended as a closed beta, gamers fought their way through the Cosmodrome by visiting Old Russia and were soon joined by the rest of their respective gaming community when the beta was opened to the public.  Intense battles were fought, arguments were had, and exclamations of how shiny and pretty everything was were plentiful over the duration of this beta.  In hindsight, my friends and I couldn’t be more excited.

Visual

The visual elements of the Destiny beta far surpassed what was initially expected of such an early introduction to what some are concluding is very close to the finished product.  While we personally experienced gamer tag glitches, some visual tearing on the Xbox 360 and occasional invisible characters, the beta was fairly consistent and seamless in its visual experience.

The world of Destiny is expansive and impeccably detailed which encourages repeating missions for the sake of a new visual experience.  I was able to enjoy The Divide/Restoration during sunrise, daytime, sunset, and evening.  While other games have implemented a day night system, I would say Destiny is the first to offer a seamless feeling of time passing with subtle detailing in the environments which added to the overall feel of playing at a different time.

Unfortunately, while the lighting outside in the various environments was a delight, lighting inside buildings left much to be desired.  There were multiple areas where brightness settings needed to be adjusted in order to proceed into an area.  These issues only arose during instances when the overhead lamp was not available to the player to use.  In areas where the lamp automatically switched on to provide players with a light source, the lighting was fantastic and reminiscent of Metro: Last Light.  It was wonderfully creepy and delightful at the same time.

Game Play

Alas, in all betas, things will be broken!  While that was the case for certain aspects of Destiny, there were no major flaws when it came to actual game play.  The controls are nearly identical to Halo and quickly become second nature.  As evident in game play videos, the gestures are a huge hit with the community and create humor in an otherwise seemingly dark world.

The game play is fluid and intuitive with balanced AI.  Enemy encounters are fast paced and  Players looking for a challenge will find themselves dying quickly if they are too low level to complete specific story mission (Level 6 Strike Mission anyone?!).  The impact of a player’s chosen gear will show immensely as enemies become increasingly harder to kill.  The gear/equipment system is similar to any MMO with random drops, loot crates, and shops strewn out around the world for players to upgrade their character.  With a level cap of 8, gamers were introduced to legendary level 20 gear, but were unable to use it.  Even with poor gear, players can find themselves succeeding if they play in a fireteam.
consistent with character levels for specific areas.

The addition of fireteams in order to play the story missions with others is a welcome aspect of Destiny.  Touted as a fully multiplayer game, Destiny incorporates the addition of extra Guardians into the levels effectively and there are always enough enemies for everyone to get a piece of the action.  Outside of the fireteams, players will come across others playing solo or in another fire team.  As a result, areas are generally cleared with far more players than the three player maximum set by Bungie for missions.

The introduction of random public community events to draw players on the same server together also creates a fun and cohesive experience.  Players are encouraged to work together to complete a random objective and participation is voluntary.  While these missions are entertaining, Bungie fails to capitalize on proximity and in game chat.  Players were unable to communicate to others outside of their party and often had to hope players made the right decisions when facing a tough enemy.  Bungie has confirmed it is working on implementing and fixing the chat aspect of the game prior to the final launch.

In addition to the chat issues, the PvP multiplayer was available to players in the form of domination.  The multiplayer maps took players to Venus, Earth, Mars and the Moon.  Players use their own gear and equipment in the multiplayer to face competitors and capture objectives.  The maps were balanced, detailed, and felt very open.  With the exception of the Moon map, I found the maps to be fantastic.   However, the server lag led to a mediocre experience when facing competitors as first shots were never truly first shots.  Hit boxes had a tendency to be a hot mess depending on your chosen weapon and often players found themselves shooting far more than would be necessary in other titles to defeat an opponent.  Hopefully, this issue will be addressed in the final version of the game.  Overall, the game play is smooth, fun, and intriguing.

Summary

The Destiny beta delivered on its visual and game play aspects. While there was little to no story during the beta, the visual and game play aspects solidifies Destiny as the must play game of the year. A few changes to address player concerns and fixing the current flaws will lead to a highly polished finished product. Destiny is the game to play this year.

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