With the (extended) Destiny Alpha testing just ended, we can finally clear our thoughts and take a look back at a sample of what Bungie will be offering at the end of this year. And while the gaming world was not fully informed about what this amazing title will offer – and what it looked like a just-above-generic first-person shooter (personal opinion) – , the Alpha test was a great call by Bungie, showcasing the game’s best features while also exposing its flaws in order to get them fixed. So here are some conclusions about Destiny’s best and worst features (some are prior to change in the full version):
What immediately comes to my mind is the vast world that surrounds the player. Actually, the word “vast” is what describes this game perfectly. While the game only takes place in our Solar System, its explorable territories are simply mind-blowing. While I was playing the Alpha I noticed that I was receiving some missions that made me go back and forward to the same areas, and I thought that was retarded, but hey, it’s only an alpha test, of course that they did not include the entire map. But then I just stopped taking quests and hop on my bike and went off by my own. And so I was going on and on and on, constantly discovering huge areas of the map, ship wreckages, dark caves and tight tunnels leading to certain death. And most of them I couldn’t even dive into because of the out-of-my-league monsters guarding the areas. And this was just a part of the Earth map, not to mention that I’m freaking talking about an alpha test. So yeah, I’m sure that the final version of the game will be mind-blowing.
The online-component is just as staggering. I’m not talking about the PvP component, though that one is also a big part of the game, I’m talking about the MMO-esqe player-to-player interactivity. Cruising with your fellow fireteam members and suddenly meeting another fireteam struggling to defeat a wave of aliens or that is pinned down by a horde of hive knights makes the game more immersive and fun. I even experienced a multiplayer event in the alpha test, which took a bunch of lonesome players and forced us to work together and survive in order to complete the mission. It’s an amazing experience and I can’t wait to do it again on a much larger scale.
Another sweet feature is the loot. It reminds me a bit of Borderlands, though in the alpha it was far from Borderlands’ level of complexity and it doesn’t even get close to the numbers (but you can buy spaceships!). But it’s intuitive that Bungie will make a great deal out of this when the final version of the game comes out and I’m shivering with excitement when I think about all the armor pieces and weapons I’ll stumble upon. You can get sweet items even by playing the PvP component of the multiplayer, though I didn’t actually get it how it works, as I noticed that it doesn’t necessarily reward the top-ranking player. It’s an awesome feature nonetheless and I’m sure that the full version will include an even more awesome variety of items!
But Destiny is not all milk and honey. While I’m sure that this will get fixed in the final version, the enemy respawn system is a bit flawed. They just respawn so quickly that, after spending 10 minutes to clear an area of enemies in order to proceed and complete your mission in the area right after that, it’s very frustrating to see, on your return, that all those enemies are just the way you found them in the first place. Yes, you can hop on your space-bike and drive right through them, but where’s the fun in that? This is something Bungie really needs to fix as it was the number one problem of the alpha test, because if they don’t, it will definitely ruin the experience.
Also, the side-missions feel a bit repetitive and shallow. I don’t know what the system will be in the final version of the game, but the free-roaming missions that were present in the alpha were a bit dull. At one moment it felt like a drag to take on another mission in order to raise your Vanguard rank and I’m afraid that it will force players into farming and grinding and that’s never fun. Bungie needs to work on this big-time, and make the whole mission system more fun, more diverse and definitely more rewarding. If you mix this up with the bounty system, you’ll drag yourself into boredom and monotony. Not fun.
So, even though the alpha test presented some cracks and flows, it’s what alpha tests are meant to do in the first place. But seeing how amazingly good the alpha looks like, I can’t wait to try the beta next month, and even the final build of the game when it comes out in September. It’s definitely a worthy candidate for the game of the year.