Eyes-on: Destiny

If there's one game that really stands out at E3 this year, it's Destiny. While it was announced alongside the PlayStation 4 in February, we haven't seen any gameplay footage until now.

NameDestiny
Summary:Bungie's upcoming FPS in the best thing we've seen in-depth at this year's E3 so far. It looks action-packed and absurdly fun. We wanted to ask the developers to move over so we could play, too. If only.
Games Info:Developer: Bungie; Publisher: Activision
Classification:Not yet rated
Platform:PS3,PS4,Xbox 360,Xbox One
Test Platform:Unknown

If there's one game that really stands out at E3 this year, it's Destiny. While it was announced alongside the PlayStation 4 in February, we haven't seen any gameplay footage until now.

It. Looks. Awesome.

Destiny is made by Bungie, the same company that created the Halo franchise. It's safe to say that Halo changed the first-person shooter genre, so Bungie has quite a legacy to live up to. While the company's sticking with the tried-and-true to some extent by producing another FPS game, this one's looking very different to Halo.

Destiny is about Earth, but not the Earth we know. It's far, far into the future, and there's only one safe city left. The rest of the planet, an open world, is referred to as "the wild", and it's a beautiful shell of what it once was. Rusted cars line what must have once been a highway by a river, but it's all overgrown and the skeletons of the cars' former occupants are still there. Grass sways gently in the breeze, dust floats through the air. The graphics in Destiny are altogether pretty incredible, and maintain their high quality even way off into the distance.

The world may be pretty, but unless you happen to be a 'Guardian' it's a tough, monster-infested place. So it's a good thing you're a Guardian.

Being a Guardian essentially means that you're able to defend yourself - when we pressed Bungie president Harold Ryan about what abilities Guardians have, he was very tight-lipped.

At the beginning of the gameplay footage we saw, a character was meeting up with a friend in Old Russia, where he intended to go beyond a big, imposing wall. His friend wasn't an NPC, but another developer, and as the segment went on more developers dropped in.

On getting to a dark section of the level, player one brought out an AI companion, called Ghost. While Bungie wouldn't tell us what other abilities Ghost has, it was able to light up rooms and seemed to be a fully sentient AI with a dry, sarcastic wit about it.

After lighting a path, the two characters, along with Ghost, made their way into a room with monstrous bipedal enemies. Fortunately, Destiny features some powerful guns. This is where we really made the connection to Halo, too - one thing that was always great about Halo was the way the guns sounded and felt, the the noise a gun makes when you fire it in Destiny is nothing short of satisfying.

When you defeat a boss or miniboss, they drop loot that can allow you to upgrade your weapon. Many of the abilities weren't named yet, including some of the weapons, but one upgrade called 'Rolling Thunder' made a regular gun begin to shoot energy-based bullets.

The enemy AI seemed rather unpredictable, too, even to the developers who were playing through the demo. At one point, a developer's character was knocked out, and the other one needed to revive her. Unfortunately, two of his grenades missed his target because the creature didn't move the way he anticipated. ("That was the worst demo ever," he exclaimed afterward.)

What was most impressive about the demo, however, was how it suddenly turned from a regular co-op shooter into a real MMO. It's not an MMO all the time, as such, but there are public events where you'll run into other groups of characters. The public event in the demo was a boss fight, and Destiny suddenly went from very cool to straight up insane. Everyone was jumping and dodging and firing, and the sheer amount of action on-screen at once looked both very fun and very visually impressive. We didn't notice the graphics or framerate suffering, either - it all looked great.

As of writing, we've got one more full day left at E3, but Bungie's upcoming FPS in the best thing we've gotten to see in any depth so far. It looks action-packed and absurdly fun. We wanted to ask the developers to move over so we could play, too. If only.

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Siobhan Keogh

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