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Destiny: Alpha Impressions
Company: Activision

Long before we even knew what it was, Bungieís Destiny was burdened with expectations. It didnít matter what it was, either. The developers behind this new Activision IP are the individuals behind Halo, the game that did more to legitimize first-person shooting on home consoles than even GoldenEye 007. But once details started to come into focus and everyone began to get a sense of what Bungie was going for, intrigue quickly gave way to excitement. A hybrid containing DNA from genres as well-tread as shooters, role-playing games, and massively multiplayer online games? Sign us up! Well, weíve spent some time with Destiny recently, and come away with some impressions that serve as a tiny taste of things to come.

Think Borderlands, only less juvenile and set in our Solar System. That gives you the tiniest tip of the iceberg. You are a Guardian, one of countless individuals charged with the protection of The City. Which city, you ask? Well, since there really arenít any left that belong to humanity, this is the most appropriate name for it. The City has you and your fellow Guardians to defend it, but what makes this force so adept at its job is in its diversity. In the closed Alpha, there were three specific species to choose from: standard Humans, the mechanical Exo, and the ethereal Awoken. This isnít Skyrim, however; your biological makeup does not govern your skills. Instead, your class does; the closed Alpha gave three options: Hunter, Warlock, and Titan. If youíve a background in massively multiplayer games, you may be able to guess what each of these is adept at.

The Destiny alpha provided us with just enough information regarding its gameplay and how it flows. You can travel down to a decimated Russian snowscape either on your lonesome or as part of a Fireteam. With the help of your Ghost (a floating robotic assistant voiced by none other than Peter Dinklage), you complete objectives, explore, and fight for your life, not to mention the precious experience that helps you level up and earn new skills. Questing seems to be structured in some ways and procedural in others. For example, a very clear cut mission has you scouring the innards of a derelict ship, while one retrieved from one of several beacons across the field gives you a kill quest.

Whenever youíre done with your expedition, itís a good idea to head back to the Tower, a hub city where you can offload vendor trash, purchase anything that might help you on later missions, and train your class abilities. Itís very similar to cities in most modern MMORPGs; dance parties tend to break out in unconventional (and incredibly unsafe) areas, while other adventurers appear to be all business.

Destiny is shaping up to be quite the experience, and with the beta just beyond the horizon, itís exciting to see what Bungie will have to show us next. Of course, weíll be here with new information as it becomes available, so stay tuned!

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos
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