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Destiny (PS4 Alpha) Hands-On: Potential Game of the Year or just Halo RPG?

As it was a multi E3 award winning game, Destiny is a major competitor to earn multiple Game of the Year titles. Destiny is the newest IP from Bungie, creator but no longer developer of the Halo series, and as such bears a great burden along with great promise. The equivalent of a Reese’s PB cup, Destiny feels like some RPG got in Halo.

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With a fusion of a shooter and a RPG such as Fallout 3, I went in expecting only a decent shooter driven by numbers and a low difficulty thanks in part to mechanics that remove the need of my attention. This line of thinking quickly changed my middle name to “Wrong.” After blindly charging in to small talons of menacing mobs, I learned the hard way that I am not Master Chief in that I can not single handedly take on an army. The hidden mechanics such as peeking over cover while crouched down became my best friend. Knowing that numbers mattered as much as my skills as a player were quickly proven as my deaths became as close to zero as possible while I was standing on yet to vanish corpses. As great as Destiny felt, it was just one part of an intense experience.

A gorgeous, yet war torn, environment dragged me into the setting. Weapons of numerous types had myself gleefully grunting as each sounded, felt, and reacted – the reaction of covering an area with strewn about corpses – as they appeared they should. The immersion was strong in Destiny’s alpha release, even with limited content, has left a memorable impression with the general public and press alike.

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As this initial build was stymied in countless ways gamers were barely phased as they spent hours upon hours within. While the PvP portion was anything but ground breaking, PvE had more than enough content to appease. The introductory level for Destiny doubles as a story mission. Your ghost, voice by Peter Dinklage, known best for his work in Game of Thrones, provides exposition as your plunge deeper into a long abandoned building. Correction: a previously long abandoned building, now populated with the Hive. Before facing a hovering Wizard, you must blast a path through another enemy faction, the Fallen. Neither faction likes each other, however both hate you equally. Upon the Wizard’s demise you are whisked back to the safety of your ship. From this point you are free to explore, it is highly recommended that you make your first visit to The Tower for rewards and tutorials/introductions.

Should you feel the urge to dive back to Earth and explore the lone free roam area, be wary. Here you can feel the kick in the teeth that is the teaching way regarding you vs. higher leveled enemies. Unload a full clip into a Hive Knight and see only a series of 1’s pop off it? Prepare to be pwned and meet the respawn timer. While Destiny’s combat revolves around player skill, the RPG element is still prevalent as always. Get a new gun with a noticeable green box for an icon? That will upgrade/level up as you use it. You will be able to quickly and easily customize your armament as you slay foes with your weapons of choice. Weapons in plural as you are able to wield a primary, special, and heavy. Your primary weapons range from hand cannons to full auto rifles, all of which will proudly define the term “primary”. Special weapons are far from being used constantly, that’s what your primary weapon exists to do. Sniper rifles and shotguns are just a simple sample of what makes your selection for special weapon. Heavy weapons are every action film buff’s dream, machine guns, rocket launchers, anything that is incredibly fun, deadly, and forces chest hair to sprout in seconds.

This may seem like pure praise but the alpha release was not without its problems. Several people have made it known that they have little to understand in regards to the game’s story. A quick bit of research shows Bungie delving a bit too deep into fiction with introduction to a being known only as the Traveler. The Traveler is best thought of as Anti-Galactus as it doesn’t devour planets, rather it turns them into prime real estate for sentient race known for a penchant to explore and colonize aka Earthlings. But, this time, known as the Golden Age didn’t last long, shocking as that is to discover. The Traveler is merely one half of the universal balance, that or it owes money on betting Watch_Dogs being a hit game, since an “ancient enemy” followed the Traveler. As Bungie lazily routes our curiosity with what happened by stating, “No one knows exactly what happened in those final moments, but we know this: we survived, and we owe our lives to the Traveler.” From here Humans, Awoken, and Exos built the Tower, Earth’s last city, using the Traveler’s immobile form where it made its last stand. Very sci-fi yet still vague, but this story does the basic job of saying what happened, kind of, and that all you need to know is we have bad things that need killing.

"Law of the Jungle" Trailer Teases Destiny Reveal

Even with limited content, a low level cap of eight, and a sparse story, Destiny is still slated to be a power house. This is all due to harnessing action-oriented gameplay from the FPS genre with the numbers empowered strategy and customization which can define RPGs. Currently, Destiny has a release date of September 9, 2014 on Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Xbox One, and Xbox 360 with a PS4 beta coming July 17th. Can Bungie show that it is more than just the Halo dev? Will this be a candidate for 2014’s GotY? We will have to wait and find out as there are still a few more months until we get our greedy hands on this genre fusing game.

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