This struck a lot of industry hacks and gaming fans as odd, since Bungie gifted the world the Halo franchise and its competitive multiplayer was a central plinth in the success of Xbox Live in the early days of the original Xbox.
So how do you construct a persistent world – which sounds, by all accounts, the same as an MMO like World Of Warcraft (except without the subscription fee) – offering players tons of freedom to explore, while making sure they can’t grief one another?
The new Destiny Alpha succinctly answers this question: you partition the different co-op and competitive experiences. The Alpha begins with the player creating a character and shooting through what looks like a short story mission, but once these sections are completed, the player is returned to their orbital dropship.
This is central hub that players can use to fast travel between environments and missions. In the Alpha there are five arenas they can access: there are three co-op missions set in Old Russia, The Crucible (which is basically the PVP arena) and The Tower, where players can kit out their character with weapons, armour, upgrades, new vehicles and more. They can even pick up the odd bounty here and there.
The second mission plonks the player in the same environment, but instead of a linear driven mission, the player is given a series of quests to complete and they can approach both them and the map in a more open-ended manner. The final mission in Old Russia is a visceral set-piece that requires three players to team to complete. You can’t even access unless it unless the matchmaking system finds two more players to slot into your mission.
There are three classes of Guardian in the Alpha: the Titan class, which you could tag as ‘Assault’, the Hunter class, which is basically a scout and the Warlock, who dual wields weapons and what passes for magic in this world.
Each class in the Alpha starts off with an automatic rifle and a shotgun, but as they progress, more weapons – such as sniper rifles, semi-automatics and hand cannons – start appearing. They’re nowhere near as amusing as the weapons contained in Borderlands (another game Destiny feels quite a bit like) but they’re effective nonetheless.
Even though it’s a snapshot of the huge title to come, Destiny’s Alpha is a rather meaty treat. It’ll take players the better part of an afternoon to rinse the co-op missions thoroughly and the firefights in The Crucible are worth the price of admission alone.
It shouldn’t come as a shock that it’s so good. After all this game is made by Bungie, the developer that crafted a shooter beast that Microsoft’s still living large of. We can’t wait to see what the finished article looks like.
Destiny Alpha preview
Destiny Alpha previewT3
Destiny’s Alpha hints that Bungie’s sprawling epic shooter may satisfy players of both competitive and co-op FPS persuasions
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