Talking Point: How Do You Feel About The Destiny Beta Now That The Dust Has Settled?
Posted by Eric Santana
We reflect on our fling with Bungie's upcoming franchise
Since the rumblings of Project Tiger back in 2011, gamers have been looking forward to experiencing what developer, Bungie, would cook up following their departure from the legendary Halo series. After a few years of development, a contract with Activision and a hype train few will be able to match, we finally got our ourselves a taste of their upcoming science-fiction MMO, Destiny, by taking part in last month's beta. With three character classes to choose from and numerous story scenarios, as well as other co-op and competitive modes, the beta had quite a bit to offer. Now that there's been enough time to let the events that transpired properly sink in, we've decided to reflect on our relationship with the beta and discuss where we stand on the full release, which is, believe it or not, less than a month away.
So without further ado, here's what Team pX has to say about their early look at Destiny.
Dave Letcavage (@DRL)
I didn’t expect to say this, but my time with the Destiny beta produced many mixed feelings. It’s assuredly shaping up to be a worthwhile proposition, though I’m not sure how long it will hold my attention, personally. While the gunplay and presentation are undoubtedly tight and polished, the structure of everything is what concerns me. For one, I found the story missions to be too fragmented, which made them feel insignificant. Not only that, but revisiting the same areas over-and-over for minor snippets of plot was redundant and not cohesive enough to reel me in. Honestly, I can’t even recall any plot details – that’s how removed I felt from everything. I also found returning to The Tower to be a slog. If the place exists solely to offer a handful of shops, I’d rather do those things in a streamlined menu and forgo all the loading and wandering around.
What did hold my attention, very much so, were the exploration missions. Sure, these could become a chaotic mess of various Fireteams partaking in missions and causing a ruckus only for the sake of doing so, but I did enjoy the freedom and the focus on leveling up – the grinding and massive enemy health did become annoying after while, though. Even so, it wasn’t long before I started to have the "been there, done that" feeling – repetition, waves of enemies respawning moments after clearing the area, and not enough significant rewards for exploring being what did it. To put these opinions in perspective, my experience with the beta took place in a single night, and in those five hours of play, I did everything there was to do outside of whatever deathmatch mode was available.
As it stands, I’m planning to buy Destiny. I don’t anticipate playing for longer than a few weeks, but I will be giving the game a proper chance. Who knows, maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised when I can see the full, expansive picture – this was only a beta, after all. To be fair, I did have a lot of fun at times, so I don’t mean to come across entirely negative. It’s just that I’m concerned that Desinty might not deliver in all the ways I was hoping it would.
Anthony Bacchus (@Anthinator)
Before the beta, I was somewhat skeptical of Destiny for quite some time. It wasn't that I had faith in Bungie to produce another epic sci-fi FPS, it was more about my lack of expertise in the MMO genre. It's probably the only genre I've had zero interest in and I just wasn't sure a MMO skinned as a first-person shooter was enough to convince me otherwise.
After playing the beta for many hours, it's safe to say that Destiny may have just become my most anticipated game this year. The first thing I noticed was how tight and refined the controls felt even during the beta. Taking down enemies felt very satisfying and it wasn't long until I realized that Destiny merely plays like a more polished version of Halo (which was already polished enough). I especially liked how easy everything was laid out too, particularly the simplified user interface. For such a loot-heavy game, I found it easy and intuitive to check my inventory and equip my different weaponry. If there's one thing I know about MMO's is that they usually have a lot of complicated menus — which was another big turn-off for me — but here, Destiny has made it blissfully user-friendly, and that's something I can get behind.
I didn't get to dive into multiplayer as much as I would've liked, but from what I got to play, it looks to be another finely-balanced, fast-paced, competitive shoot fest. I wished we had another mode to play beside Control, but I suppose we couldn't have it all.
