I’ve never played Destiny. I know, that doesn’t sound like an earth-shattering statement just as “I’ve never played Ocarina of Time” or “I didn’t enjoy Portal 2” does, considering the game’s not out until midnight, but with a closed Alpha and public Beta test both taking place earlier this year, it’s actually quite hard to find anyone going into Destiny unknowing and unspoiled as I am.
Unlike I used to do with some games, I’ve not been actively avoiding things about Destiny – it’s hard when you’re the editor at a site like this – but I have missed out on a huge chunk of Activision’s marketing, in the form of those Alpha and Beta tests. During the Alpha, I was running around the Los Angeles Convention Center and playing practically every unreleased game aside from Destiny at E3, and then as the Beta landed, I had just moved home and had no internet access aside from my phone’s 3G.
I did try to avoid Twitter and any conversations around the subject of the Beta, not because I didn’t want to know about the game but because I needed to hide my seething jealousy of everyone with a broadband connection.
So, here we are, on the eve of Destiny’s release and I’m getting very excited about playing the game for the first time. Tef has been playing it already – so he can review it for us at some point in the near future – and so far all he seems to have done is complain about completing the prologue for the third time. I’m really glad to be missing out on that, and to instead be about to enter a world of wonder and unknowns.
It’s not like I can’t imagine how it plays: I’ve seen streams, gameplay videos, and also played enough first person shooters in my life to know that I’ll probably be using the triggers to fire, face buttons to jump and interact, and then the sticks to move my character and my gun respectively. It’s also from the Halo developers, and I’ve played that so I can imagine some similarities there too. But it’s the same story for almost all releases, aside from the more uniquely controlled experiences that you see once in a while.
When you – assuming you’ve played one of the aforementioned tests – think of Destiny, you more than likely recall some of your favourite moments from playing it before, but when I think of the game, I can only imagine what lies ahead for me in this world. It’s all about looking forward rather than comparing to previous experiences.
Right now, I’m deciding which class to be so I can get into the game and play as quickly as possible, without spending loads of time choosing a class. I’m going for the Hunter, and aiming for the Gunslinger subclass. I don’t know what that means in terms of Destiny, but I know that’s different to what my friends are playing as – so I can support them, naturally – and that it seems to be the same style as characters I’d usually play as.
Previewing games is always fun: it’s nice to see a product still in-development and get a feel for how the final release will play, but when you get to release, you’re essentially playing a far more polished version of an experience you’ve already had. It may not be the same for Destiny, with its co-operative multiplayer approach, but from experience, I know that reviewing a game is always more fun; you can dig your claws right in and nothing feels limited or unfinished, and you wish you’d have never ruined that section by playing it before.
You don’t usually go to the cinema having seen a sizeable chunk of the movie already, do you? It’s true that movie trailers these days do like to share a bit more of the plot – and the jokes – than they should, but it’s nothing like seeing the end of the first act or a part of the mid-section and then anticipating everything up until that point. I think that’s the problem with these tests; they’re not unique experiences, and are genuinely large chunks of the game which you were going to play anyway.
So, at midnight tonight, I’ll take my first steps towards Destiny, and I’m genuinely excited to see what lies ahead. Perhaps more excited that I could have ever been having played at one or two of the opportunities we’ve had to play it before, but that’s just how I work; many others need that first-hand confirmation that something is good, whereas I’d like to have seen full reviews before release rather than anecdotes from people who had played a pre-release section, and wouldn’t have at all minded about playing it myself.
Still, it’s clear that – aside from too much of a push towards Sony – Activision have taken the right route in their marketing, focusing on high-quality trailers alongside the use of these pre-release tests to get people interested in a brand new IP, a task which can often be much more expensive and time-consuming. Whether you’ve played it or not, it’s easy to see that Destiny is going to be big.