Published on August 5th, 2014 | by Dougie Wythe0
Destiny Beta Preview
Destiny is back and offering its superb Beta to all of those who preordered and on the closing days, it was open to everyone who had a console to run it on. This let anybody and everybody experience the breath taking views of Old Russia, the dance parties of the Tower and excitement of the Crucible for the weekend. Whilst I may have had only a slight interest in Destiny before participating in the Beta, I’m now ogling the limited ‘Ghost Edition’ and wishing they were still in stock. Looks like it’s the standard edition for me.
The six missions on Old Russia may have a direct focus with objectives and goal, but the world is open and you can explore as you wish. Hidden in caves and in the buildings of Old Russia lays secrets ready for you to find. If you’re diligent and ready to explore, or just have google, you’ll find five special Golden chests. Whilst the rewards from each may be a bit underwhelming, depending on your current gear and level, after you find the fifth you’ll be granted an alternate Sparrow. It’ll be faster, more durable and a variant colour, in my case, bright yellow. This saves you a good couple thousand Glimmer and rewards the curious with something to show off proudly. On my venture to find these, I had a few terrifying encounters with some ‘Hallowed Knights’. As I rushed in to fight, I noticed they had no level, but rather a skull. A rightly earned skull as my weapons did nothing to them and I was clubbed to death in a single hit. I had the strongest urge to go away and get stronger with better equipment and seek my revenge but the limit of level 8 left me hindered and unable to put up a fight. Vengeance will have to wait until September.
On the 26th of July, a day before the Beta ended, players were offered a limited time mission set on the Earth’s moon for that day only. The Dark Beyond sent me out to the Moon to find a fellow fallen Guardian and inspect what’s happened. This was the most challenging mission on the Beta. Everything was thrown at me; the Fallen’s army, even prepared with vehicles of their own, were unrelenting as I searched the expansive face of the moon for my fellow lost Guardian. Exploring the moonbases and eradicating the legions of enemies that riddled the moon was so immersive and exciting, it took me a few minutes to realise Earth was on the horizon. Rotating slowly, gaining a shadow as it descended into night before my eyes.
Before long, I was sent to the colossal doors of the Temple of Crota, the fallen Guardian’s last whereabouts. After a short panic inducing cutscene, the Hive spewed out of the door, releasing countless amounts of the mindless Thrall, charging to my position. As I frantically tried to fight them off, the smarter Acolyte flanked me and applied the pressure with constant gun fire. The music was intense and made the situation explicitly clear; the onslaught was coming, be ready and be afraid. Playing alone, I was well and truly overwhelmed and had to pull out all stops; my heavy machine gun, Pulse grenade and a well-timed Fist of Havoc. After all that, I only just survived and was completely spent of everything. Yet the mission wasn’t over yet. It was time step foot into the Hive fortress for another standoff. This time, against a Wizard who meant serious business; Vurok, Eir Spawn and his army of Hive. These fights felt like an ultimate challenge and it was truly a highlight of the Beta.
Destiny’s Beta not only offers 6 missions and free roam, but also a competitive multiplayer in the form of ‘Control’, a 6v6 zone control game mode. You choose ‘The Crucible’ as your destination whilst orbiting Earth and you’re blasted off alongside your squad’s ships to a distant planet or moon. The first of the two maps on show for the beta is a large arena set on Earth’s moon, complete with two types of vehicles wage war with. The Pike is much like an armoured version of your Guardian’s personal transport, the Sparrow, but with machineguns mounted onto the front. As well as the heavier ‘tank’, the Interceptor that fires missiles and only has a short boost. These vehicles can dominate the match if in the right hands but thankfully, strategically placed controllable gattling turrets can make short work of them. Failing that, you can retreat into the space-station for more close quarter encounters and free from vehicles. Earth’s moon is characteristically grey and bleak with most of the colouring coming from your laser fire, the starry sky or our Earth silently looming in the sky. This is sharply contrasted in both colour and playstyle in comparison to the bright lost ruins and jungle feel that Venus’ map can offer.
The Shores of Time of Venus leaves no room for vehicles, with tight corners and cramp walls littering the map, you’ll be smart to swap your sniper rifle for a shotgun. The environment is bathed in sunlight making greens of the foliage and the yellows of the broken buildings look amazing, even on the xbox 360 version. The planet will even go through weather changes, making this bright map seem gloomy, as dark clouds cover the map and rain pours onto the battlefield. This leaves me eager to see what other planets and gorgeous locations my Guardian can duke it out on when the game releases. I just hope they add a map voting system, as playing 7 consistent games on the same map may make me better at navigating that arena, I still wanted the option to choose something else.
Destiny lacks loadouts or just bland characters that exist only in multiplayer, like Halo 4 or Call of Duty, rather you play as your own unique character from the campaign. All your armour, abilities and weapons carry over to the multiplayer mayhem. With no set loadout, you can choose from any weapon and piece of armour you currently own and even switch them out mid match. So your Titan with that uncommon revolver and fancy matching armour you found in the campaign will be ready for you in The Crucible. Or if the revolver just isn’t doing it for you, swap it out for Scout Rifle. Or even a set of armour with less defence, but with more imbued skills.
As you’re using your own character, all your kills, capture zones or efforts gain you experience points that level up your character. Helping you character progress. Furthermore, if you play well, you’ll earn special pieces of Crucible armour or rewarded with ordinary equipment at the end of matches to use or sell as you wish. Bungie has done its best to blur Destiny’s lines between multiplayer action and playing in a party of one. You feel as if the character you’re playing as really is yours, not just an archetype that’s shackled to the campaign. Starting a multiplayer game will always have your Guardian and team ‘phase in’ and pose before the camera, giving you a sense of pride as your character you’ve poured hours into is there to show off to the world.
This is all one large universe that’s been created for everyone to enjoy and it certainly shows.