The Average Gamer

Destiny First Look Alpha – My Impressions

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Destiny is great fun. The First Look Alpha went live on the PS4 last week and I’ve spent hours tooling about in Old Russia, punching aliens in the face and jetpack-jumping away. It’s a beautiful world and being able to drop in and out of your friends’ teams is nice, though a little odd that it doesn’t ask their permission first. I guess you don’t get to choose your teammates in a war.


It’s a first person shooter but damn, that Titan class packs a lightning punch. I mean that quite literally (or as literal as a virtual world can be) as the Titan’s unique melee ability is the Storm Fist, which adds extra power to my melee attack. This allowed me to get up close and atomise weaker opponents with a single blow, or knock the shields off tougher enemies. Of course, I had to run the hell away afterwards because those big guys pack a massive punch (or blade) of their own.

The Titan’s other power is the Fist of Havoc, a devastating AoE melee attack that sends you leaping forward to send an electric shockwave through a group of enemies. Handy for clearing out groups while your friends take on the boss. This takes some time to charge so aim carefully to make the most of it. As you use each of your abilities, you’ll earn points towards an upgrade – higher lift for your jetpack, lingering damage for your grenades and other such improvements.

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Everyone primarily wields a gun but the other two classes available were the Hunter, who has a blade melee attack, and the Warlock, who hurls a ball of damaging light that lingers for a few seconds. At level 15 every class gets another power, though progression in the First Look Alpha is limited to level 8.


The world available to play during the First Look Alpha is reasonably small and simple. You materialise near an abandoned factory complex of Old Russia in which two different factions are battling it out. One the one side you have the Fallen, who tend to shoot a lot. On the other, you have the Hive, who tend to throw glowy balls at you and occasionally float in the air. They’ll both stop their skirmishes to fight you so really, just shoot at anything that moves.

Destiny First Look Alpha_20140616144122The assignments I saw divided into Strikes and standard missions. The missions are your usual video game fare:

  • Shoot all the things.
  • Stand here and defend against waves for x minutes.
  • Go there and shoot all the things.

That’s okay. That’s what we want to do anyway. Occasionally, the shooting of all the things is broken up by “Go here and scan the thing”. On your way there, you can shoot more things that move, or hop on your speeder and whizz past before they even know you’re there. It’s your choice.

The Strike team was a little more involved. On choosing it in the menu, I was paired with two other players and dropped into our own instance of the map with a series of goals. Go here. Defend This Spot. Shoot All The things. These generally end with a massive boss battle. Tough but not really any more complex than the rest of the game. Shoot the hotspots for extra damage. Pay attention when it turns its giant cannon to face you and be sure to dodge.


There is a ton of gear to find and unlock. You’ve armour for your arms, legs, torso and head as well as three main classes of weapon – Main, Support and Heavy. I’ve seen common white items and picked up the occasional green as well. Greens tend to provide a stat boost or other improvement – a few extra intelligence points or maybe a slightly faster reload for a certain type of weapon.

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You’ll generally need to unlock greens though, by visiting an NPC in The Tower. Rather than dropping as gear, they drop as “engrams”. Allegedly, “each engram decoded sheds light on lost history”. In practice, that translates to “Go back to The Tower before you get your new gear.” There’s no exciting history unlocked, just new stuff to wear or sell. Everything can be disassembled into cash, so you don’t need to worry about cluttering up your inventory.

Within the weapon styles (rifle, pulse rifle, sniper rifle, shotgun) you’ll also have weapons with various elemental properties. Presumably certain enemies will be susceptible to different elements.

The Tower

According to Destiny’s lore, Earth lies in ruins and only a single human city is left standing – The Tower. This forms the hub for your gear, storage and shopping needs. Where the Destiny Alpha differs from your usual MMO is that all the functions are within a minute’s walk from each other. There’s none of that tedious trudging around from the gear shops to the character bank storage to the garage. In fact, trudging is kept to a minimum because every character starts out with their own speeder, which you can summon out of thin air like your vehicles in Borderlands or Defiance.

Destiny First Look Alpha_20140613014940Each class has their own gear vendor. Around the tower, you’ll find loads of other vendors, many of whom charge their own extra currency. You have the basic Glimmer that’s spend on almost everything, but you’ll also need Crucible points earned from PvP, Vanguard points from who knows where, Motes of Light which could be anything and plenty more. I’d guess that a lot of these are probably dropped by enemies or harvested from certain parts of the world.

Over by a board you can get Bounties that earn you extra in the PvP Crucible area. You can take up to five bounties at once – simple challenges like “Win 3 matches in the Crucible” or more complex ones that I neglected to write down for the purpose of this article.

Any good?

Destiny makes it easy to run about and shoot things with your friends. You’ll always be busy and there’s always a gear upgrade to strive for. The enemy AI is smart enough to dodge grenades yet stupid enough to sneak around and punch from behind. This game will be ridiculously popular.