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Destiny First Look Alpha Impressions

Developer: Bungie | Publisher: Activision
Players: 1+ Player Game | Genre: FPS

Release Date: 09/09/14

Bungie's ambitious project, Destiny, releases this fall. For some of us fortunate enough to get an Alpha key, we've had a glimpse into what we'll be playing this fall. This past weekend, my fellow gamers, podcast hosts, and myself have been playing through every bit the Destiny First Look Alpha had to offer. Gamers, get ready to kiss Call of Duty and Halo goodbye.

When I first started the Destiny First Look Alpha, I was shocked to see how crisp and clean the game looked. I never knew a game in an alpha test phase could look as good as it does. I kept questioning if Bungie slipped up and gave us the final product. Playing on the PS4, the game looks next-gen with it's advanced lighting effects, detailed areas, and sleek weapon design.

The alpha gave us a look at the three types of races we can play as: Human, Awoken and Exo. Awoken are these blue skinned, vibrant colored beings that reminded me of the dark elves from the recent Thor film. Exo are the cyborg race and my personal favorite. After I chose my Exo, I was then treated to a customization screen where I could tune my avatar to my liking. The options available in the alpha offered a wide variety of customizations. I'm wondering what Bungie has held back for this portion of the game because there was a lot to choose from. My finished avatar looked menacing and powerful, fitting for the Titan class I chose.

Speaking of, there are three separate classes to choose from: Titan, Hunter and Warlock. Titans are clearly the tanks, exchanging flashy spells and sniper rifles for strength and armor. Hunters are the long-range attackers that come equipped with a killer throwing knife. Warlocks play like a nice blend of the two, combining powerful weaponry with some destructive magic-like attacks. They all have their pros/cons and neither one is boring to play. I settled on a Titan because I like to play the tank in MMOs.

Each class comes equipped with a move that is unlocked in a Super Charge state. These Super Charge moves play like a special move, unleashing the full power of the Guardian. Titans have a destructive ground slam, disintegrating anyone within range. Hunter's glow with energy as their weapon glows gold with power, killing an opponent in one lethal shot. Warlocks leap into the air, casting an explosive blast onto the field. These Super Charge moves are powerful and can really shake things up in a multiplayer match.

The alpha let us play in two different game modes: campaign-ish missions and a PvP mode called "The Crucible". The missions played just like every other MMO: walk around the map, open a quest line, follow the steps to complete the mission, collect rewards. The missions felt redundant at times but were necessary to gain access to new weaponry and gear. I'm sure these will change once the final game launches but they did not offer much in the department of worthwhile loot. I did have a blast taking down mobs of enemies and flexing my power as I got accustomed to my character.

The Crucible was where I found myself spending most of my time. The only game match available in the Alpha was a mode called Control that played like Domination game modes in other FPS games. The game mode itself is nothing new but the maps available were well designed. With one map taking place on the moon and the other in the ruins of a factory, there were plenty of places for ambushes, gun fights, and the noob favorite, camping. If the rest of the maps are this well designed, the others that will launch with the final game will please gamers.

The Destiny First Look Alpha has certainly kept me busy. The shops on the Tower, the social hub of the game, showed off some high level gear and ships that can be unlocked but, due to the restrictions of the alpha, I was not able to obtain them. The game definitely draws from popular science fiction games and films of the past decade. My time in the game showed me influences of Halo, Borderlands, Elder Scrolls, Star Wars, Mass Effect and even, my personal favorite, Blade Runner. 

Also, I was surprised with how well the Alpha controlled. I never once had an issue with commanding my Guardian around the map, in a fight, or interacting with the shops. My only issue with the controls would be that my Guardian felt like he was moving through water when turning and running. To be honest, this is not really that big of an issue as the past Halo games had a similar control scheme. It's honestly a minor complaint and should not be seen as a game-breaker as everything controlled perfectly. [Editor’s note: There is an option to turn the sensitivity up that might fix this issue.]

The Alpha closes when this weekend ends and I could not be more anxious for this game. If Destiny plays, and looks, this well just in an alpha phase, I'm excited to see what the final game will be like. With the amount of things to do in the game, I can see myself sinking a ton of hours into the game this fall. I'm no stranger to MMOs but have put them off because of their addictive tendencies. This fall, I will make an exception for Destiny.

Come this fall, say good-bye to Call of Duty, Halo, and Battlefield; Bungie's Destiny looks to claim the throne from the other FPS titles out there. Judging from the Alpha, it's a very likely future, or should I say, it's Bungie's destiny. 

By Logan Sharp - 06/15/14

Screenshots for Destiny First Look Alpha Impressions

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