Alright, I guess it’s time to put on my big boy pants and get this done. I should let you know that I’m not a huge fan of first person shooters, mostly because I’m not that great at them. I’m good enough to get through single player without too much trouble but when it comes to playing up against other people, I flat out bite the big one. I tend to approach MMOs with the same kind of apprehension for, basically, the same reason. I’m typically not the kind of person that is able to keep up with the learning curve that suddenly shows up in certain aspects of games like those. In comes talk of Destiny in my gaming world and things seem a little weird – I hear about a game where it plays like a single player first person shooter but integrates multiplayer features in such a way that you’re coming in and out of multiplayer areas without even knowing it and working together as opposed to against one another. While I’m not a huge fan of these kinds of games, I’ll admit, I was a little excited to try this one on. Not long ago I was given the chance to take part in the beta test phase for Destiny thanks to the wonderful local gaming community here where I live and I’m here to report my initial findings in having played this game for the PlayStation 4.
The First 20 Minutes
Right from the moment you first boot the game up you’re treated to a download prompt, meaning if you’re playing the PlayStation 4 copy of the beta version of the game you’ll have to wait for a 10GB download. While I don’t mind the wait, myself, I know plenty of people that do and if they’re anything like me a long wait for a download when you thought the game was good to go can feel like forever. Once that was done and I got into the game proper, I was able to see the MMO influence almost immediately: you’re prompted to customize your character into three different classifications that affect your play style and then aesthetically customize your character. From that point you’re driven into a good taste of the lore surrounding the game and shot right into the interface and gameplay without much more explanation other than “you’re being chased, get the hell out of here!” It does a pretty good job of setting the scene for you in a very classically Bungie way by giving you a little floating assistant to point you in the right direction and give you the scope of what you’re facing. I was able to complete the first mission without much trouble and after the mission completion – seriously, the mission is pretty simple: get away from bad guys, who flank and outnumber you anyway, forcing you to grab your nearest weapon, confront them, and then escape – I was whisked away to the “Tower”, which is a kind of safe area where players can congregate, shop, choose mission objectives, and the like. I was able to basically grasp a lot of the shops, how they work, and their locations without too much effort. I spent quite some time checking things out, though.
In the first twenty minutes of actually playing the game, I do have to say that the game looks and feels very good. I tend not to live and die by the graphical content of a game but I have to admit that this game looks very good. I haven’t witnessed any slowdown just yet and the effects are fairly simple without coming off as cheap. Scenery looks beautiful and that’s definitely to be expected from the guys that brought us Halo. In terms of the gameplay itself, it feels very much like Halo melded with Borderlands in that there’s a lot of shooter elements that are mixed with various RPG elements as well. By no means is it revolutionary; for what it is, though, it works well: it’s a good, solid experience that stays well within the context of its lore and environment. Enemy weapon projectiles moved slower than I thought they would in a shooter, oddly enough, I can’t complain about that, as it just makes it easier to survive, but I did find it rather unusual. This “Tower” place feels less like a respite and more like a hub town from some kind of MMORPG, really.
Thoughts on What’s to Come
I’ve actually played another couple missions after my initial playing of the game and my thoughts on the game aren’t likely to change if they keep the base concept the same: I’ve played games like Borderlands, Dust 514, and WarFrame and having done so pretty thoroughly, I feel I already know what’s to come: you have a game with a central hub system that divvies up all of your missions, equipment, and social interaction and a mission structure that serves to challenge you with gameplay and reward you with experience and loot as a result of how you played the mission. I know, you’re probably thinking “well, putting it that way, it sounds like a ton of games that I’ve played” and you’d be completely right. My thoughts on the game can be summed up like this: “this game isn’t quite meeting the hype but I’m okay with that.” I’m not even sure Bungie really planned to make a revolutionary game. Maybe I misinterpreted what they were advertising for when this game was getting press but I had the feeling that this game was going to change everything and it… really… didn’t.
That’s not to say that what’s here is bad. Actually, I’m saying just the opposite: this game is good, from what I can tell. I haven’t really dived into any additional competitive or social aspects of the game just yet but from what I have had the pleasure to try on is a game I would definitely not mind playing casually. There’s not really enough, just yet, to suck me in, constantly, but there’s enough to definitely keep me interested and there may just be enough to keep me in until the story content is completed, at least, as the lore is pretty interesting, so far, actually.
Will I buy the game? I’m going to have to see more to make that decision. I’m still kind of apprehensive, based on the fact that while it’s interesting in concept, it’s not really interesting enough to keep me locked in.