So last week we got to see Dave’s take on the Destiny Beta for the PS4. Since the Beta was open to everyone from July 24 to July 27, I thought I’d give it a try. I wanted to skip the Beta all together, truth be told. I don’t have very good luck with them. Gotham City Imposters Beta was 15 minutes of getting Merc’d 15 seconds after spawning. We played the Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer Beta so much that when the game finally came out, I wanted absolutely NOTHING to do with it. Hell, I got accepted into the Warface Beta only to never even press start until a few weeks after it came out… Actually that was prolly for the best. They say you get what you pay for and there is DEFINITELY a reason Warface is free. I didn’t want any of these things to happen with Destiny. I’m a fan of Bungie and of Activision. I guess my curiosity outweighed my fears and doubts. So I cast aside caution & trepidation & fear and I pressed Start… And I am glad that I did.
The guys on the Continue? Show (Paul Ritchey, Nick Murphy & Josh Henderson) used a phrase during their first Shovel Night (Wii U) episode. At one point, Paul said, “this game hits all the pleasure points in my brain.” Now for Gamers who have been playing for as long as they have, it couldn’t be more accurate. Shovel Knight is a 2D side scrolling platformer with amazing pixel art and challenging combat with jewel collecting and assorted fetch quests. This touched on several tropes of the nintendo/sega generation that obviously really hit home for them. But as many of you know, I started gaming a lot later than most veteran gamers out there. After my Atari & Commodore 64 days, I didn’t play video game until Craig reintroduced me to them with Doom & Wolfenstein 3D. When I finally broke down and bought a system it was a Playstation. My video game nostalgia started a lot later than most. That’s why Destiny “hits all the pleasure points in my brain.”
More than a few people called Destiny derivative. Newsflash: EVERY GAME OUT IN THE MARKET IS DERIVATIVE. DEAL WITH IT. Everything is a “God of War clone, or a Call of Duty Clone, Or a World of Warcraft clone.” Clone denotes an exact copy, as opposed to borrowing key mechanics & blending them to make a better game. The shooting mechanics were tight and responsive, which reminded me of Call of Duty controls. Now a lot of folks might disagree with me on that, but that’s my opinion. I loved how the perspective shifted from 1st person to 3rd person when you enter the Tower. The Tower itself reminded me of a cross between the Citadel in Mass Effect and Valhalla in Too Human, just a beautiful mix of technology and nature. Yes, I just brought up perhaps one of the worst reviewed & ill-received games in the last 10 years in a positive way. I happened to enjoy Too Human. It was an interesting concept that I believe could have been a pretty cool franchise if everything didn’t fall apart with the whole Unreal debacle. The Armor design is fairly reminiscent of Halo, but what do you expect? Halo redefined the “Space Warrior” so yes, some design aspects are going to shine through. But while similar, the designs are different enough to stand on their own. There are 3 playable races and it’s an MMO where you explore the unknown, so I found it to be a lot like Defiance in that aspect. Did I mention I’m also a big fan of Defiance? I know a lot of people may complain about limited customization options, but i don’t need 17 sliders to adjust my character’s nose. There were enough options to keep the characters cool and cater to your customization needs. I’m a nut for customizing characters, and the limited options were still enough for me and i wasn’t disappointed with my Awoken Warlock. And the story? An ancient evil that almost destroyed the world is coming back to finish the job. You are a Guardian, imbued awesome powers and the last line of defense against the coming darkness. It’s the oldest video game trope in the book and it’s absolutely how you want to feel in a video game. You want to be the hero (I realize that goes against EVERYTHING this group stands for, but who the hell wants to feel like an average dude in an average life IRL and in a video game?) and you want to save the day. It’s not overly complicated (yet) and I’m totally okay with that. So yeah, it “Borrowed” from more than a few of my favorite games, but it made the time tested tale of good verses evil seem fresh and new.
That’s not to say that the game does not have it’s faults that I hope will either be fixed in the final game or the community finds a way to work around them. Every time I started a new mission it was laggy as hell. It didn’t last long, but I hope it’s improved by launch. Also, what the hell is this new trend in 3 player co-op? It’s an MMO and you’re telling me that I can only technically team up with 2 of my friends? And then another Team of 3 can come and join you, but that just seems like a giant pain in the ass to coordinate with friends. Also, I was in the equivalent of a raid with Jake & Tybress and halfway through, I was dropped. When I got back in, I was put back at the beginning of the raid… Alone. So that was completely frustrating seeing as how I couldn’t rejoin my teammates because they were still in the instance and I couldn’t join their fire team. This could also be a 360 problem, but I’m not entirely sure. Also, I realize you could only to one planet in the Beta, but did every building on this planet have to look exactly the same on the inside? Though these things were really annoying, they weren’t enough for me to stop playing the game.
So there you have it. Even on the 360, it was a beautiful game that I think i will be sinking a substantial amount of time into come September (and hopefully the One as well). Barring a few technical problems and an extremely limited Multiplayer, I really had such a good time with this Beta. It had everything I enjoyed in a video game: Good controls, wonderful design, a simple yet compelling story and addictive gameplay.
I give the Destiny Beta for the Xbox 360 4 Ghost Companion Modules out of 5.