Destiny: First PS4 Hands-on Details

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Destiny: First PS4 Hands-on Details
Destiny: First PS4 Hands-on Details

Having spend several hours with a pre-release version of Destiny on PS4, my sense is that Bungie’s vision is no less than a complete rethink of how multiplayer shooters work. Destiny is a deconstruction and reconstruction of a genre that has languished in sterile matchmaking lobbies for far too long.

If you don’t have a particular agenda, Patrol is a good place to start. The Patrol structure is deliberately relaxed and freewheeling, with locations covering a large swath of exterior and interior spaces. You can hunt for beacons to trigger side missions, or just blast enemies, collect loot, and explore at your own pace. Patrol missions seem to vary considerably, tasking you with everything from collecting uranium to interrupting mining operations and assassinating enemy leaders.

Destiny for PS4

From time to time you’ll cross paths with other Patrol players, sometimes in the form of dynamic “social events” that pit you against a bigger challenge. It’s always optional: Tag along with the new guy, or hop on your hovercraft and make for the horizon? As in thatgamecompany’s Journey, it’s your choice. Patrol’s fluid, effortless matchmaking makes the overall Destiny experience feel distinctly social, with other players drifting in and out of your game.

Strikes are far more directed affairs. These cooperative missions have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Many conclude with a climactic boss battle and showers of multicolored loot. Strikes are designed to be highly replayable and present a prime source of quality gear, so expect them to be popular come September.

Destiny for PS4

Destiny for PS4Destiny for PS4

I played one Strike set early in the game called “The Devil’s Lair.” As my partners and I picked our way through the carcass of a sprawling facility in Old Russia, I swapped between my primary weapon (an accurate pulse rifle) and my special weapon (a head-melting fusion rifle) depending on the situation and surroundings. When the going got tough, I deployed my heavy weapon — a rocket launcher — to lay waste.

Strikes represent a microcosm of Destiny’s co-op gameplay design mentality, with each of the three Guardian classes filling a signature role in the fight. Hunters are nimble heavy hitters that inflict big damage at medium to long range, while Titans veer more towards the tank role. Warlocks serve as heavy artillery, obliterating enemy mobs in violent explosions of Void energy.

Each class boasts a specialized grenade type and a distinctive Super ability (with variations for both) that’s triggered by pressing L1 and R1 simultaneously. Otherwise, the classes differ from each other in minor ways. Any class can use any weapon equally well as any other class, for example.

Destiny for PS4

Speaking of which, Bungie’s mastery of weapon design is on full display here. As you open caches and slay baddies, you’ll collect armfuls of new weaponry that offer unique benefits and drawbacks. One auto rifle might fire blisteringly fast but suffer from limited range and a tiny magazine; another might fire slowly but far more accurately. There are an array of shotguns and sniper rifles, too — we’ll provide more details in another post later this week.

Though the arsenal is diverse and dynamic, Destiny’s guns aren’t procedurally generated; each is hand-tuned by a Bungie weapon designer and has a role in the overall armory. You’ll be able to further customize your weapon by adding mods or leveling it up with consistent use.

After playing several hours of Destiny, it’s hard not to be excited. The game is a visual knockout, and so far the gameplay fundamentals feel rock solid and, critically, fun. And yet, Destiny’s greatest charms may lie in its potentially gamechanging approach to online matchmaking.

There’s still much to learn about Destiny. The competitive mode is set to make its debut at this year’s E3 2014, with a beta release set for sometime in the indeterminate future. Whatever happens, September 9th suddenly feels painfully far away.

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9 Author Replies

  • Great write up Sid! I’m looking forward to playing this on PS4 later this year. I suspect we’ll hear about the Beta announcement at Sony’s press conference in June.

  • Nice read, can’t wait to play it myself! Actually falls on the day after my anniversary, so thanks for that Bungie lol

    Hope to hear something about how to get into the beta if we wanna play digitally, on PS4, in the future ;)

  • Proof hype sells video games. Game is boring. Yes, Ive played it. Along with many others.

