Destiny BETA: PS4 / Xbox One Review
Released by Bungie / Activision
September is next month and it's clear the anticipation for Destiny is growing.
With over 4.6million people playing the latest BETA, which has just closed, there's clearly an appetite for this multiplayer - and quite simply, the more I play, the more I want it to be September.
Criticisms of the alpha came at the expense of Peter Dinklage's Ghost character (his line about a wizard coming from the moon has become legendary) but were completely misfounded. This time around, Bungie's saddled up with more content and more backstory as well, with cutscenes being thrown into the mix and some sense of atmosphere added in as well.
The cutscenes add a lot in terms of story but also a sense of proportion of the world around you - it's pretty impressive the scope of the game that's being set up. Sure this kind of thing has been done before, but this is the new world of the next gen platform and along with higher resolution graphics there is quite a damn sight more on the line for Bungie - and they show every intention of delivering with graphics for these scenes and dialogue that appears to be delivered by some major talent.
As you'll recall from the Destiny Alpha, there's the chance to customise your character and then get into the action - some of the sequences from the BETA were the same as the first one with missions being repeated (as the alpha was a private affair). But the level of the playability for these still appears to be extremely high, with the game feeling even more polished this time around. As you take on the Hive (The wizard line was nowhere to be seen this time), the tension's palpable and the constant onslaughts require you to be somewhat strategic getting rid of the bad guys.
But all of these require you to power up, to level up your abilities and to make it easier for you to progress through the worlds within. It means that you actually have to take on combat, rather than seeking to avoid it, which is an interesting touch when you consider how some games of a similar ilk look to help you on the path in a peaceful way. Loot chests give you material and unlockables as you face the enemy who have varying degrees of skill. Sometimes, it appears as if the AI isn't on your level and then other times you're despatched with ease. Still I guess even the baddies The Fallen have off days.
Multiplayer's going to be key to this - and I'm still keen to see what exactly happens when hundreds of people are wandering around your world and in your game. Granted, even with 4.6 million playing the BETA, there were never that many in the game at the same time as me, but you have to wonder how the servers will help to control such matters come launch. That said, if there were hundreds on board with the game at the same time, then I had no way of knowing - which shows the servers could cope with the numbers and gives great hope as to how the actual game will play without flaws. Which is extremely encouraging.
Polish is the main thing here - everything looks superb from the simple view of your character and the Crucible world around it to the cutscenes and their beauty. Money has been spent on Destiny and it shows at every turn. Hopefully, the Tower will come alive a little more - I'm still a little disappointed you can't actually interact with the traders vocally and only work through a button, but there's time for that to change. Particularly if it's supposed to be a social hub where you come to meet like minds.
What's impressive about the Destiny Beta is just how much it appears to have tweaked the experience of the Alpha - from its playability to the scope of the worlds within and the promise of what lies ahead, there seems to be a lot left to explore come September 9th. There are hints of further worlds to explore, more missions to go on and a raft of socialising to do.
Simply put, I cannot wait.