It's clear that the beta was just a small slice of a much bigger pie, but it's got me excited to play the final product when it launches this September. I'm already thinking about the different planets I'll get to explore, how my female awoken huntress will evolve, and the journey Bungie will pull me through. Bring it on!
Anthony Cadogan (@Ubiquitous_Doom)
It’s safe to say that I played the Destiny Beta on Xbox One for quite a while — from start to finish, in fact. Going into it I was curious about Destiny, but the footage and information that had been publicly distributed since the game’s unveiling didn’t do much to excite me; although, because I am a fan of Bungie’s work on the Halo series it was hard not to be at least a little interested. But as soon as the opening cinematic was underway, I knew Destiny was going to hold my attention.
It appears as if my own destiny was to play the beta and fall in love with it. To me, it feels like a great blend of Halo, Mass Effect, and Borderlands. The quests are varied and interesting, and the universe is filled with enough mystery and threats to civilization to keep me eager to explore. Although the story elements were light and posed more questions than they answered, I was intrigued, and I’m very much hoping to find out where things go when the full game releases.
The only thing I wasn't overly impressed with was The Crucible, which is a player-vs-player arena. Considering Destiny is so focused on story, it seemed out-of-place and shoehorned in for the Halo fans. Overall, this mode felt unbalanced and, as a result, unpredictable. Personally, I'd rather Bungie focused on co-op only. However, everything else in the Destiny Beta – the Guardian's Tower hub, the dancing and other emotes, the equipment selection, the variety of powers and abilities, and the exploration – make it a must-buy for me and my friends, who were equally impressed.
I just hope the full game has a wealth of customization options, as there were a number of things missing — most importantly, moustaches. I mean, come on, I can't "Become Legend" without my legendary real-life moustache!
Eric Santana (@EricDS)
As a fan of the Halo series I played the beta with both optimism and expectation. A new game world made by the creators of the franchise that I basically bought an Xbox 360 for sounded great, but a cut and paste of that series isn't something I'm willing to pay full retail price for. After pouring a bunch of hours into the beta, I'm happy to see that Destiny has enough familiarity to make me remember the glory days of my original Halo playthrough, while incorporating more than enough distinctions to keep the formula fresh for me.
We got to explore a ruined Russia and the moon during the single-player content, and these in-game worlds looked fantastic (even on 360.) Both locales sported great story missions along with the ability to just take on random quests. My favourite parts of my beta experience revolved around this aspect of the game. Seeing other guardians exploring new areas to uncover new loot, new enemies, or just to enjoy the great views, was awesome.
While the gunplay and story scenarios were fun, there were a few parts of the beta that I wasn't overly fond of. The Tower — home base during your exploration of the galaxy — felt more like a stop-gap instead of a place that truly had importance. However, considering the level cap was only eight, there was only so much we got to see during the beta, and I imagine The Tower will become more significant later on. Player vs. Player was also filled with some exploits that took away from the fun — if you fought against the tanks on the moon map, you'll know what I mean.
My general outlook on the game is somewhere in the middle of my peers. I was impressed by the visuals on the PS4 and Xbox One and loved how easy it was to jump into the game. The random events that can occur throughout exploration lent to some of the most entertaining moments I've had with a shooter in a very long time. A feature I felt was under-appreciated by others was the bounty system, which allows you to gain extra experience doing tasks in your favoured way. If you meet certain requirements — collecting loot, exploration, PvE or PvP — you can get bonus XP and new weapons/armour for your arsenal. This allows players to play their preferred mode without feeling like they're falling behind. It also adds a challenge to previously-played content, which in turn adds replayability.
I am worried about how long the game will keep my attention, though. Bungie has big plans and already has DLC lined up for Destiny. It looks to be an impressive experience, but I, personally, am not sure how 10 years of gaming can come from an FPS even with all the MMO-esque tweaks to the formula.
Will you be picking up a copy of Destiny at launch? How was your Beta experience? Sound off in the comments and forums to let us know.