PS4(reviewed)/PS3/Xbox One/Xbox 360; £59.99
Day one with Destiny - there will be a full review coming at a later date
For those who aren’t aware Destiny is a ‘shared-world shooter’ set seven-hundred years in the future in a post-apocalyptic version of our solar system. It’s made by the creators of Halo and the publishers of Call of Duty and plays much like a blend between the two. It's inspired by the sprawling space operas of Alastair Reynolds and Peter Hamilton, and it shows.
The player takes the role of one of the mysterious Guardians as they fight against The Darkness - an encroaching ancient enemy. Players are imbued with the Light of The Traveler - a moon-like alien that came to Earth many centuries ago and initiated a sort of Golden Age, before The Darkness followed it there and crushed humanity.
You can take the role of either a warlock (mage), hunter (rogue), or titan (tank-class/warrior). Each has its own skill set and you unlock new weapons, items and skills as you defeat more enemies and complete missions, levelling up. The game is set in an always-connected universe, much like World of Warcraft, but with the game-play of Borderlands mixed with Halo. Players can form ‘Fireteams’ with friends, with up to three players, and fight through ‘Strikes’ - basically cooperative raids that culminate with a boss.
‘Eyes up, Guardian,’ says my Ghost, voiced by Peter Dinklage of Game of Thrones fame, a hovering transforming drone that guides you through the game. It’s a phrase that I find myself heeding to as I battle through the post-apocalyptic cosmodrome of ‘Old Russia’ in the opening hours. So far I’ve made it past that old wreck. I’ve moved on from the pink swirling skyboxes and the soaring greenery, that still manages to find root among the abandoned stations. I’ve defeated wave after wave of enemy, salvaged a ship, hooked up a warp drive and made it to The Tower (the final city on Earth), a social hub for the ‘shared-world’ aspects of the game.
It’s 3am at night and the soundtrack is pulsing through my headphones. Part-fantasy and part-science-fiction, the score seems to be inspired by the likes of Star Trek and Star Wars and even as far as Lord of the Rings. The Legend of Zelda and, of course, Halo beat through. It’s a soaring sound. A cinematic sound.
Level 7 and I have unlocked a plasma rifle imbued with solar fire. Facing wave after wave of The Hive inside the caverns of the moon I realise that my new gun has to charge before it can shoot the trio of flames that will sear the ancient foes before me. It takes precious seconds and my warlock is weak, her health down to a thin millimetre, the PS4 controller’s lightbar raging red into my living room. I’m on the edge of my seat in a way I haven’t been for a while. It’s not dissimilar to the fear you get playing Resident Evil, or back in the old days, Goldeneye. The horror when you realise you’re low on ammo, yet face-to-face with not just one foe: but a horde of them. It’s a good feeling. A welcome feeling.