How the Destiny beta changed my mind

So I was way off… and I’m so glad I was.

Believe the hype

I’ll be honest – the only reason I preordered Destiny was because everyone else was doing it. I liked the Halo series, but I didn’t really see where all the hype was coming from. Halo + Borderlands? Meh…

So last Thursday, Bungie released the Destiny PS4 beta, and as soon as I booted it up, any doubt I had was dropkicked and thrown straight out the window. Destiny has me wrapped in grasp and it’s not letting go. Bungie has me dangling from a bridge, and I want more!

What changed my mind? Polish.

Destined for greatness?

Most betas are pretty rough.

We saw Battlefield Hardline about a month ago, which was fun but rough around the edges. Squad join wasn’t working, balance issues abounded, and we saw clipping issues and other things we expected. Not to mention the terrible UI. Pretty par on course for a beta.

Destiny? Slap a gold label on this puppy because this thing plays like a retail game.

As you boot up you’re greeted with a cutscene that sets the stage. A CUTSCENE! In a beta! Are you sure this isn’t a demo?

It’s far in the future, and humanity’s golden age has both come – thanks to a mysterious orb called ‘The Traveler’, and gone – with the arrival of an evil ‘darkness’. You play the role of a guardian, a long-dead and recently re-animated hero, and it’s up to you and your fellow guardians to ensure that humanity survives.

The Halo Effect

So how does it play? Well I hope you’re ready for a pretty damn good Halo clone – and I mean that in the best way possible. From the floaty jumping to the tight and fast shooting, it’s evident that Bungie isn’t straying too far from what they know. And that’s a good thing.

If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then Bungie must think very highly of themselves.

But if Destiny was simply a Halo clone, there would be no point to this game. The first-person shooting is only the tip of the iceberg – the gateway to the amazing journey that Destiny is setting you off on. Behind the fun, fast first person action is a deep, persistent class-based upgrade system that continues to reward your play with new armor options, new powers and weapons. And this is how Destiny will ultimately set itself apart from its older cousin.

The weapon and loot drops that we’ve seen in Borderlands finds it’s way into Destiny, but they’re more stingy with their giveaways – and to be quite honest, this actually helps keep you invested in the game. It forces the player to get used to your equipment, spend on upgrades and become attached; only to become rewarded with a better weapon that will force you to think twice about discarding the kit that you’ve been spending your time getting to know. It’s an interesting mechanic, and one that works really well.

Cooperation is key

I played the story missions with friends online, and I can tell you that this game needs to be experienced with others. I don’t want to spoil sections of the beta, but we definitely had a blast cooperating to take out some of the big bosses.

Free roam mode offers more of the same thing, but random “boss” events definitely help you feel like you’re in a larger world with buddies who are there to help you out. It’s almost like JJ Abrams’ Avengers as opposed to Christopher Nolan’s Batman series of movies. You get the feeling that you’re a bunch of heroes thrown together for the greater good, rather than a one-man army.

Playing this game with friends and communicating with a headset is highly recommended.

Playa on playa violence

The Destiny beta also showcases a fun competitive multiplayer mode. Currently on display in the Crucible (what Bungie is calling their PvP matchmaking area) is a team-based domination-style gametype called Control, which is unlocked after you reach level 5 or 6 in the main story mode.

I know I keep harping on how Halo-like this game is, but it’s no more evident than when squaring off against other humans. As my colleague evilenger found out in his recent time in the Crucible, you’re going to want to play this game like you would Halo. That means a fast-paced run-and-gun strategy that involves less ADS, more melee, and liberal use of grenades and vehicles (when available). We’ll have a ‘tips for noobs’ article soon, so stay tuned.

In a nutshell, it’s fun and refreshing, especially for those who have never played Halo before. Sorry Sony, but Killzone just doesn’t compare.

The Old Guy in me Says

If you have an opportunity to try this beta, DO IT. Bungie is being generous by handing out 3 beta keys for each preorder, and I suggest that you consider grabbing one from a friend. It’s a hefty download (11GB) but you’ll thank me later.

The Destiny Beta is currently on hiatus, but it will return tomorrow for PS4 and PS3, and is set to launch on the Xbox One and Xbox 360.

Go and claim your destiny, Guardian.


  • Glad the Beta changed your mind. I played the Alpha and currently the Beta. This has been my most anticipated game since they first announced it long ago. I think Destiny will be huge like Halo, CoD, and WoW.

    • To be honest I’ve been up-and-down on this game. When I first heard about it, I was intrigued, but I couldn’t envision what Bungie would do after Halo. Then they leaked screenshots and I told myself “Oh no, they’re just going to re-do Halo”. That narrative was persistent, but for some reason, I considered it a bad thing. Now that I’ve gotten a chance at playing, I’m hooked.

  • Jan Compaf

    its overrated and only blind fanbois would fall for this, its not bad but not great either, 8/10

    • Jason Mounce

      So which console have you played the Beta on, Mm?

    • So an 8/10 isn’t great? Video game review scores are in need of a HUGE overhaul.

      – In university, an 80% (3.0 GPA) isn’t bad at all!
      – If I was a surgeon, and the success rate of a major surgery was 80%, that would be a pretty good number, no?
      – If this were a movie, and 80% in RottenTomatoes would put it in the same rating category as The Raid 2, which is pretty damn good.

  • Guest

    This game is so mediocre and boring it’s not even funny. It’s trying to be good at so many things at once yet failing miserably.

    • Care to elaborate on its failings? I’m just curious to see what others think. I mean, there are some issues I have with it. Whoever thought that a cursor based UI was a good idea is clearly not thinking straight. And I can see how it can get repetitive, depending on how many maps they’ll allow us to explore in the full game.

      PvP multiplayer is also unbalanced, and will favour those who have better loot. Vehicles are also heavily overpowered. But it’s pretty fun for what it is, and I can’t wait to try other modes.

      What are other issues you’ve had with it?

  • Guest101


  • Andrew


  • Tuch

    Clearly a fanboy.

    The game brings absolutely nothing new to the table. You admit it is a clone of Halo. The only thing different is that you get to “create” a character, and by that I mean you choose one of three races (none of which have their own stories or impact gameplay in any way), select a pre-made face, and one of three classes. Then what? Oh, you can dance. Or sit down. Because that’s truly important in an MMO like this.

    It’s pretty. I’ll give it that. But it’s no prettier than any other next-gen game out there. The lighting effects are often overwhelming. Sound-wise, they pretty much smashed garbage cans and said “Sounds good, let’s do it!” The AI are ridiculously stupid and just run from cover to cover firing homing rounds that go straight to you because they’re too dumb to actually find you. A few well-placed headshots take down a “boss” with no problem.

    Ghost looks like he’s taken straight out of portal, as if they saw a companion box and mixed it with a monotone, personality-less Wheatley. He’s not a very likable companion.

    The story is the same thing we’ve seen in countless games. Earth was destroyed and ransacked by some mysterious, deadly race that somehow can be defeated by a single person. We only have one city left that’s conveniently left untouched and gorgeous despite the condition of the rest of the world.

    The game is a mix of Mass Effect and Halo. And it doesn’t pull it off well.

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