I was lucky enough to get ahold of a code for the Destiny “First Look” Alpha on the PlayStation 4 and it is my pleasure to share my initial impressions of the content with all the readers here on LSZ. I’d like to go over my experiences and share some of my photos from the Alpha in this post. All images used in this article were taken from my PS4 via the Share button and photograph my personal experiences as I went along. There has been no editing or touching up, so these are pretty accurate representations of what the game looks like thus far, after all it’s only in the Alpha stage but it still looks seriously beautiful. I hope you enjoy my thoughts and opinions, be sure to share your own in the comments below as I’d love to read about what other people have been up to in the Alpha.
After a brief introduction by Bungie in which you are asked to report any bugs in order to make the final product that much better, and to of course have fun playing, you are brought to the character customization screen. This is the aspect that I was most excited about to be honest. I personally love creating characters and while the Destiny Alpha character creation isn’t as in-depth as say Mass Effect or Skyrim (as far as choosing facial details and whatnot) the character you create looks infinitely more defined than any other game that I have ever played.
The above image is a closer look at my character, a female Awoken Warlock. You begin the game by choosing your class (Hunter, Titan or Warlock) then move on to your actual character appearance. You start by selecting your race and gender, there are three races as of now: Human, Awoken and Exo. After that you choose what your face looks like from a set of pre-made faces then move on to all the fine details like hair and skin color. Surprisingly, all the faces look intricate and unique. In some other games I have found that choosing pre-made faces can be annoying since they usually all look awful and there is just one that looks less awful than the others but that is not the case with Destiny.
I picked out my lip and eye color, which ended up being magenta and light blue respectively, then went on to choose my hair style and color (which is FLIPPING AMAZING and purple) and made my way to the facial markings. You can’t see the marking I chose since I snapped this image before actually choosing a marking, but they are pretty cool. I actually ended up not sticking with the face you see above; after setting her all up with her hair style and coloring I went back and chose a different face.
After making your character you are set down on Earth and must complete a relatively simple mission as you learn your skills and get the hang of the game from a combat/exploratory aspect. Each class obviously plays a little differently but as of now I am only familiar with the Warlock class. I was equipped with my powers, which at the time was only a type of grenade that creates a small nova-like force, and two weapons: an assault rifle and a shotgun. When playing through the world you are in the first person perspective so it plays like a first person shooter until you are in specific areas which show your character from the third person viewpoint. The shooting mechanics themselves are really smooth and accurate which made romping around and getting into fights with bad guys really enjoyable.
Throughout my time with the alpha I enjoyed the assault rifle most, but there are plenty of other types of weapons to equip like pulse rifles and hand cannons. You can switch between two at any point in combat but you can carry all kinds in your inventory which can be set as your equipped weapons at pretty much any point during the game. Killing enemies and completing missions grants you experience points (XP) which in turn causes you to level up as you progress. As I leveled up I gained some new powers like being able to float in the air after jumping for a bit and draining energy with melee attacks; the more you level up, the more powers you unlock. Health restores pretty quickly when not taking damage and ammo is easy to find, but that doesn’t mean that Destiny is easy. If you do end up dying, which I did a time or two, folks in your fire squad can revive you or you can just respawn elsewhere. Your fire squad is your party of friends who you go around with. There are random people fighting and roaming about at all times, but your fire squad is always with you and they are the people you travel and go in to battle with.
After the first mission you are given the ability to travel at will (in the confines of what is available in the Alpha, of course). You can either stay on Earth doing side missions or you can head to The Tower, pictured above, and collect your rewards, purchase guns and armor, or just hang out with random people and/or your buddies. There is a lot of exploring to be done here, you become familiar with some of the more intricate aspects of the game such as storage vaults, picking up mail, how the financial system works, how to interact with NPC’s and how to pick up certain missions. After turning in the first mission I was rewarded with a lot of gear, more specifically two new weapons and new equipment for each slot (head, body, arms, legs and class accessory). After that a friend of mine and I went back to Earth to gain some XP and level up. Enemies are everywhere and having a friend with me was definitely beneficial since it was hard work killing those baddies.
The above image shows the game menu which is where you can view your character and equip whichever armor or weapons you have in your inventory at any point during the game. You can also take a look at anyone in your fire squad or change the settings from this menu. I spent a good deal of time out and about with my friend, killing enemies and completing missions. Once I leveled up a few times and completed a fair amount of side objectives I called it a day and headed back to The Tower to purchase some new equipment and do some exploring. The Tower is sort of like a central hub, so all sorts of people congregate there. I imagine it would be a fun place to recruit some new friends for certain missions or just meet new people in general. I ran into a group of people and without even speaking to one another we formed a circle and had a little dance party:
I have found the Destiny “First Look” Alpha to be a great deal of fun. The overall presentation of the game is gorgeous, things as simple as shadowing look very realistic and everything down to the way your outfit wrinkles when you sit down on the ground is amazingly detailed. You can tell that a lot of work was done on creating comprehensive, dynamic environments and characters. Little thinks I noticed such as the creases and pores in the lips of my character during the character creation made me realize just how precise the graphical content is.
Combat is smooth and streamlined. Learning the ropes and gaining new powers was not at all a hassle, as it can be in other games. The flow of combat in general is astounding for such a large, in depth-game. Even in the Alpha I experienced quick load times, little to no glitches or bugs, and very few instances of clipping. All in all I am having a fantastic time, this Alpha has really hyped me up for the full game which is coming to both new gen and last gen consoles on September 9, 2014.