I’ve now been to the moon, and killed a wizard there. I’ve explored the surface of Earth’s rocky neighbour and seen several man-made structures. I discovered a fallen solider, caught a glimpse of a mysterious figure, and unwittingly opened a massive door to a horde of hostile aliens. During a return trip, I found what I expected was a fairly basic cave, only to discover an otherworldly underground labyrinth of various passages and chambers that descended far below the surface.
Perhaps most importantly, my extensive travels were completely seamless. Destiny does level streaming better than most any other first-person game that I can think of. Although perhaps an unfair comparison, even Skyrim featured loading screens when transitioning between the “overworld” and interior areas. You’ll see none of that in Destiny. Unless you trick the game by leaving a new area right after entering it, your journey will be interrupted only by traveling back into orbit to select a different planet.
But for a game largely focused on exploration, the amount of invisible walls and instant inexplicable death zones in the beta was genuinely disappointing. The ultimate slap in the face came when I was standing at the very top of a landlocked ship in the middle of the Forgotten Shore area. Despite the fact that I was surrounded by land, and normally able to jump at least three times my height using my Warlock’s jetpack, my attempting to jump straight up was greeted by an invisible ceiling not more than two feet in the air. Trying to reach seemingly accessible rooftops was also often an impossible task. It’s an awful design limitation for a game to give you such wings, and then so frequently clip them.
There are definite highs and lows to Destiny‘s design, but I’m still very much looking forward to the final product. The gameplay itself is easily the best of any loot-focused FPS title that I’ve played yet. Bungie’s really onto something with Destiny, and I’m glad they decided to try something new again.