Destiny is a game that is hard to categorize. As someone that writes about games quite often, it’s nice to have genres to throw games into as it makes it easier to talk about them. However, Destiny defies all genre conventions. It’s an FPS, but it’s also a deep RPG. It can be played solo, but it also shares a lot in common with MMO games. Bungie has coined the term “shared world shooter” to describe Destiny, but even that term barely scratches the surface of what Destiny is and what it offers to players.
Destiny is one of my most anticipated games of 2014 and for good reason. The team at Bungie working on the game is one of the largest development teams ever compiled to work on a gaming project. It comes from one of the most successful developers in history, the people that saved the original Xbox from obscurity with the launch of one of the largest gaming franchises ever, Halo.
Halo fans will have a lot to look forward to when Destiny launches because Destiny is modeled to play very similarly to Halo. Taking a look at any gameplay video of the title will show the striking resemblance that Destiny has with Microsoft’s biggest franchise, such as this one:
Like I said, Destiny is a game that defies classification. It’s a first-person shooter, but it’s also an MMO. However, it’s an MMO without a subscription fee. It can be played solo, or it can be played entirely in co-op, or it can be played entirely in a competitive manner. Destiny is looking to change the way we look at games, and I for one am extremely excited to experience the title for myself later this year.
This is everything we know about Destiny so far.
New yet familiar worlds
Destiny is set in our solar system. The plot and setting being described as science-fantasy. And despite its massive scope, Bungie promises that the story will have a cohesive beginning, middle, and end. The game will provide a cinematic campaign for those that want to only tackle the story missions, and that’s part of the beauty of Destiny: it can be played just about anyway you’d want it to play.
The scope of Destiny is extremely ambitious. Players can explore any of the planets, asteroids, or moons that are in our solar system. There are key locations at these areas that house the missions and competitive multiplayer matches present in the game.
One of the main areas on Earth to explore is a place called Old Russia, which was showcased in the E3 level in the video found in this article. Other major areas include a research center on Venus that is protected by the enemies the Vex robots, which I will go into in more detail later.
Mars is a place that may bring back memories of Spec Ops: The Lines as it once had glorious cities that are now completely covered in Martian sand. Players are able to explore the skyscrapers that once dotted the skyline by entering through the tops and going down floor by floor, deeper into the sands of Mars.
Players will also be able to explore Earth’s moon, which has been infested by the enemy type called the Hive. When they’re not completing missions and killing enemies, players will be able to convene at The Tower, which is a hub world that allows players to interact with other players freely, gather new missions, shop, and more.
These different locations will provide linear areas to explore as well as vast free-roaming spaces where players are free to kill enemies, discover new missions, and more. Dynamic missions will pop up while in these free-roaming areas that players can choose to take on or ignore, such as killing X number of enemies in the area, for example.
Players will do their exploring using a variety of vehicles. They will have one of their own, but enemy vehicles can also be hijacked and used Halo-style. Doing all of this will award the players with Glimmer, which is the currency used in Destiny that can be used to purchase new gear and more.
Your very own Guardian
A major facet of Destiny is the customization that it allows. Players will be able to create multiple Guardians of a variety of different races and classes. Currently, three races have been announced for the game. There are humans, the Awoken (humans that have been deformed since the attack of the “Darkness” that threatens to wipe out all life in the universe), and Exo (robots that have a blank programming slate and are free to do whatever they wish).
After choosing a race for their Guardian, players are free to choose their class as well as customize their appearance, including adding tattoos and altering their hair and face. The three different classes available in the game are the Titan, Warlock, and Hunter classes. Skip to the next section for more information on the classes in Destiny.
Players will also be able to customize and collect a variety of different weapons, which are also separated into three different categories. There’s primary weapons, secondary weapons, and heavy weapons available to use in the game.
The weapons and armor in the game are known as “gear”. Gear can be found or purchased, and they allow for a variety of different status effects and boosts to make the game easier. Gear, much like the players’ own Guardian, can be leveled up and it has its own set of skill trees as well, making each piece of gear extremely unique and valuable.
Besides having their own set of armor and weapons to help them stand out from others, players will also have their own spaceship that can be customized. The spaceship will be visible to other players when in public areas and co-op missions. Players will also have their own vehicle, which looks like a futuristic motorcycle.
Based on their class type and Focus, players will have different ways to jump as well. They can double jump, simply jump higher, teleport, and more. Furthermore, there is also a robotic AI companion called Ghost that follows the Guardians around and can be used for a variety of different purposes on the battlefield.
Titan, Warlock, and Hunter
The three different classes available in Destiny are the Titan, Warlock, and Hunter classes. The Hunter class is the “gunslinger” style class. These Guardians wear clocks and have access to a powerful Ghost Gun that is able to kill enemies with a single shot for their Focus Special (read on to find out more about Focus Specials).
The Titan class would be the “tank” style class in Destiny. These Guardians are able to earn badges and wear them on their armor based on their combat accomplishments. Their Focus Special emits a shockwave that is able to kill multiple enemies at once.
Finally, the Warlock class is actually able to utilize magic given to the survivors of the “Collapse” (the word used for the apocalypse brought on by the Darkness in the game) by the Traveler (the giant spaceship that hangs over the last remaining city on Earth). The Warlock class is outfitted with robes, and they can also operate as a “healer” type for a co-op team. Warlocks have a Focus Special called a Nova Bomb that is used to wipe out large groups of enemies.
