The Destiny beta kicks off right now on PlayStation platforms. For those yet to jump on board, here is a breakdown of everything you need to know about the early look at Bungie's epic shooter.
There are three character classes
From the off you'll get to create your own character from one of three classes: Titan, Hunter and Warlock. Titan is the tank of the bunch, described as an "armoured engine of war". Hunters offer a little more finesse on the battlefield, looking more like assassins and bearing the description of "master of the frontier". Warlocks are the magic-focused builds: with the ability to "bend the universe to your will", not only do you have countless guns to dispatch of foes, but you'll also have a series of different abilities to choose between, from vortex grenades to void pulses.
Then there's also a choice of three species: Human, Awoken and Exo. Awoken and Exo represent the alien and robotic races respectively. It was unclear in my time with the game whether different species offer advantages and disadvantages over the other, but it seems it's purely visual differences thus far.
As somebody who usually goes for the tank-build, I thought I would be different in this preview and create a magic-infused Warlock. I went all out, choosing the alien race, with war paint and Avatar-like blue skin, only to look at the monitors to my left and right and realise that everyone else was doing the exact same thing. So much for standing out from the crowd.
It's really, really good
This may be a beta, but Bungie is offering a significant chunk of a game that is due to launch in just two months, and a superb chunk at that.
As well as the multiplayer offering, which you'll unlock once you progress to level 5, there's a bunch of campaign missions to blow through as well as the the Tower -Destiny's hub area where upgrades, items and repairs can be bought and unlocked- to explore. Not to mention Strike Missions to jump in with your pals and Free Roam to simply take in the gorgeous scenery.
Destiny does a wonderful job of creating the sense of 'epic', coupling an excellent score with top-notch presentation to make you feel like this is something truly special. There'll be more than a few occasions where you stop to take in the view.
We all know Destiny cost more to make than some countries cost to run, so naturally Bungie is taking every possible opportunity to remind us it has all the dollar.
Dinklage has been changed, but is still so-so
Peter Dinklage, the voice of your Ghost companion, has been giving a robotic overhaul. While this certainly gives the Ghost a more authentic feel, sadly, Dinklage's performance simply isn't up to snuff.
There were times I assumed his monotony was an attempt to reflect the emotionless nature of robotics, but this was countered by his terrible attempts to feign panic and exclamation. It just feels like the Game of Thrones star doesn't believe what he's saying, doesn't buy into the lore of Destiny and gives little to the performance.
Many-a-dedicated voice actor would have put in a better performance than is present here, but at least it isn't as bad as what we heard in the alpha build.
It takes inspiration from all the right places
Combat feels like it has the mechanics of Halo with the damage and gun variety of Borderlands. Locations are reminiscent of Mass Effect: the Tower especially brings back memories of the iconic Citadel.
Destiny feels like it's own, unique experience, but it most certainly is inspired by the games that have come before.
Multiplayer still needs balancing
You'll get the chance to experience the multiplayer people enjoyed in the alpha, with some Domination matches on one of the Moon maps. The problem is, there's a few issues that still need addressing.
Some of the vehicles are far too overpowered; one tank in particular being almost impossible to destroy and leading to one game ending in a 6.75 kill/death ratio, which never happens elsewhere.
Another issue is the map size. Because of the inclusion of vehicles, maps are larger, but with just 12 people per game, and the choke points confined to the location of the domination points, there's a lot of empty space and time wasted running from spawn points.