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Hands-on: Destiny First Look Alpha

updated 11:47 pm EDT, Sat June 14, 2014

Bungie looks set to deliver another winner with Destiny

Electronista has had the opportunity to go hands-on with the Destiny First Look Alpha, from Halo creators Bungie. It is not often that we take a closer look at video games on the site, however Destiny is easily one of the most anticipated games of the next-generation game consoles. For people who pre-order the game, a Destiny Beta will arrive on July 17, ahead of the September launch. However, post-E3, Bungie has opened up a limited Alpha testing period that started on June 12 exclusively on the Sony PS4 as it works to refine the finished product.

Halo, as you will be aware, is one of the biggest gaming franchises of all-time. Halo: Reach text was Bungie's last Halo title, and since then it has been immersed in the development of Destiny. Destiny, however, is a much more expansive and complex gaming world than Halo. Although the Alpha only gives gamers a small sampling of the Destiny universe, it is enough to get a sense of the sheer scale and scope of Bungie's ambitions for the game. The only apparent similarities between Haloand Destiny is that the two have first-person shooting in common, the same score composer and a few other touches. Beyond that, Destiny takes everything to a whole new level of character development, customization, exploration, mythic creation, player interaction in a very non-linear gaming experience. Expect to lose countless hours exploring it all in a world where gaming elements from first-person science-fiction shooters combine with elements of MMOs, and role-playing fantasy games like Elder Scroll Destiny.

Destiny is set in several hundred years into the future of our world, where Earth experienced a period of prosperity fueled by technology leading to the exploration and settlement of other planets in the solar system. This 'Golden Age' ends after an event known as 'The Collapse,' with most of the human race wiped out. Those left are forced to call a ruined Earth home, and only have a mysterious spherical celestial body known as 'The Traveler' to thank for their survival. The Traveler hovers above the last human populated city and empowers 'The Guardians' with a special force known as 'The Light' to protect the city. The Guardians reach out into the solar system, traveling to the various planets around Earth to tackle alien occupiers in various missions to help Earth's remaining inhabitants from being completely wiped out.

You get to play one of the Guardians and can choose from three classes including Titans, Warlocks and Hunters. All classes have equal capabilities, but through defeating foes, earning points, completing missions and collecting loot, you can both level up, and pick and choose various types of power ups. Destiny's main story arc is a shared world, where you can team up with other players on the fly, or run across them while they battle their way through their own story and missions, while you battle your way through yours. What makes Destiny particularly interesting in this regard is that Bungie does not have total control over the way games unfold, which makes the game highly replayable, but also much more interesting for everyone concerned. There is also a battlefield known as 'The Crucible,' where you can duke it out against other players in more standard 12-player multiplayer action familiar to Halo fans. However, to advance in both the story arc and in the Crucible, you need to make your way into both areas of the game fairly regularly.

Although we have only enjoyed a taste of what Destiny has to offer, it looks very promising indeed. Game play is fun, with tremendous care paid to both the game mechanics and the environment. You can choose to roam and explore, or tackle specific missions highlighted with green markers when you first spawn at a destination. It brings together the best of many different gaming genres to create a unique gaming experience that looks set to become even more interesting and intriguing as the full scale of the game unfolds over the coming months. It should be quite spectacular when players from all parts of the world start interacting in the game across the expanse of the solar system en masse. For those that don't particularly enjoy the depth and finer points of role-playing games, the multiplayer action will still prove to be very enjoyable as do the first person shooter missions. For those who like to get thoroughly immersed in a gaming universe, Destiny looks set to deliver another defining gaming experience.

By Sanjiv Sathiah

by MacNN Staff




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