Destiny: The Halo pro player verdict
Bungie’s back, but can its next title capture the hearts and minds of pro gamers?
The launch of Destiny, Bungie’s epic new shooter and the first non-Halo game from the studio for more than a decade is almost upon us. The game hits shelves on September 9, so fans tired of calling down orbital drops in Titanfall will have a new franchise to sate their thumbs with before Call of Duty returns in November.
Halo, of course, needs no introduction: it’s been four years since Bungie was involved with the series but the game is still one of the most exciting competitive eSports to watch today. So will Destiny follow in its footsteps and become an established title on the pro gaming scene? There’s one man who’d know: former Halo 3 MLG champ and eSports athlete Michael ‘Flamesword’ Chaves, who’s been playing the game for several months already ahead of its public release. Read on for his thoughts on Destiny’s potential as the next big eSport.
Destiny is a game that grows on you
Chaves first got to grips with the new Bungie game a few months ago, but he wasn’t immediately taken with it. “My journey with Destiny first began at E3 this year where I was able to hop on the sticks and get a few games in,” he says. “At first, I won't lie, I was skeptical because Bungie didn't steal my heart on the spot like they did for Halo 2.”
Still, he made sure to return to test the game during its public beta test weekend – on both Sony and Microsoft platforms – “But oh, was I mistaken after getting my hands on the beta! I got to experience the beta on both PS4 and Xbox One. For the PS4 I logged in 16-20 hours and on the Xbox One another 12 hours so I had a good amount of play time.”
And? “The game is great.”
So what changed?
When Chaves tried the PvP (player vs player) element of the game for the first time, the penny dropped and he saw the game’s potential for top-level play. “I think what turned me into the super big fan I am now was playing the short open world we were exposed to during the beta – that single handedly allowed me to get used to the player movements so I could test my skills in the Crucible. Once I entered the Crucible, I knew I was in the right place for the inner competitor that I am.”
“I was skeptical at first, but the game has so much. I literally had the time of my life playing the one Venus map over and over and farming the open world.” Chaves says he eventually found that same sense of wonder that Bungie games once provided on the original Xbox. The game always had something for me to do, it gave me that same feeling when Bungie released Halo 2 when I was back in high school.”
It’s all in the maps
Flamesword says that’s down to the level design, something Bungie is well known for. “I am a professional first person shooter player so I was mostly testing my skill in the Crucible. Both Dead Space and the special Iron Banner Event showcased some incredible maps and reminded me quickly why I loved Halo 2 so much: MAPS. Bungie, I'm not sure how you all do it over and over, from title to title, but your team hands down has the best map team I have ever seen.”
Keeping it old school
It’s not just the maps that are reminiscent of the early days of Halo, Chaves says. “One other element that’s similar to Halo is your player having a bar of health, which would be considered a shield in Halo. What this does is turn the game more into a speed chess shooter, because the health regenerates making it at times harder to kill your opponent because they can run away, recover, and then enter the fight again. Sniping gave me a feeling of Halo 2 as well as I noticed myself side swiping a lot of my enemies [literally having the cursor on one side of the enemy and then swiping it across the opponent and pulling the trigger as soon as the reticle turns red when equipped with a sniper].”
Pro play potential
Those elements combine to make Destiny a game with some serious eSports potential, Chaves reckons. “Based, and solely based, on gameplay I think it has an incredible chance to move into eSports as one of the new shooters,” he says. “Of the four maps we got to play in the beta, we got three legit close quarter maps that showed how action-packed and exciting matches could be. The PvP is incredible already and after that is complete there’s only one thing that a game needs to be successful as a shooter in eSports in my opinion and that is maps. It’s safe to say Bungie has that locked down.”
What game modes could work well at a top flight level in Destiny? “I think all the game modes Bungie used during their Halo days would all work for Destiny. I do like the new style of Domination that they have applied with Control. Bungie turned it from a game mode players usually liked to camp into a slayer based game mode that promotes a lot of action throughout the match.”
There’s still work to be done
If Destiny is going to be the next big FPS to break onto the circuit however, Bungie still needs to tick a few boxes and add a few features, Chaves warns, particularly when it comes to making the game accessible for spectators. “The most important thing an eSport game needs is a theatre and broadcaster mode,” he says. “In order for it to remain on the eSport circuit it needs to be user friendly to allow casters to watch during actual gameplay so they can entertain the masses watching, since Bungie already hit a home run with the game itself.”
Activision is betting big with Destiny, predicting it could one day be a billion dollar franchise, and Chaves thinks if any game deserves to, Destiny is it. “I’ll always be a Master Chief fan at heart, but it’s safe to say Destiny will fill a gaming void of mine that has been missing for a long time. The beta was incredible and I can't wait for the full game to come out so I can truly push the game to its limit and see how far it can go.”
If you’re planning on getting the game yourself, you better watch out for Flamesword and his Gjallarhorn rocket launcher in the Crucible – he’ll be bringing the rest of his squad with him. “We also have an incredible squad over at the OpTic Gaming house that laid down the truth during the beta so I’m super excited to see how competitive the game will go.”
Destiny is out for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3 and PC on 9 September.
Want to experience the best of RedBull.com on the move? Get the app at RedBull.com/app.