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Feature: The PS4 Destiny Diaries - Day Seven: One Last Beta Adventure on the Moon

Posted by Robert Ramsey

We'll meet again

What a wild ride the Destiny beta has been. For a long time, Bungie's latest was the 'next big thing' that we knew next to nothing about; a couple of E3 appearances, some concept art here and there, and a single slice of gameplay footage to gawk at – it was only these things that gave us the slightest hint of what the game actually was. In hindsight, June's alpha was a piece of marketing genius. It wouldn't have worked for the vast majority of games, but even in its supposedly early state, the sci-fi shooter proved to be polished, addictive, and had just about everyone gasping for more.

In all of my time playing video games, I've never seen anything quite like it. The amount of hype and general fervour that the alpha created was astounding, and things have only gotten more intense after everyone's sampled the beta. While it's true that there are no immediately noticeable changes between the two downloads, the beta has spread like wildfire, partly because of very clever marketing, but also because people seem to have been talking about nothing else for the past two weeks. A month and a bit before the full game releases, and it's becoming very difficult to have anything but the highest of expectations.

The main thing that's had everyone talking over the last day or so has been the addition of a new location: the moon. The area has been marked on our galaxy maps since the beta began, sitting there as an obvious tease of things to come. Lo and behold, yesterday saw the big hunk of rock open up to Guardians for two hours – a perfect amount of time, when you stop to think about it. Sporting one mission and a surprisingly huge map to explore, two hours gave most players just enough time to get a feel for the location before it became closed off to space tourists. And honestly, it made me a bit desperate to see more. In that sense, the limited look worked like a charm, so what better way than to round off our Destiny Diaries than with the exploration of that big pale thing in the sky?

Relive Our Destiny Diaries

One of the first things that you notice about the moon is that it's not quite as naturally structured as Old Russia. There's a bigger sense of openness, where points of interest are clustered together rather than being spread out across a vast landscape. As such, my buddies and I spent a large amount of time running from place to place, until we realised that in order to crack out our trusty Sparrows, we'd have to complete the first portion of the only available mission.

As hinted, there's a lot of ground to cover between the places that you'll need to visit. The mission itself sees you tracking down a deceased Guardian and their Ghost, and even comes with a couple of cutscenes. As a whole, it's been a nice way to round off the much loved beta, and certainly provides another promising look at what the full release will consist of. Unfortunately, it's raised a few cynical questions, too.

For starters, there's little evidence to suggest that the story elements of the game will hold much weight. For sure, we may only be seeing a limited snippet of what's to come – and I'm hoping that's more or less the case – but there's definitely a sense that the narrative missions feel a bit too similar. Realistically, I'm not sure what Bungie could do with a such a vast game that's based largely around co-op activity, but everything that we've played generally follows the same path: your Ghost provides a bit of exposition, you travel or fight your way to a point on the map, hack something, blast through a couple of waves of enemies, leave, head to a final location, and kill more aliens before a nice big 'mission complete' banner splashes across the screen.

Of course, it's easy to be cynical, and it'd be a massive shame if anyone was actually put off buying the game due to their experience with the beta, but mission structure is still something that's worth thinking about. In a release that sees you cover lengthy distances in order to get to your next objective, perhaps the real meat of the adventure lies in how you actually carve your own path to arrive at the task. It's already been established that exploration and fighting alongside your friends is going to be the crux of Destiny for many, and it'll maybe be best to embrace that outlook, rather than sprinting off towards the next mission marker and completing everything within a few minutes.

Still, to arrive at entirely negative conclusions because of a beta would be a short-sighted thing to do. It's also equally easy to praise the RPG-shooter hybrid to the point where you start to sound like a bit of a shill, but the fact of the matter is that judging purely from the beta that we've been playing to death over the last two weeks, you couldn't be blamed for feeling at least a little excited about this brand new property.

Anyway, slaughtering enclaves of Hive troops and watching them turn to dust after a precise headshot will probably keep things entertaining despite any doubts. Heck, one of my most memorable moments with the beta has come from something completely non-scripted, as me and my fireteam got completely lost in a gigantic underground Hive lair deep beneath the moon's surface. Conjuring up visions of Aliens and the Collector ship from Mass Effect 2, this was perhaps an indication that we can hope for plenty of totally unexpected and brilliantly enjoyable happenings in the world that Bungie has created.

