We Face our Destiny
At E3 2014 this year, we got to try out Activision’s newest shooter IP, Destiny . Destiny is made by Bungie, the same people who brought you Halo . It’s an interesting beast of a shooter, combining elements of Halo , Call of Duty , and Borderlands into one always on hybrid single and multiplayer experience. E3 allowed us a chance to try out the game’s competitive multiplayer, which was unique in its own right. Here’s what we thought.
First of all, you will notice the Halo influence right off the bat. Jumping and bunny hopping helps a lot for traversal, and if you get tired of that you can always climb into a hoverbike, tank or personal jet fighter. It takes a LOT of bullets to kill you–far more than any Call of Duty or Battlefield type game–which means that confrontations will include a lot of strafing and adjusting your aim rather than simply camping behind cover.
There aren’t any weapon spawn areas in Destiny . All your weapons are handled Call of Duty style, in a lead-out screen. In fact, you’ll be playing the exact same character you play in single-player in multiplayer as well.
However, that’s not to say that there aren’t still things to pick up strewn about the map. In Destiny , this comes in the form of special ammo. You’ll find green level two special ammo for your main guns, and purple level three special ammo for another third super gun that starts every match depleted. Of course, there is a lot of strategy that revolves around camping these ammo spawn points, but on the upside, they are always shown on your map, so you don’t have to hunt for them.
Instead of kill streaks, Destiny actually has a super meter which, to be honest, feels more like it comes out of a fighting game. As you and your team kill opponents, complete objectives, and generally do cool things, your meter begins to fill. When you die, you don’t lose the meter you have gained, so everyone will gain access to meter at some point. You can spend this meter to use class specific effects. For example, one class can activate a Golden Gun ability which gives you a pistol with three shots, each with one hit kills an opponent. Another class can create an AOE wave of destruction that harms everyone around him.
The game modes in Destiny are pretty much what you would expect, from control points, to capture the flag, to plain old Death match. The game isn’t really looking to reinvent the wheel here, as its incredible RPG like single-player and co-op are where it really innovates.
However, Bungie really did knock it out of the park with the multiplayer U.I. Destiny has something that many shooters have been missing for a while now: a life-bar. All ability cool-downs are very clearly marked. Your remaining ammo is right up front and center. There’s no searching around for info in this game. Everything is presented in a clear and easy to read fashion.
One thing that I worry about, however, is the problem of runaway power creep. You aren’t even allowed to participate in competitive multiplayer until you hit level 7, because you gain so much power and so many new abilities each level. In the demo we played, we were all level 7, so it was decently balanced and fun. However, I can easily see some level 32 veteran with a gun that shoots lightning or something seriously harshing on everyone else’s play experience.
That being said, multiplayer is also a fantastic way to grind, so that kind of balances it out. If you just can’t seem to get any further in single-player, hop onto a couple multiplayer matches. You will get lots of experience, tons of currency, and really high quality loot for doing so. That way you don’t have to shove bullets down endless waves of A.I. enemies just to get to the next portion of the game.
Destiny feels big. The maps are huge, the vehicles are awesome, and everything tries to make you feel like you are the most important person in this sci-fi epic. It also plays it very easy on the newbies. The auto-aim is very lenient, there are lots of noob-tube style first order operating strategies, and even people who don’t like shooters can punch tanks until they explode. It was those very feelings that made me love the game. It’s not just another Call of Duty clone. It’s not just another multiplayer shooter where you hop into a match and fight against random opponents to get better to fight in another match. It’s an epic that spans our entire solar system. If all you are looking for is a simple way to fight other people online, Call of Duty exists for that. But if you want an ongoing sci-fi FPS RPG, then Destiny will blow you away.