From the creators of Halo comes the brand new, shared-worlds, first-person shooter, Destiny. Announced early last year, Destiny is set in a post-apocalyptic future where humans colonised other planets, but are now on the brink of extinction, and it’s your job to stop that from happening. After a very successful beta this past July, this title is already on the road to widespread acclaim and bestseller status. When starting up the game, you will be given the choice of three unique classes, each providing a different playing experience when your boots hit the ground of Old Russia for the first time. Titans, inspired most by Bungie’s Master Chief from Halo, and Stormtroopers fill the Warrior role as typically seen in RPGs.
They are large, wear heavy armour and are perfect for charging right into the fray, guns blazing. If you’re looking for something more reserved, you have the Warlock. They take cues from the Jedi Knights and Gandalf in that they are very much the Mages of Destiny. Using energy balls and void grenades aplenty, they may be made of glass but they can pack a punch. Lastly, but certainly not least, are Hunters – you know you want to play a character who’s just like Boba Fett. Hunters employ stealthy tactics and homing grenades to surprise unwary opponents; namely me in PvP when I think I’m doing great! Destiny’s character customisation is robust, accessible and, honestly, goddamn cool. After choosing from one of the three aforementioned classes, players will be given the choice of a male or female character – unlike some other releases later this year – and a choice of three races. Populating the dystopic world of Destiny are Humans, not unlike ourselves; Awoken, a mystifying, pastel-skinned race inspired by elves and vampires; and the chilling Exo, a robotic race of tireless and sometimes sinister, sentient androids.
After this choice is made you will be provided with a number of options to customise your Guardian’s appearance, from skin tone, facial structure, war paint and, if you’re an Exo, some pretty slick chrome horns. But the customisability of your character far from stops there, with hundreds or maybe thousands of options to be found while playing.
To allow for that, Bungie has developed an impressive and expansive loot system to give players a constant sense of progression and to imbue a real craving for the next cool piece of gear. Guardians will be able to customise their armour from head to toe, as well as change their emblem, style of their jumpship and use purchasable armour shaders to really get a unique look.
They will also choose from hundreds of powerful and intimidating weapons, from futuristic pulse rifles, bombastic rocket launchers and powerful shotguns, and much more on top of that. One of my personal favourites in the beta were the class items. Each class has a specific type of cosmetic item to provide a bit of flair. Titans get colourful sashes around their waist, Hunters are given long, flowing, hooded cloaks, while Warlocks are given armbands, some of which project images of birds of prey, cosmic entities as well as other interesting and unique objects.
Some people are already more than occupied with the fashion war that will surely ensue off the battlefield!
But that’s enough about how awesome you’re going to be able to make your character look, let’s get down to the gameplay.
As I mentioned earlier, Destiny is a shared-worlds, first person shooter, role-playing game. That’s a bit of a mouthful I know, but each element is as important as the other two. Many confuse Destiny with its cousins in the massively multiplayer realm, but it is not an MMO at all.
Destiny uses selective matchmaking to place you with a few players near your skill level in the game world so to encourage cooperative play, where the game’s strengths lie. Its FPS gameplay takes what Bungie revolutionised with their Halo series, and adds the new elements of each of the classes’ abilities and the classic RPG progression. These elements blend seamlessly to create an incredibly cohesive experience.
On top of all that, Destiny has five distinctive and integrated ‘modes’ to choose from. First is the main story, where your Guardian will search out a way to revive the Traveller, a celestial body that aided in humanity’s advancement, while eliminating alien threats along the way. All while accompanied by your robotic Ghost companion, voiced by none other than Game of Thrones own Peter Dinklage.
If you want to take a break from the story, you can simply enter Explore mode, allowing you to venture to areas that may host a variety of enemies and loot far beyond your skills and grasp. Then, if you want to try your hand against other players instead of the intelligent AI, walk through the gates of the Crucible and meet your match as players compete for reputation with the various factions and some very fancy weapons and armour.
But where Destiny will truly shine is its endgame content – Strikes and Raids. Strikes are three-player cooperative missions, that are set to last 30 minutes to an hour each time you play them, and are a means of teaching players how important communication is, as well as challenging experienced players with interesting and complex threats. Raids double the player-count, difficulty and length, featuring extreme tests of knowledge, skill and team tactics – explaining why Bungie has chosen to forego matchmaking for a friends-only experience.
Destiny is truly shaping up to be one of the biggest releases of the year, as well as quickly revealing itself as a title that will stay in player’s consoles for many months and perhaps years to come. With enthralling gameplay and narrative, addictive character customisation and loot mechanics, as well as challenging Strikes and Raids, it is going to be an experience to remember.
Destiny is set to release on PS3, Xbox 360, PS4 and Xbox One. So eyes forward Guardian, and Become Legend on September 9th.