After spending close to 50 hours with the beta, I can tell you with confidence that I think that Destiny is going to be something special. It's impossible to guarantee that everyone will like it, of course, but even in its beta state, it's feels like a relatively big step forward for shooters, and console player interaction in general. If we can just sit back and imagine the full game on a much larger scale, filled with the same polish and level of detail that we've already witnessed, I don't think that there's any real reason to worry too much. And if there is, well, we can always just head back to the Tower for a glitchy game of footie.


Have you enjoyed the beta? How much time did you sink into it? Tell us all about your adventures and your final thoughts in the comments section below.

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User Comments (11)

Cron_13

#1

Cron_13 said:

Good read and I agree with the sentiment about hoping the beta doesn't put some people off... But that's their choice. Judging a whole game on a 5 or so mission and story snippet is close minded but then that's how some people roll. It's cool to be a hater instead of look at something constructively.

What I personally found is that regardless of whether they want to call it an Mmo... It is... Or at least mmo light.

That formula of story, loot, dungeons, world bosses hasn't done the likes of world of warcraft any harm. What's nice about destiny is how accessible it seems so far. Balancing and gear will be key to ensure they don't alienate players (esp PvP) but from what I've seen so far I've a lot of hope the game will be something special... The key stuff like the way the guns handle, player movement etc all seems to be there for me anyway.

Funny really, I had it on pre-order anyway as my mates were going mad for it, but apart from a vid on giantbomb I really had no expectations of the game.

Demi_God

#2

Demi_God said:

I'm pretty sure with the success that this game is going to have, I wouldn't be surprised to see Bungie pushing more people in a server in the future with more expansions or whenever they decide to make another destiny game. I can see this game getting bigger and bigger.

I can also see Bungie putting in some space combat with ships and stuff, in the future of course. looting ship drops be it common, uncommon, rare, epic, legendary, etc etc.

TOMBOY25

#3

TOMBOY25 said:

i really enjoyed the beta but with so many games coming out this year more FPS are low on my list so can't really see me getting it at launch.

Bad-MuthaAdebis

#4

Bad-MuthaAdebis said:

I've really really enjoyed it, I don't think much of the crucible multiplayer but that ain't why I'd be interested in this game anyway, yes it's a fps but it's a lot more than that. I'll be placing my pre order next month. The fluid online co op works lovely and I'm very much enjoying exploring around.

Mrskinner

#5

Mrskinner said:

I have openly criticized aspects of this game on these boards. Call me close minded or short sighted if you want, but I stand by my comments. I haven't complained about aspects of the game because I want to hate on it, it is totally opposite to that. I want the game to be amazing! I just feel from the beta the game is stupidly repetitive. My own views of course, but views I stand by.

RidingMower

#6

RidingMower said:

Going in at first I thought the game was just pretty good, and thought if they would have dedicated itself to the new consoles that it could have really added more to itself... BUT, then I played the moon mission and it hit me... This game is AWESOME. Who is that hot chick in the distance? The story is gonna get addicting.

drpepperdude100

#7

drpepperdude100 said:

I didn't care about this game at all until I played the beta. I really didn't expect to like it at all mostly because I never really understood what it was about. I thought it was just call of duty in space or something of that nature. But now I am completely hooked. I really want to get it. Though the 30fps instead of 60fps sucks and the graphics could have been better. But most games that have been released on last gen and current gen are lacking somewhat in the graphics department.

Davros79

#8

Davros79 said:

Hey shogunrok, great a read, very evenly balanaced article. I have concerns mainly due to fact the story missions, seem to be exactly the same objectively as what you do in exploration mode random public events or even the solitary strike mission.

Harsh to judge on a beta though like you said, I just hope it has a compelling story and more varied enemy AI, in the final game. I guess the main thing that struck me, is, that after playing with friends in a strike team and then playing solo in the story missions, the latter feels quite dull in comparison .

ShogunRokAdmin

#9

ShogunRok said:

@Davros79 Thanks, and I know what you mean. I think it's fine to criticise based on what we've seen, but it's always best to wait for the full release and see what changes. That said, I too think that story missions need a bit of a kick if it's going to be a really enjoyable campaign, but it must be tough to balance a game that can be played both alone and with two friends. I'm still confident that it'll be a fantastic game as a whole, though.

TasukiStaff

#10

Tasuki said:

Well I didn't sink as much time as I wanted into it. Sadly I only got to level 5 and didn't even touch multiplayer mode :( but I guess that just means it will all be new for me in September when I pick it up. What I did play of it I did enjoy it alot.

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