I’m not going to lie: when I saw more of Destiny at Sony’s E3 press conference this year, I got bored. It looked like another online shooter that was just as generic and uninspired as Titanfall and Defiance.
It might be a great time to mention that I’m not the biggest fan of MMOs, eh?
It might also be an even better time to mention I was wrong about Destiny.
Tuning out the awful gamer dialogue that accompanied the hands-off demo we were shown at Activision’s E3 booth, I instead focused on the game’s look and sound design. It shouldn’t really be a surprise — considering its Bungie we’re talking about here — that this game is straight up Halo.
Yeah, yeah — I know. It’s a different universe, a different story, and most importantly, it’s an open world multilayer experience. It’s just that I don’t care about any of that.
To me, the game looks like Halo, full of vibrant colors and exotic landscapes. Thankfully, the power of next-gen consoles means that Destiny’s visuals are far beyond what Bungie threw at us with Halo, but that being said, it’s as if the studio has always had this level of detail within them but couldn’t fully let it loose until now.
The game is full of unique and crazy weaponry, with lightning rifles replacing plasma pistols. Floating AI-types who wisecrack and help you on your way replace… well, floating AI-types who wisecrack and help you on your way. As far as enemies go, the caped aliens we saw in the hands-off demo look like distant cousins of Halo‘s Elites. I’m not complaining about any of this.
Marty O’Donnell is at the helm of the game’s soundtrack, and as a result, it is full of the same swelling strains that made Halo‘s score so iconic. Thematically, they’re also quite similar, so if you close your eyes, you might be hard pressed to identify just which game the music you hear is coming from.
Most importantly, the shooting mechanics of Destiny seem to be near-identical to that of the Halo franchise, which mean you’re going to delight in going for quick headshots without necessarily using a down-the-sights mechanic (but yes, you can choose to use that functionality too…).
Of course there are MMO mechanics to the game, like epic loot drops and skill trees for each of the weapons you collect. Been there, done that. Enough said.
Another big part of MMOs are public events, and of course Destiny has those too. The difference I see with these events compared to other games in the genre is that they’re similarly Halo-ised. We watched as tons of Destiny‘s Guardians rallied against a large mech in real-time, and to me, it looked like the epic Spartan-Covenant battles we only got to see in Halo cutscenes. If I’m going to rally with other human players when I’d rather be offline or going through the game’s storyline unfettered, it’d be in a Bungie MMO.
Odds are, I’ll mainly be sticking to my lone wolf mentality when Destiny launches, but it appears like this MMO really will have something for everyone. It probably doesn’t hurt to be a huge fan of Bungie’s earlier work to boot, though…
Destiny will be available in 2014.