Guardians will also be able to specialize in different “Focuses”. These Focus abilities level up as well, with each Focus ranging from 1 to 20. Guardians are able to switch out for different Focus abilities if desired, and multiple Focus abilities can be equipped at a time on a single character. Focus Specials are special attacks related to Focus abilities that are exclusive to each different class. They can be activated as a sort of special move.
This is reminiscent of the highly influential “job” system that was employed in the earlier Final Fantasy games. Besides leveling up gear and Focuses, players will also be able to level up their Guardian directly, as of course, the Guardian gains XP and has their own set of skill trees related to their class as well.
Threats of the Darkness
The main antagonists in Destiny are a variety of different species and races that are all linked to the “Darkness”. This Darkness is the primary rival to the Traveler that strives to protect humanity. Fighting these different species makes up a big part of how Destiny is played.
There are four major enemy races. The most prominent is the Fallen. These enemies have four arms and work together in a tiered sort of society, with the lower members of their society having two of their four arms cut off. They use mechs and advanced weaponry to fight the Guardians.
Another enemy type is the Cabal. The Cabal are mainly found in areas like Mars. They wear large, bulky armor and are very mindful of militaristic pursuits.
The robotic Vex that control Venus are ancient robots that apparently traveled to the time that Destiny takes place from either the distant past or future using wormhole technology. The Vex are dangerous, but they have a power core in their center that serves as their weak point.
Finally, there’s the Hive. As I’ve already stated, the Hive have taken over Earth’s moon in the lore of Destiny. These creatures are the obligatory zombie style creatures, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from small, unarmored Hive monsters to gigantic ones called Ogres. There can never be enough zombies, especially space zombies, eh?
In true Bungie fashion, all of these different enemies will act differently. They have their own cultures, weapons, and priorities. So that means every enemy in the game will require its own strategy in order to defeat it successfully.
Multiplayer for a new generation
With their work on Halo, Bungie really spearheaded the online gaming revolution for consoles. They developed advanced matchmaking technology that made playing Halo games on Xbox Live a treat. Now Bungie is at it again with Destiny, except with Destiny, the matchmaking never stops.
Matchmaking is constantly going on in the background when playing Destiny. Of course, you are free to ignore it, but players will pop up in public areas all the time when playing the game. There will be public co-op missions and public bosses that players can choose to tackle if they wish, as well as dynamic competitive events that pop up as an option while playing through the game.
So, let’s say you and a group of friends are going through co-op missions together and just exploring the vastness of Destiny. A public boss may pop up out of nowhere, and then all of a sudden it’s you, your friends, and a dozen other Guardians all working together to battle these bosses. These bosses can also show up in the hub world and are always balanced based on the amount of players available to fight it, so the challenge will always be a factor in the game.
Of course, there are going to be people out there that are going to scoff at all the innovations that Bungie is bringing to the table with Destiny. These are stubborn people that are stuck in their ways and resistant to change in the gaming industry. Well, luckily for them, Destiny can be just as traditional of an experience as they want it to be.
Not only is the control scheme very traditional (the controls mimic Call of Duty games), but players are free to bounce between different game modes instantly using their spaceship. Those that want to experience the open world freedom of Destiny and experience everything dynamically are free to do so, but those that just want to play Destiny for the competitive multiplayer options are free to do that as well.
Speaking of the competitive multiplayer, the multiplayer in Destiny is comprised of very familiar game modes. There will be base-based game modes where players have to control specific locations on the map and there will also be deathmatch modes as well. These modes will come with their own Destiny-sized twists.
Like MMOs, the gear in Destiny will be tiered based on its rarity and power. The gear in Destiny comes in four different flavors. White is the most common type, while green is less about average. Purple is rare, and “Exotic” gear is gold and is the most highly coveted gear in the game.
Exotic gear is extremely powerful. In fact, it is so powerful that Guardians are limited to one piece of exotic armor and one piece of exotic weaponry. A few different exotic weapons have been mentioned by Bungie so far, and all three of them are weapons.
There’s the Red Death, which boosts perks and allows for faster health regeneration. Then there’s the Closing Time sniper rifle, which makes the user invisible when they are zooming in with the scope. It also allows them to collect ammo by shooting ammo boxes from a distance.
Finally, there’s the Gjallarhorn. This weapon shoots rockets as well as deploys sentry turrets. There will be plenty more awesome exotic weapons in the final game.
An exciting future
After players beat Destiny, there will be plenty left to experience. They can choose to continue to complete missions with friends, play the game’s competitive modes, level a brand new character, and do whatever else their heart desires.
There will be plenty of content that will be reserved for higher level players, as the enemies found in these areas will be too high level to face during the first time through the game. This encourages players to revisit locations that they’ve already been to during their time with the game in order to discover new locations and experience new challenges. Other high-level challenges will be available as well, including raids, a popular staple of MMO games.
Bungie is planning to make Destiny a gigantic franchise and they aren’t putting in all this work for a one-shot game. Expect there to be much more Destiny in the future, as Bungie will undoubtedly create new stories with this game through updates, DLC, expansion packs, and whatever else.
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I for one am incredibly excited for Destiny. I have really enjoyed their previous work with the Halo series and I don’t see any reason to doubt them now. Destiny has potential to be a huge game changer.
My only reservation about the game is its cross-gen status. Typically speaking, games that are cross-generational do not take full advantage of the next-gen hardware when compared to the last-gen hardware. This is disappointing, as I believe Destiny could be even greater if it were built from the ground up to be exclusively released on PS4 and Xbox One instead of also being on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
At any rate, I don’t doubt that the game will be great regardless of the platform. Destiny may not be “true” next-gen, but it is far more innovative and daring than any other game I’ve seen announced for next-generation consoles to date.