Destiny: played at E3 2014

As the fall’s gaming season heats up, one title in particular will be given a heavy amount of attention, and that’s Activision’s Destiny. Initially announced last year, the game has gotten a lot of attention based on the pedigree of Bungie, the creators of Halo. This week at E3, I was able to check out the game in action. The spectacle is hardly just word of mouth. The proof is in the gameplay.

I played a Warlock, and the way that you can diversify your character is simply stunning. By visiting the in-game menu, you can see everything that you can do with your character, including upgrades that add to their power and speed, as well as armor types that increase your performance when you’re in action. You could spend quite a bit of time just making sure everything is tweaked just right, although I just wanted to jump in and fight.

As for the controls, veteran Halo players will recognize a lot in Destiny. The combat feels very similar to that long-running series, but with the option to run and change between three different weapons including a sniper rifle and rocket launcher. All of the weapons performed quite accurately, and the action didn’t let up for a minute, with soldiers popping out of nowhere in some cases, and a real-time multiplayer event starting instantaneously, with the mountain-sized task of bringing down a well-armed walker, along with its escorts.

The seamless introduction of events, along with the open-world exploration that the game has to offer, complete with objective markers and optional missions, essentially turn Destiny into a huge time-sink. Thus far, Bungie has done an amazing job with its engine, and the environments look absolutely stunning. It does take a little bit for co-op missions to launch (about a minute or so), but once you’re in, you’ll find no trouble jumping into the game and going into battle.

In addition, you can also get around quite conveniently with the ability to summon a speeder bike. These handle with nice precision, as you can turn with ease and really get some punch behind it when it comes to acceleration. The only downside is that they don’t come with guns. If you want to fight, you’ll either have to run over your opponent, or hop off and pull out your weapon.

Destiny still holds many surprises, especially when it comes to the other classes. Thus far, though, it has plenty of promise behind it, and the combination of responsive gameplay and stunning environments really stands out. You can see for yourself with its beta, available now, or simply wait for the big ball to drop with the game’s release on September 9th.