It's hard to get much done in Destiny as a lowly level eight, but that's what friends are for. Bungie's soon-to-be-released next shooter is, after all, all about interacting in a shared world.
I spent somewhere under 10 hours playing through Destiny's alpha build, exploring Russia, playing a few steps through the main storyline, listening to Peter Dinklage as not-Tyrion, dancing and generally just shooting things. I spent a lot of that time with Kirk.
I spent some of that time alone, running through side quests that felt vaguely distinguished based solely on the fact that it had me running from destination point to destination point, pulling up Destiny's cleverly-mapped HUD to see where I was going. I tackled some raid bosses. And then I met some real ones.
The first time I encountered the spider-tank-like Devil Walker, I was with Kirk. Ships flew overhead and dropped wave after wave of enemies, including this hulking, yellow, metal...thing. We were on our way to a mission but Kirk was immediately distracted. He trotted his way over and began dutifully shooting at this thing. This thing right here:
With a skull attached to its name and barely any damage done by our rifles, I knew this one would take a lot more time and energy to take down. At the time that Kirk and I confronted it, we had yet to hit the max level allowed by the alpha build — which is level 8 — and so we saved it for later.
But even when I found two willing players later, after hitting max level, it took a lot of coordination to keep each other alive and shooting. I spent most of my battle hiding and intermittently popping out of cover to shoot at its weak points. It was too easy to die out in the open. When I needed to, I'd run around to gun down grunts for ammunition. Occasionally I'd have to break my routine to revive a downed ally.
We hit from all angles and patiently whittled the spider-tank's health down until it and the flying bots it was spitting out had all exploded. Though I'm sure there's a more action-oriented approach, as you can see by some of my allies' in-your-face tendencies, I'm a far more reserved player when it comes to bosses. I also died a lot less than my companions because of that. Whichever way you play it, it's a long and gruelling battle.
The same can be said for the Destiny alpha's second boss, Sepiks Prime.
Watch that fight, with the same team, here:
It's got a similar feel to the Devil Walker in that it has weak points that you have to shoot while periodically taking cover. The Fallen spawn as you do so, giving you both a challenging distraction as well as some fodder for ammunition.
At a certain stage, enemies start to get really tough in Destiny. They have shields and seemingly impenetrable health bars. They hide behind cover. They have lots of friends.
A round I unfortunately didn't capture, for instance, had myself and two teammates protecting Ghost (aka not-Tyrion) while he attempted to get a generator running so that we could move on to the next level. If it sounds familiar it's because this is how almost every wave-level starts. And soon enough waves of warlock Fallen and flying bots and Fallen with ninja-like moves rained down on us. There were snipers and footmen, and it took a lot to keep everyone alive. If you died near the end of the third and final round, you'd get bumped right back to the first wave. I played this area a few times, all of which were tough and saw me and my crew die multiple times over. Team coordination is key here.
Strategy felt far more important in this match than it did in the two bosses we fought. We knew we had to take snipers out first, and we knew to save our special attacks we were reserving for the warlocks until the end of each wave. Shotguns were best against the flying bots, so that we could save our rifle ammunition for the heavier Fallen enemies.
By comparison, boss fights were boring. There wasn't as much tension. So long as you found a good place to hide, you could take the enemy out with nothing more than a lot of bullets and some patience. Timing would, of course, be important, but it was almost instinctive after we got the hang of each boss's pattern.
And then, of course, there's the multiplayer, player-versus-player aspect to Destiny. Once you've flown over to The Crucible, the PvP area in Destiny, you can only access one multiplayer mode for the alpha. It's a capture-based mode and fairly straightforward. I spent a lot of time on a moon-based map, which was fine with me because it was the one outfitted with vehicles. There's a tank and a speedier pike vehicle. Of course, you can always equip your own space-bike at any point by pulling Ghost up mid-match, but that one doesn't come with any weapons.
It felt like what any first-person capture round would feel like, except you have jetpack thrusters that let you glide in an upward projectile and special, class-based abilities for those "oh shit" moments. You can plot out throws and hits like you would a grenade.
Watch my team completely demolish the opposing team in this round:
That's what happens when your teammates stick together, hopefully in a fleet like this one:
Did you guys play the alpha? What did you think?