Destiny Review Log 01: To Destiny and Beyond [Stream Over]

I played several hours of Destiny today, just ahead of launch, and ventured to the moon’s surface as a solo player in missions ranging from levels 5 to 10. These are the game’s beginning steps out of Bungie’s creative warmth and into the cold hearts of first-person shooter fanatics more accustomed to slaying Nazis and space marines.

Destiny is different.

Destiny has some truly beautiful design tucked under layers of techno jumps and hive minded architecture that haunts more of Halo’s cobwebs than it does the obscure skull spots. While I’d like to see more of the game before laying it out on the line, Bungie has issued one of the deepest shooters you’ll ever play.

I’m already loving the more intense soundtrack loops and boss fights might represent huge bullet sponges for solo players like myself, even though they’re clearly designed for groups and more compelling as such too. In fact, that’s the only thing I’ve been disappointed by thus far.

Any other players I see in-game tend to stick around the more open areas while the big encounters wait much further into space temples, broken constructs, and the in-set Russian bases that make up “the travelers'” comfortable seat in the planet’s atmosphere. It’s far more engaging to jump off-world and face-off with much more complicated mission parameters.

When you start to level up your character, you’ll unlock new gear and abilities though you won’t be slinging fire from your sleeves immediately and unlocking new versions of abilities change them only slightly. An early vortex grenade for the Warlock class turns into a cluster of sparking explosions at the second level.

It’s still way too much fun to experiment with your space-hero’s look through gear customizations, alternate colors, and the always nuanced stat-vs-stat selection that ends up forcing you to switch outfits when you head to town if you want to get as deep into your character as you do with World of Warcraft.

The story seems to unfold around the great histories of the universe, though you won’t get much of that without really digging into what you see around you. Some shooters get away with offering a few different opportunities for exposition well outside of your typical cutscene, though Destiny doesn’t mix with the player when it comes to genre focus. This game wants you to blow away several thousand aliens well before you get to explore the mythos of an ancient civilization.

Twice in my first day playing the game, I blew up some relic of incredible importance that enemies were actively praying at though you won’t find me complaining if the multiplayer community picks up speed and makes some of the more horrific bosses into powder.

I’m dying to see how super powers mix when multiple classes get into a close combat situation, though indoor arenas lend themselves to some seriously heinous self-destruction. I’ll have to look out next time.

Keep watching my livestream video above and look out for further Destiny coverage all week long.

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