  • I’ts possible to get into the beta by pre-ordering in other venues. Are we going to see something similar on the PSN?

  • Please bring it to Vita :)

  • The reason to get a PS4 right here, excellent hands on.

  • Sid, thanks a for the update. I was hoping you were able to play it when you mentioned being at Bungie on the blogcast two weeks ago. I really want you to talk about it more on this Fridays show!!!

  • Preordered and ready for the beta! Any more insights on PS4 performance? 1080/60?

  • Gunz Blazing!

  • This game gets two blog posts yet Sony has yet to make even a mention of their deplorable actions towards Vita owners over the past few days? Come on.

    Twice the commenting at least.

  • Can’t wait until September

  • Appreciate the hands-on article, Sid. Really looking forward to this game. It seems to have that Borderlands-ish feel but on a much, much larger scale. Can’t wait for September to finally roll around.

    • Glad you liked it! And yep, it definitely has shades of Borderlands but the feel and universe are very different.

  • Looking forward to it! Thx for hands on, Sid ;)

  • I’m looking forward to the beta! My heart goes out to future sore thumbs everywhere…

  • Oh man I’d love to get into the Beta by preordering on PSN. I just prefer Digital games over physical ones – hopefully you guys makes it possible to get into the Beta for us, users who preorder on PSN!

  • Sid was one of the very first people from Sony to play Destiny. That was a long time ago, and with a very special guest. Now that he’s had his hands on a PS4 controller once or twice, he knows his stuff.

    See you at E3, Sid.

  • How many phases of beta will we have? Will there be any account resets during the beta period?

  • will Destiny have split screen? The game looks great, thinking about getting when it come out.

  • This is an updated Halo with new outfits and tricks. Bungie can’t changed their spots…

  • will Destiny run at 30FPS or 60FPS???

  • Cant wait … me and my crew are so ready!

  • Man I envy you for getting your hands on it first. :( Send a special ticket my way please. I’d like to be next!

  • Oh hey I just got an idea. Seeing you played on PS4, maybe you could work a little magic and er….. live stream it. ;)

  • Out of all the games coming out this year. This is the game I want most.

  • This comes out on my girlfriend’s birthday… damn.

  • Loved watching the new trailer today…can’t wait to grab some buds and start digging into this GOTY winner.

  • Can I play with my buddies if they get the PS3 version and I play on the my PS4? Cross-gen style?

  • Looking forward to playin this with my friends

  • Im not sure about this game yet. I never really cared for Halo, but i do love me some open-world co-op. As long as Activision doesn’t turn half the game into overpriced DLC like $2 for a weapon skin or $15 for each planet.

  • If Bungie changes their mind and offers third person as an option… they can count me as interested. If not, well… it’s just another first person shooter to forget ever existed.

  • Yeah it looks decent,might be a fun co-op…to be honest it looks like the type of game to wait and get on Plus IGC.

  • I’m (still) quite hyped for the game, but that gameplay trailer didn’t do much for me. The level design was boring and the action was standard shootout fare. I expect to see terrain deformation, crumbling structures and more verticality. Also, the AI was quite dumb.

  • for the love of God please tell me this has split-screen co-op. That would CEMENT my purchase. Playing this with two friends on the couch?! EPIC WIN!

  • On the PS4, will this game require PS+ for online, since this game is ‘always online’?

  • Thanks for this hands on Sid! Really looking forward to getting my hands on this game. Especially being a big Halo fan since it’s inception.

  • for the love of God please tell me this has split-screen co-op. That would CEMENT my purchase. Playing this with a friends will be a EPIC WIN!

  • Thanks for actually answering #34’s question about Plus. Bungie wouldn’t even bother answering in their post the same day as yours.

    As for the game….. if there’s no 3rd person like every other MMO I’ve ever known you can count me out as well. Seriously…. it’s not hard to shoot in 3rd person…. rofl

  • for the love of God please tell me this has split-screen co-op !!!!!!!

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