Pretty title shoots for the top

by Shane Dillon

ONE thing that remains constant in gaming is the interest in first-person shooters (FPS), with there being no let-up in the hunger for, and interest in, games that let you run, jump or fly around shooting at other players, be they human or AI.
It’s fair to say that, in 20-something years since first running around in the classic early FPS title, Doom, I’ve more than earned my stripes as a veteran of the genre, making it difficult to be particularly excited with new additions.
This dulling of interest is the usual fate of a long-term gamer …
But, regardless of fate, what about Destiny? By this, I refer to the new cross-platform game getting a major international release next week, on Tuesday, September 9, with Destiny promising to offer even jaded gamers something new.
Destiny is set in a future ruined Earth, way off in the far future, yet in a world that’s still visibly human, and with many elements that feel familiar.
In fact, Destiny takes place across several parts of our solar system, affording gamers the chance to, say, take part in missions on the moon, Mars, and a number of other key hubs, with each area presented as a largish, open world area, where passage through may trigger all manner of mayhem.
Yes, ultimately, gamers are still essentially running around from A to B, shooting bad guys and taking on in-game challenges, but credit is due to its developer, Bungie, for bringing something fresh to the FPS table.
Echoing standard MMOs – massive, online games, such as World of Warcraft – the more the gamer plays, and the more they do, the greater their rewards as they begin to level up, branch out into other skills, and unlock extra perks, buffs, weapons and so on to create a character that suits their individual playing style, and skillsets.
This isn’t particularly revolutionary, but the recent pre-launch beta testing of the game – which I had a blast playing – showed that all the systems came together to create a well-rounded, fun and somewhat different-feeling FPS title, whether playing with a single player or multiplayer focus.
Having Peter Dinklage – yes, “the imp” of Game of Thrones fame – on hand to provide a laconic commentary as an in-game AI also helped.
With other gamers also running around in your game, as similarly ranked players are dropped in by the servers to add to the world’s life and energy, a fresh sense of curiosity comes to the fore, with you free to tag along and try and share in their mission, or help with their boss challenge – and vice versa.
Adding the icing to the cake are the beautifully rendered environments and settings, glorious lighting, atmospheric background details, and even the very pretty loading/in transit screens as you, and or friends/strangers, head off to another world or base for your next mission.
Destiny won’t appeal to everyone, but it’s certainly one of the last main highlights of the cross-platform gaming scene, before developers really throw themselves into developing for the newest consoles only.
Its quirky twists on the FPS genre also certainly help it to hit the mark.
With the level of polish on show here, the quirky and fresh new gameplay elements, and the unexpected twists that lie around corners, it’s hard not to bend to Destiny’s power, and to make it a must-buy for fans of the FPS genre …

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