Destiny Beta: The Good, The Bad And What’s Lacking
Destiny is that game that all gamers are collectively wanking to because Bungie is making Halo-Borderlands. Jokes aside, I had some positive words for Destiny back when I wrote about the alpha, which wasn’t actually an alpha, but now the beta is also on Xbox One so unfortunately I have to hate on it. Anyway I figured that since everybody out there is either playing or reading about the beta and I myself have written extensively about the alpha, there’s little reason to rehash all of that in a very long article. Especially since the beta is more or less the alpha with some more stuff. Instead, I will focus entirely on comparing the game’s resolution and frame rate on PS4 and Xbox One, because that’s all any master race console gamer on the internet actually cares about.
Obviously, I’m joking. I think. So what I will do is cover the main points of what’s good, bad and lacking in Destiny, seeing as how I’ve played enough hours of the game over the course of the alpha and the beta that I could have, well, finished a whole other game. Or rethought my life. Ready then? Let’s do this. Keep in mind that I won’t be mentioning things I’ve already said in my alpha write-up, because I don’t need to praise something twice, and I want to discuss Destiny rather than do some PR for it.
- There’s a cool intro video in the game now, as well as story cutscenes. These are really well done and boast high production values. The beta definitely gives the feeling that the game actually has a story, even if it’s a very simple one that seems to be glossed over like it isn’t important. Too early to judge though, but it’s much more engrossing than the alpha since it has context. It’s what you’d expect from an MMO. The only gripe I had was that you can’t choose your character’s voice from presets, and that coupled together with the fact that there aren’t dialogue choices makes it feel weird when your character speaks.
- Peter Dinklage’s voice work has been significantly improved. Not only does he have actual emotions now (David Cage would be proud), but there’s this really cool robotic filter over his voice that removes the mass boredom syndrome he had in the alpha. Thumbs up. I love having him as my companion now, and hope it continues in the full game.
- Weapon upgrades add another sense of progression into the mix, and are welcome.
- Destiny is absolutely a visual treat, and if the art direction is as gorgeous as it is at present throughout the game, it’s going to be a wonderful world to be immersed in.
- Strike missions! Again! Obviously. Taking down massive bosses with a team is pretty much a selling point all on its own.
- It’s got that addictive quality that good MMOs have, but is this really a good thing? I guess so if you want to be a slave to Destiny. Yeah, I’m punny.
- The loading times are faster. Three and a half cheers.
- The stuff I praised when writing about the alpha.
- Multiplayer, at least the mode ‘Control’ that’s available, really just feels like Halo. I said this numerous times already. It’s fun but it’s not the most engrossing of things, and I was pretty much over it after a few hours. Based on what I played in that mode alone, I can’t see myself sticking around for a long time. Sure it’s nice that you ship your Guardian over to the multiplayer straight from single player, gear and all, but unless the other modes have something better to offer, all my time will be spent in single player.
- I would certainly hope that this is restricted to the beta and alpha, but no matter which class or race you pick your game feels exactly the same story-wise. There’s no difference aside from play style and abilities – and even that doesn’t feel life changing. Simple things like unique hubs in the city for each race to hang out in (doesn’t have to be enforced, just stylised), or access to special missions or anything besides just gear would be good.
- I hope this is also restricted to the beta, but weapons feel very samey. It’s not like Borderlands where every gun you pick up feels like a new weapon, but then again Gearbox invested heavily into that system to make it the way it was. Hopefully the elemental effects on weapons does well to keep it spiced up, and the full game has plenty more gear.
- I’ve spent close to ten hours playing Destiny’s single player, and it started to feel extremely repetitive, to the point that I just stopped playing. Strike missions are standout and are really awesome, while story missions will definitely keep you invested if it turns out to be intriguing. But more mission variety than ‘kill things endlessly’ is a must.
- It would be great if we could challenge members of our Fireteams to duels, like in Borderlands. It’s fun to dance with your friends, but real men (and women) fight it out once dancing it out doesn’t get anywhere. It was awesome in Borderlands to test your mettle against your partner, and Destiny should look into that. There’s very little to do with your buddies other than dance or point at them.
- Character customisation feels very limited. It’s exactly as it was in the alpha, and there definitely needs to be more cosmetic variety.
- Destiny needs to allow you to view your character in third person when out in the world. The entire point of creating a custom character and acquiring cool gear is so that you can span the camera around yourself and fap or take endless selfies. At present, you can only see your character when running around the social hub, which is a bit of a buzz kill.
- The world feels like it could use more interactivity, as aside from enemies it often feels barren. It’s gorgeous to look at thanks to that art direction, but it could really do with more events, more loot, more frequent gear pick ups or just fun things to discover by exploration. No reason to explore currently. Item rewards are given at the end of missions and such, which can feel lifeless.
- Killing things, or pulling off skill moves or being the one to slay a major boss – none of this is acknowledged, which does little to quicken your pulse. There are bounties in the game for pulling off challenges, which you have to actively take on, but there are no team awards (like MVP or something) or individual badges or acknowledgement for any feat. You can’t even tell who got the last hit on a boss, or who had the most team revives. You do get to see kill stats though at the end.
- I doubt this will be added, but Destiny could do with a dialogue or command wheel for quickly conveying instructions to teamies. It’s fun for interactivity with your party, and also helps if you don’t have access to or don’t feel like using voice chat. Simple commands like “Get back!” or “My Health Is Low!” or “No Ammo!” or “Super Move Ready” would be great.
In closing I still maintain a similar stance as to when I played the alpha, and that’s my belief that Destiny has a lot going for it. With lots more content (and Strike missions) and players it certainly has the ingredients to be a hit when factoring in its social focus. However I do have my concerns and there are aspects of its gameplay that could really be improved on, especially if Destiny wants to capture the souls of gamers for the long haul. Longevity is the primary concern regarding Destiny, and is what will ultimately determine whether it’s a success or not, since you can’t exactly have a ten year plan with gamers only playing for one of those years. It needs sustained success. The ingredients are there, the core gameplay is very fun, and now Destiny just needs to go out there, have its launch honeymoon period and then prove itself. I envision a successful launch, but I have my doubts and concerns for the long term. I’ll definitely be evaluating the game again when it releases, as it’s only the beta now.