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E3 2014: Destiny Hands-On Impressions

Ever since Destiny was announced, many people have been hoping that it will take down Call of Duty from its FPS throne. At E3 2014, I managed to get my hands on Destiny, and it looks like it’s shaping up to be a pretty solid game that’s going to add itself to the ever-growing list of excellent FPS franchises.

The mode I played was specifically Destiny’s competitive multiplayer. It was a traditional 6 on 6 domination match, in which your team is supposed to capture 3 points on the map and try to defend them from the enemy. There were 3 different character classes: hunter, titan, and warlock. Each is outfitted with a unique ability that can affect the game in different ways. I played as the titan, and his special ability was a ground pound that obliterated all things within a short radius. It was an extremely powerful move that took out enemies in one shot, but you had to be up close and personal for it to be effective.

The cooldowns for these unique character abilities are decreased as you perform better in the match. For example, as you capture points, your cooldowns decreases significantly, incentivizing players to try to play for the objective rather than only focusing on the kill/death ratio.

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In terms of weapon selection available for the demo, you had your typical arsenal of assault rifles, shotguns, and sniper rifles. One weapon that I particularly enjoyed was a charge up pulse rifle that required a few seconds of charging up to fire, but if you managed to accurately hit someone, it was always a one hit kill. I could only get a few kills with that weapon, but every time I did, it was damn satisfying.

The first match was played on a relatively small map, with the three points all in close proximity. The second map, however, was on a foreign planet’s surface, with craters and asteroids placed throughout the level. There were also vehicles in this map, like a tank and a hovercraft. One of the vehicles was called the Pike, and it bore a striking resemblance to Halo’s Ghost vehicle. The lasers you were firing from the Pike killed opponents extremely quickly, and having control of the vehicles throughout the duration of the match was a key component into having a dominant round.

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There were also some details divulged about Destiny that weren’t all about the competitive multiplayer. In the single player, there’s a hub world where you always come back to after every mission, and this is where you can purchase different items and upgrade your character. From here, you can choose to fly to whatever planet you like and engage in the missions available there. Your single player character can also be used in both the cooperative and competitive multiplayer. It’s unclear how Destiny’s loot system will factor into the cross pollination between single player and multiplayer, and I’m curious to see how Bungie handles that particular aspect of the game.

Overall, Destiny looks be to shaping up quite nicely. The shooting felt satisfying, and the verticality of the movement was refreshing, as you can utilize a jetpack to get to higher ground. Also, I believe that this is the first Bungie game that lets you aim down the sights as well. Game changer. Destiny releases on September 9, 2014 for the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.