Friday, June 13, 2014
Games: Spent about 45 minutes with the new Destiny alpha on PS4 tonight, and streamed it as well.
Although I’m not a Halo fan, I've been pretty interested in this one ever since I went to Bungie headquarters last year for a quick peek. Although there weren't many hard details at the time, I got a general sense of what they were shooting for, and now that I've had hands-on, I'm happy to see that it basically ended up as exactly what I was expecting, in a good way.
Here’s a quick rundown.
I started things by making a Warlock-class character, and there were two other classes available. There were a decent amount of customization options (male/female, human/alien/robot) although I expected that more details would be able to be changed. Maybe later. Still, I was able to create someone who looked reasonably like my beloved FemShep, and that was what I was aiming for.
Once my character was made, I was put into a mission in Russia, and the area was quite open and easy to navigate. The game controls just like you’d think a Sci-Fi FPS should, with everything being standard except for the "special ability" mapped to the L1 button. In my case, it was a sort of purple magic grenade. Also, my melee was an energy burst/push-back sort of thing, mapped to R1. After leveling up once, I also unlocked a super move triggered by L1+R1 -- sort of a super fireball, and it was neat to see the camera pull back to show me throwing it in third-person.
After messing around some more, I found that the controller’s touchpad brings up a little robotic buddy that comes with you (looks like the little Bits from Tron) and while it’s active, you can leave the level and return to homebase, or you can summon a vehicle at any time. My ride looked a bit like a speederbike from Return of the Jedi, but there are slots in the menu for plenty of other types, it seems. Again, I was happy to see the camera go into third-person for the vehicle section. Also, the homebase sections are in third as well. I'm not the biggest fan of first-person viewpoints, so I appreciated multiple opportunities to see my character, and not just her hand holding a gun.
The first mission was to cross the area and enter a large structure to find out what the aliens were hiding in there. This felt like a story-oriented sort of thing. The second mission was more freeform, with assignment markers scattered in the level, able to be started at-will. One had me collecting resources from downed aliens, one had me scouting the scene, and two were just ‘kill X number of dudes’, but the action was tense and enjoyable.
Towards the tail end of my playtime, I came across a few other real players who were in the same area that I was, and that was a neat occurrence. I’ve said this before and it still holds true now-- Destiny strikes me as a higher-octane version of Defiance, and that's a good thing. It's got the same open-world sort of philosophy, the same drop in/drop out co-op, similar use of vehicles, and other ideas that seem to be in the same ballpark. Of course, Destiny looks and feels about 42,000,000 times more polished than Defiance, but their cores are similar, and since I had a blast with Defiance, I’m expecting that’ll hold true here as well.
|You had a good run, Defiance, but I'm pretty sure it's over now...|
Overall, this was a super-positive first impression, essentially delivering exactly what I expected with a few extra surprises. I'm definitely looking forward to some co-op with friends and to get a taste for what the other missions are like. So far though, Destiny seems like a big thumbs up.