When a company like Bungie announce a new game, you stop to take notice. When you see it in action, you get very excited indeed. We saw a live gameplay demo of it at Gamescom and can confirm that if they keep to all the promises they’ve made then it could be the defining game to set the bar for the next-gen.
We’ve already seen the trailers for the game and understand the premise, what we haven’t seen before is the game running live. It does look incredibly beautiful – it wasn’t confirmed whether the demo was running on PS4 or Xbox One but it was definitely next-gen. You can clearly see the influences of Halo in both the character design and the HUD. What might not be so clear is the influence of games like Borderlands.
With a massive open world to explore and enemy bases to stumble upon, there really is a flavour of 2K’s game in here. Even the way in which you obtain your loot that the space pirates drop reminds us of the weapons that you find on Pandora. They may not be quite as zany, but they certainly pack a punch. With space for three weapons, including a spot for the legendary weapons, there’s plenty of scope for variety. Bungie described these weapons as having a mythology of their own, once belonging to some of the fiercest warriors in the galaxy. What a way to empower the player.
As fantastic as the weapons looks, it’s the promise of co-operative play that sets the game apart. With no matchmaking, friends are free to drop in and out as they, and you, please. There’s a small delay, cleverly covered by a dropship arriving to allow the second player to arrive, but it’s clearly far faster than anything that would be possible on this generation of consoles.
In fact there’s the possibility of more than one player joining you in your world. Bungie haven’t confirmed exactly how many can join you at once but the demo we saw had at least 8 players all combining to tackle an enemy. Here we get to the second most exciting part of the demo, the promise of public events. These events happen in an emerging world, meaning that it’s not controlled by Bungie or even coded in as to how and when to set them off. The universe is alive and these events are random. We saw an attack by some of the pirates, known as ‘The Fallen’ that required all 8 players to team up to overcome.
The only enemies that we saw were ‘The Fallen’ but in a world with such a rich mythology already obvious, it seems clear that the name of the enemy must be significant. We highly doubt that there would be an enemy named like that unless there were some rich back-story which you could uncover. Again Bungie haven’t confirmed how the enemy level system will work when, say, a level 11 titan joins a level 7 warlock as in the example that we saw. All they would say is that the risk may increase but so will the rewards – another feature that looks to have been inspired by Borderlands.
Of course you can play the game on your own if you want, though you would be sorely missing out on the social aspects of the game, features that Bungie say they built the game from the ground up to incorporate. It’s quite possible to go through the game a single player experience or as a co-operative game, but these modes can be switched whenever you want without having to exit back to the lobby to set up.
Competitive multi-player has also been confirmed to be in the game, though we only saw a very brief look at this. How it will work is unclear but it seems to us that it wouldn’t be a huge loss if it wasn’t there. Several games this generation have shown that they can work well without the need for competitive multi-player but we have faith that Bungie wouldn’t put it into the game unless they had a good reason to do so.
The promise of a truly dynamic world coming to consoles is an exciting one. With Bungie’s pedigree we have no doubt that the game will be fantastic when it’s finally released. By incorporating an MMO-style world with the possibility for single player experiences show that they are trying to cater for all audiences. With such an emphasis on the social aspects, it would be highly surprising if we saw little or no second screen functionality. Expect more information on this as we get closer to the game’s, still unannounced, release date. From the demo that we saw, we can say with certainty that Destiny looks set to be a must-have game that could only happen on next-gen and was, as far as we’re concerned, the game of the show.