The Destiny Beta test starts today for those using the PS3 and PS4 to play the game. I’m playing the PS3 version of the game. Over the next ten days or so, I’ll be presenting my diary of sorts talking of my time with the game and my impressions. The beta will go down July 21-23 for maintenance, and then resume until July 27. So, come along for the ride, and I hope you enjoy my observations on one of this year’s biggest releases.
Though the test was supposed to start around 1PM my time (I’m on the eastern coast of the US), Bungie’s site was down for a bit, most likely to load up everyone’s access codes. Got my codes finally around 2:15 PM, went to the PlayStation, and redeemed my code. After a 45 minute download and another 13 minutes to install, it was time to jump into the game. Having only owned Sony’s consoles, I never got a chance to play any of Bungie’s games before, save a brief demo of the first Halo at a local fair that had an Xbox exhibit. Despite my lack of familiarity with playing the Halo games, I found the menus easy to navigate and the controls should be accessible to anyone who’s played a Call of Duty game. L1 is your aim, R1 shoot, L2 throws your grenades, R2 is for melee. L3 is used to sprint, Circle to crouch, Square to open boxes. And so on. The game also does a nice job of aiding you in this regard. Your companion, a drone of sorts named Ghost (voiced by Game of Thrones Peter Dinklage), also tells you what to do and where you need to go. Your “Select ” button can also be used to access your current objective, while the “Start” button access’s your character, inventory, settings, lets you pause the game, and log out of the session.
After booting up the game, we get treated to a well done cinematic opening scene that sets the stage for the story. A mysterious object known as the Traveler appears in the solar system near Mars, and its influence creates a golden age on Earth. All is not going to stay well, however, as the Traveler has enemies, among them the Fallen, and they soon arrive to make things unpleasant for Earth’s inhabitants. It’s a standard sci-fi set up, but it’s done well enough. After the opening I met Ghost, my little floating robotic companion. It’s then time to choose my class of character and race. Your character is a Guardian, one of the protectors of Earth. For you Guardian, you can choose three classes: Titan, Hunter, and Warlock. The Titan class is your warrior, good with guns and heavy weapons. The Hunter is a bit more agile, using firearms and blades. The Warlock is akin to a Mage, using firearms and a powerful energy melee attack. You get to choose from three Races: Human, Awoken, and Exo. The Awoken are a mysterious species, with bluish skin. The Exo are a ruthless and powerful machine-like race. No matter your choice, you can slightly customize your character’s appearance. I chose to be a male Awoken Warlock for my time with the game for now. Your point of view is first person, though when in the Tower you’ll see your character in third person.
Now that I have established my character, it was time to get into the first story mission of the game. You’re outside a massive wall to begin with when a squadron of Fallen arrive. Ghost tells me to hightail it inside. Once in the structure, it was time to find a weapon. My first weapon proved to be a Khvostov 7G-02 assault rifle, quite handy for mowing down enemies. Ghost tells me that he hopes that I know how to use that thing, and I prove that soon enough, as enemies fall to my bullets. I make my way through to an old Russian Cosmodrome, where Ghost tells me to find a ship. More Fallen arrive, so time for more shooting. I encounter four distinct enemy types- the Dreg, a nimble foot-soldier, the Vandal, which uses longer ranged weapons, the Shank, a floating robotic drone, and a Fallen Captain, which uses shields and packs a more powerful punch. I do battle, take cover, die once, respawn, and fight some more. Eventually I make my way to a ship, an Arcadia Class Jumpship. Ghost gets it started an we make our escape back to the last safe city on Earth.
Once back at the city, I entered the Tower. The Tower serves as a hub, where you can receive packages and mail from the Postmaster, visit merchants for weapons and armor to upgrade your character, and visit the Shipwright fro repairs to your craft as well as buying other vehicles and blueprints. The Tower and the city are under the protection of the Traveler, so you won’t have to worry about fighting here. I collected a message from Bungie thanking me for my participation in the beta from the Postmaster, then sought out Ikora Rey, a Warlock Vanguard that had some armor for me. Next up was a visit to the Gunsmith Banshee-44, where I purchased a Marshal-A Auto Rifle to compliment the Preacher Mk 20 shotgun I had found earlier. Doing battle and exploring helps you level up, and doing so now made me able to use a vortex grenade. It looks like you’ll have a few choices as you progress through the game, but for now I was limited. After the gunsmith it was time to visit Shipwright Amanda Holliday, who let me know my ship was all fixed up and ready to go. Time to move on, so off we went into orbit, where I used the navigator to choose my destination. Back to Old Russia I go in search of more parts that will enable my ship to explore the solar system.
And that’s where I ended my first play session. So far, I’m enjoying the game and haven’t experienced any issues. But it’s only the first day. Stay tuned for my further adventures with Destiny.
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