DESTINY AWAITS
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Welcome to Earth - it's not what you expect. Set hundreds of years into the future, the mysteries surrounding what has become of our beloved homeworld are the central hook of Bungie's upcoming epic, Destiny.

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Several centuries from now, our golden age has ended. After the appearance of a colossal sphere known as The Traveler in our skies, humanity enjoyed a period of interplanetary expansion, prosperous exploration and contact with other species. Then came The Darkness, an unexplainable force that destroyed all we created, leading to the loss of colonies throughout the Solar System. You are hand-picked and resurrected by the Traveler to rise up and journey through the galaxy to protect humanity. From the last safe city on Earth, you will become a superpowered Guardian trying to uncover what happened as you face our enemies head on.

However, beyond this enticing premise, Bungie has been tight-lipped on what Destiny actually is. A pure shooter, in the vein of previous hit Halo? An open-world adventure? A multi-player RPG? Is it played first-or third-person? The answer is, all of the above. With the developers finally allowing people to play at this year's E3 games trade show and in a private alpha build shortly after, Empire dived into the game's cinematic world to explore Earth's fate.

The first thing you'll do in Destiny is create your character. Three races are playable — humans, the robotic Exo, and the almost ethereal Awoken, each with their own unique traits, and all with customisable appearances. Skills are governed by class: Hunter (fast but weak explorers), Titan (big guns, big armour) or Warlock (techno-wizardry).

 


A hunter lines up his prey.

Get around more quickly on your Sparrow.

Mysterious sphere The Traveler

 

Down on the surface, your first mission is to make your way through The Wall, a titanic structure encircling Russia. It's clearly a fortification of some sort, meant to keep out... something. It failed. The pock-marked exterior hides decrepit innards, a nightmare of twisted walkways and tight crawlspaces infested with skittering aliens. Your AI drone companion, voiced by Game Of Thrones' Peter Dinklage, delivers objectives in your ear, guiding you towards a coveted item and a fierce shootout to earn it. The first-person action is frantic, with a mix of melee attacks, gunplay and Guardian abilities combining for an incredible experience.

 

Outside of story and mission instances, Destiny plays more like an open world sandbox. Wandering around the rust-red ruins of the wasteland outside The Wall, you'll encounter other players and be able to create Fireteams — squads to venture into the world with. Anyone you meet is smartly matched to your own level, so challenges remain appropriate to your abilities. This is one of Destiny's biggest achievements: everyone you see in the game will be another player, someone to either ally with, battle with in The Crucible (the player-versus-player) area, or ignore completely.

 

Away from combat, you'll spend time in The Tower, where the game switches to third-person and allows you to show off all the character customisation work you've put in. This is where you'll shop, upgrade equipment and generally chill out, but its strange, unearthly architecture and weird colours hint further at the vastly changed world you're going to be investigating. Despite the complex lore built up in Bungie's Halo games, Destiny's story is still shrouded in secrecy, though the hints found in the alpha are scintillating. Although the feel, scope and ambition of the game are already near-palpable, this is merely a trailer — the full game will be the blockbuster.

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