Destiny PS4 hands-on - why Bungie's FPS could be the best multiplayer shooter of this console era

The story missions I’ve played so far drag you into the world effortlessly. Teaming up cooperatively with a fireteam to take out increasingly ferocious enemies, which rise in toughness (level) as you progress, encourages teamwork. Unlike games like Call of Duty and Battlefield, teammates didn’t just run past me when I died; they actively sought me out to revive me so I could help them win the battle. The increasing level of challenge encourages teamwork and forces you to look at your gear and where you can improve. It’s a rewarding system and there’s an immense feeling of satisfaction when completing the Alpha missions, unlocking new gear, and then heading back to The Tower to re-assess your set-up.

It was also exciting to have the first glimpse at one of the dynamic events that will crop up from time to time throughout Destiny’s universe. The game world came totally alive with other players in different fireteams converging in one area to take down a colossal spider mech complete with heavy armour. The ten minutes or so of ferocious fighting, with people helping out to revive each other, was intense and exciting, and the gear gained from this type of event should make these battles even more rewarding.

A dynamic event kicks-in

Though the class-based system is a tried-and-tested staple of team-focused multiplayer games, the space theme of Destiny has afforded Bungie the opportunity to be creative with character design, powers and weaponry. From fusion and pulse rifles to exotic machine guns and sniper rifles, players can dabble with multiple weapons and powers, ensuring that there’s plenty of opportunity to experiment and vary tactics. Class-specific moves, such as pulling out a solar-powered mega-pistol and a ground-punch that causes splash damage, adds to the variety. And with teammates all utilising different specs, the visual impact of battles is something to be savoured, with the Alpha phase already showing that PS4 hardware can easily cope with busy battles and lots of on-screen action.

Gameplay feels very Halo-like with movement and weapon handling as slick as Bungie’s opus FPS, while clever button-mapping ensures it feels intuitive. However, with a sandbox to explore, numerous side missions to pick up along the way, and the addition of the MMO-esque hub of The Tower, Destiny is also layered with the kind of depth and long-lasting appeal that we’ve not experienced before in this genre. This is a game where rewards for efforts, namely gear and Glimmer, ensures that the success of each battle tastes that extra bit sweeter.

In The Crucible (PvP mode), meanwhile, competition trumps cooperation. Though the one game mode available in the Alpha, Control, was simply a zone-control game that FPS veterans will know well, it was immediately apparent how important equipping your character with the right gear will be, and further proof that The Tower will play an important role in both co-op and competitive skirmishes. The two maps are superbly designed and show that Bungie hasn’t lost its touch when it comes to creating levels that allow for different strategies. The large moon-based map (First Light), for instance, comes complete with static weapons and vehicles with an arena ideal for snipers and ranged weapons. Rusted Lands is much tighter, with frenetic close-quarter battles and action never more than a few seconds away.

Technically, the performance of the Alpha was way better than expected. No lag, no drop-outs and no glitches; just super-smooth, good-looking, intense multiplayer gaming at its very best. While Xbox owners can revel in the fact that they’ve already experienced the joys of Bungie’s expert touches in the multiplayer arena, Destiny looks set to take things to a whole new level. Make no mistake about it: Bungie knows exactly how to make an engrossing multiplayer game that keeps FPS fans coming back for more, and Destiny could well be the game that wows this generation of multiplayer shooter fans and sets an incredibly high benchmark for the future of the genre.

Can you tell that we’re excited?

A gamer since the days of the ZX Spectrum, Steven Williamson now works as General Manager for PSU. He's supposed to be managing, but if you're reading this, it means he's dipped into editorial again. Follow @steven_gamer
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  • Related game: Destiny

    Release date (US):
    September 9th, 2014
    Shooter - First Person
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