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Destiny E3 Demo Impressions

/ Jun 25th, 2013 3 Comments

Destiny Demo

Though it was teased for years and finally announced months ago, little had been known or seen about Destiny. That all changed when when Bungie took the stage at Sony’s E3 conference and gave the world its first taste of the ambitious open world shooter. While Bungie might be keeping close to their Halo roots, it’s safe to say that what’s been shown is not only extremely promising but enough to erase any suspicion that the studio is a one-trick pony.

Our Destiny session begins with the player character jumping from a dropship near a massive ruined wall in Old Russia. Those who witnessed the gameplay reveal at the Sony conference will recognize this familiar territory. In fact, the behind-closed-doors demo seen was virtually the same as the one shown off on Sony’s stage – but with a few additional small details.


The Fallen are the main enemies encountered during the demo

This time around, the Bungie member playing the game spent a few moments to show off the scenery of Old Russia. Instead of heading straight inside the dark complex with a buddy, he took some time to turn his character around and give the audience a glimpse of Destiny’s scope. Suffice it to say, Old Russia is enormous. Bodies of water, rocky plains with forestry and even enormous mountains. And all of it can be explored by the player. It provides just a taste of what can be expected from Destiny. If this one area is so big, imagine what it will be like to explore the other moons and planets in the universe that makes up Destiny. Ambitious doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Before the demo kicked into high gear with a flood of Fallen attacking the two person Bungie crew, we were able to see the Ghost light up the dark properly (it messed up a bit during the Sony demo). Peter Dinklage – of Games of Thrones fame – will voice the Ghost companion who will provide humorous quips, offer insight into Destiny’s universe and be used as a tool in gameplay. There isn’t much time to gape in awe at the detailed lighting system because it causes the Fallen to attack.

The two players proceed to take out all opposition using machine guns, pistols, melee attacks, grenades and even an energy blast akin to Mass Effect’s biotic powers. Combat moves at a quick pace and there’s even an ability to slide into cover. Shooting definitely has that familiar look for anyone who has not only played a Halo game but other modern shooters as well. Enemy AI doesn’t look too complex at the moment with most of the Fallen occasionally ducking around cover; but it might just be the behavior of the one enemy class shown.

A large boss-like Fallen is fought and defeated which allows us a peek into the loot and menu systems. In a sort of Borderlands fashion, a wide variety of guns can be found that not only look cool but are capable of doling out big damage. It looks like armor can be found as well. Weapons will have a skill tree where things like damage and reload speed can be adjusted. Some will get special bonuses, such as the demo weapon the Thunderlord, which can be upgraded to have explosive rounds.


The climatic battle at the end of the demo was thrilling to watch

As the demo nears its end, Destiny goes from a co-op experience to a massive online battle. A third player is met as an ominous Fallen ship teleports in from the distance. This triggers a public event where two new players appear riding in on hover bikes. The five rush into battle where a large spider-like tank has also been dropped in. From here it’s all organized chaos as the Bungie team fire away at smaller Fallen and a couple focus on destroying the armor plates on the tank to expose its weak point. A few new weapons and powers are shown off as well.

Destiny is a beautiful shooter that runs smooth – no surprise since Bungie is behind it. But with such a large focus on open world games and online experiences in the next generation, Destiny will also take advantage of these advances. If Bungie can continuously support the game for years to come then it will definitely allow the universe and community to grow in surprising ways. Besides, what’s more fun than casually playing with a friend only to suddenly stumble into a massive firefight with people from around the world?

Without a doubt, Destiny is gearing up to be one of the most impressive titles of 2014. Not only will it be released on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One but the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 as well. Ensuring that everyone will have a chance to be one of the last guardians of humanity.


Ben Sheene

Ben Sheene

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Ben is from Kentucky where he originally began playing games (an activity he still continues to this day). With a love for writing he graduated from Centre College with a BA in English. He recently moved to California to pursue whatever future endeavors were there. A passion for music, gaming, blogging, and existing keeps him up at night and crafts him into the person he is today.
Ben Sheene
Ben Sheene

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  • Bill Ellis

    I think this is the most interesting game coming out, and the preview makes it sound great. I wish we could get some footage of the closed-door preview!

    Boo on no PC version though.

    • Ben Sheene

      Honestly, I would be shocked if this didn’t come out on the PC, considering it is being put out on PS3 and 360 it would feel like a waste to not have it for PC gamers. I’m more excited to see what other worlds and planets look like with Bungie’s vision.

      • Bill Ellis

        Most definitely. And since the XBox is running Hyper-V on a Windows 8 kernel, porting it is nearly trivial (I assume knowing nothing about it).

        The other question I had was on cross-platform play, but I heard they’re not announcing anything on that front.

        I think it will all come down to how Microsoft is charging for server-space for their cloud with developers. If Microsoft is including Azure space with each XBox license, e.g. Microsoft EA agreements, then I bet we won’t see cross-platform play because I imagine that’s locked to their platform as a condition of the license. Nothing technically stopping it, just legal crap.

        If, on the other hand, Microsoft has simply made Azure the easy go-to cloud platform on the XBox Dev Kits by including the API (and it doesn’t sound like Sony has included a competing API since it has no financial reason to as they don’t have a cloud), and developers still have to pay a per-use license for Azure (which is what it’s like for every other company that uses Microsoft’s cloud, gaming or not) then Bungie can still go and make those API calls in the Playstation & PC to enable cross-platform play. This of course would mean ironically that every copy of Destiny (or any other cross-platform game using Azure) would actually be putting money in Microsoft’s pockets, even if it’s on the PS4.

        Since Sony doesn’t have a big cloud push, I’m curious what servers they’re using for Destiny on the PS4. I’d bet it’s also Azure, since for Bungie that’d mean a lot of code is portable between all 4 platforms.

        But of course this is all WILD conjecture on my part.

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