Jun 14, 2014

Destiny Alpha First Impression (PS4)

First impression of Bungie's $500M Destiny

For this weekend only, PS4 owners are able to play Destiny, the massive upcoming MMO from Bungie, due out later this year.
There has been a good deal of fuss over Destiny for a few years now. Until recently not much was known about it. Now that a subset of the public has their hands on this $500M game--albeit a very, very small portion of it, it's not too early to say a few words.

Alpha precedes Beta, which precedes a game's final release. Beta is slated for later this year, with release of the game set for September 9th. Normally the alpha state of software is extremely bug ridden and frustrating to use. Its purpose is to expose the software to a number of users who are, in this case, performing free quality testing. That said, in the couple of hours I've played this, I have not seen any defects.

Bungie would be the first to tell us that this is a very sub-final version of the game, and we ought not draw many conclusion from it. The play area is small, and I personally didn't see many players out in the wild running about. At first my impression of the graphics was not great; they looked like polished last-gen (PS3) on first view. As I played further I realized they are in fact quite good. Although some textures are low quality (perhaps because this is Alpha) some certainly are not. I will say much of the enemy AI I saw was very weak. Enemies hang around in a small location and going around even a corner can cause them to forget you exist. Also, the voice acting is highly inconsistent. Some of it is performed well by professional actor Lance Reddick. Some of it is performed far less so by--well, it seems random guys on the development team, honestly!

I won't upload any videos, as there are already tons of them on youtube, so instead I'll post some screenshots below. My first hour was spent running about aimlessly. The second I stumbled into a fairly major mission with a couple of other players and we grinded (ground?) through three bosses. The game play was very solid--I wasn't particularly excited for Destiny, but now I am--it really has a great deal of promise, based on time spent in an admittedly very small section of its world.

Note the deliberate over-saturation of light from outside. When going from dark to light, at times it can be temporarily overwhelming, this being the game's attempt to mimic the real-life effect.
Indoors the flashlight comes on by itself.
Level up!
Other players. This also shows the Sparrow, a Star Wars-esque Speeder bike, which can be summoned whenever outside for faster movement.

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