Siobhan Keogh is the NZ Herald's gaming blogger.

Preview: Destiny's beta is live - and it's amazing

The creators of Halo are back with a new first-person shooter that was unveiled over the weekend. Siobhan Keogh makes her assessment.


It's good to have Bungie back.

The game developer's last IP, Halo, changed the mechanics of shooters forever and helped sell Xboxes all over the world. But Bungie handed over the reins of that series after the 2010 release of Halo: Reach, and has been working on a new sci-fi shooter, Destiny.

Bungie finally showed Destiny to the world on Friday, when it went live with an in-depth beta. There are hours of gameplay in it, and I get the impression there's a lot more to see in the final game.

Destiny is a first-person shooter that blends in the good bits of MMOs like Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, and adds just a dash of the multiplayer system from Journey.

The beta features four story missions, which haven't told me much about the game's story. You are a Guardian. Your robot companion, a "ghost", has somehow reassembled you after you've been dead for a long time. Aliens have infiltrated Earth, and humans have just one stronghold left.

As a Guardian, you work to protect humans from these extra-terrestrials.

There are three character classes - Hunter, Titan and Warlock - that make up the Guardians, each with different skill trees and sub-classes. The Hunter is more focused on stealth, the Titan on defence and melee, and Warlocks are, in Bungie's own words, "space wizards" who use sci-fi magic to go on the offensive.

When you're not doing story missions you can go into explore mode and wander around doing side missions, just like in an MMO. These side missions are repeatable, and there are enough of them for it to be a good way of levelling without feeling like you're grinding.

Like in MMOs, other players are usually around. Unlike MMOs, you don't see every player in the same area, but selected people pop in and out seamlessly. It's not like they suddenly appear next to you, but players "spawn" in the distance and make their way towards you. You can also play in teams of two or three.

There are also events, which are much like they are in Final Fantasy XIV and Guild Wars 2. A special event will appear, like a boss monster that requires more than one player to kill it, and people will swarm towards it to take part.

There's also a more traditional, PvP multiplayer system. The only game mode I was able to play was called "control", known in other games as "territories". It was a straightforward capture-and-hold FPS game mode, but it was a slick and enjoyable experience.

Come to think of it, "slick and enjoyable" pretty much sums up what I played of Destiny, despite a few minor bugs. If this game isn't on your radar already, it should be: so far it looks great, plays great, and sounds great.

But it's no wonder Bungie has been so quiet on the details until now - you really have to play it to get a feel for what makes it unique.

When: September 9
Platforms: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
For fans of: Halo, Doom, Titanfall

- TimeOut

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