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Destiny Diaries: Moon Wizards in Oblivion

destiny
Bungie

The now infamous and memetic Peter Dinklage dialogue has been removed from Destiny in the span of a few short weeks. It’s a shame. I kind of liked the idea of the line, even if the line itself fell a little flat. Its perfect ridiculousness helped bring my brain back to reality. Wizards can’t possibly come from the moon. But what if they did?

If you’ve been hiding under some moon rocks these past few months, you probably haven’t heard about Bungie’s Destiny, a new online, multiplayer-infused, not-an-MMO-but-really-it’s-an-MMO, first-person shooter. There was a brief alpha test just after E3 in June, but the full public beta is only now just underway. While I did enjoy a bit of time exploring and shooting in the alpha, it was over so quickly, I could hardly make any assessment of the overall quality of the product.

Along with several other Arcade Sushi writers, I jumped into the PlayStation 4 version of Destiny’s beta last night, and found myself immediately transfixed on the gorgeous scenery, the fast-paced fighting, and the beautifully designed (if awkward to manage) user interface. As lowly newcomers with freshly made characters (female Awoken Warlock, if you were wondering), we stomped all over the Fallen (Destiny’s enemy race) soldiers in our path, picking up loot and a hefty kill count within the Cosmodrome area. I was felled more than once by the first boss-ish encounter, often forgetting my place in the team and attempting to agro the Fallen Captain with a character more suited for ranged action.

Destiny
Bungie

Anyway, despite that minor setback, we were able to overcome the entrenched Fallen soldiers, earn some goods, and travel back to the Tower (Destiny’s public hub/marketplace) to meet with our respective class leaders. Each of the three classes (Hunter, Warlock, and Titan) has its own armors and accessories, while weapons are fairly even across the board. What sets each of the classes apart are the special powers and abilities you can earn as you level, such as the Warlock’s Vortex Grenade, which I liken to throwing a short-lived, mini black hole at enemies. As I was only able to progress to level five in the few hours I played last night, I didn’t earn many more abilities, but I did get a sweet glide jump and a super ability, the Nova Bomb.

For the most part though, my return to Destiny was spent taking in the sights and sounds of the game world. The art direction feels very much like Halo (surprise, surprise), but that’s not a bad thing. There’s a bit of cleanly designed future tech on display, which reminded me a great deal of ‘Oblivion’. The character models are sharp, too, especially in cutscenes where your individual avatar really stands out. Creation tools are very minimal in the beta, but there’s still surprisingly more depth and personality to give your Destiny character than in something like EA Sports UFC.

Hanging out on the cliffs and edges of Destiny’s boundaries gives way to some rather stunning vistas, and if you play your cards right, you can dance the night away on the shipping docks at the Tower. Just don’t lean too far one way or the other, or you’ll find yourself splattered on the ground many, many miles below. Still, for me, the game has been fun to play, but the star are the environments. We’ve only see two places thus far in the alpha and beta, but they offer a mere glimpse of the future Destiny presents. Staring at the sunset at the Cosmodrome occupied plenty of my time, and I could easily just leave my game on that screen forever, never getting tired of that brilliant, blinding combination of colored light.

There’s more to do though, and I’m eager to jump back into Destiny’s action with the rest of the Sushi staff in the coming days. How will we hold up against raid dungeons Strike missions? Will the competitive multiplayer hold my interest? Is there more to do all by myself, just in case I feel the urge to play when no one else from my Fireteam is available? There are plenty of questions looming. Hopefully the beta will have some answers.

All throughout Destiny’s beta, we’ll be updating you with our thoughts on the game. Different members of Arcade Sushi’s staff will provide insight into what we did, what we thought, and whatever else springs to mind while playing Bungie’s Destiny.

Next: Bungie Adamant Destiny Isn't an MMO

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