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Destiny in our hands: Has Bungie redefined the shooter?

In 2001 Bungie redefined the shooter with Master Chief's Xbox debut, and the Seattle-based studio appears determined to deliver an equally impactful inauguration with its next game, Destiny.

It is, in short, the most ambitious project ever to come out of one of the most revered studios in gaming, supported by a publisher with more money than Palmer Luckey and the man who made Flappy Bird combined.

Unsurprisingly expectations are sky high, and by rights this is a game that shouldn't be able to live up to its enormous potential - no matter which developer is in the driving seat. But coming away from a hands-on event at Bungie's headquarters, the resulting impression was a surprising one.

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There's still much to be seen - multiplayer and plot delivery in particular - but based on what we have experienced, this absolutely could be the game-changer Bungie is aiming for.

This is a studio that is a master of first-person shooting, so it should come as no surprise to learn that the gunplay in Destiny is spot-on. What's more remarkable is that the team has managed to create three character classes which are all hugely appealing to play as, and which feel brilliantly balanced and more importantly, unique.

Each of the game's classes - Hunter, Warlock, and Titan - each has their own powers to unlock and customise, covering things such as your special melee attack, jump ability, what type of grenade you pack, and your Super power. All of this, plus your guns, your armour, even your spaceship and land vehicle, can be customised.

It's the range and scope for evolution of these elements that mean that your Guardian really is exactly that: yours.

"It should come as no surprise to learn that the gunplay in Destiny is spot-on"

For the first time we were introduced to the Tower, a hub where players can decide which missions to undertake, purchase upgrades or unlock new gear, or just socialise and show off their loot.

Navigation around the Destiny universe - which incorporates Earth, the Moon, Venus and Mars as playable locations - is handled via the Director, an interactive map which details what activities are on offer where. And which, as with everything in the game, will be updated as time goes on.

In our hands-on video above, GM editor Joel Gregory shares further impressions after an extended session playing in this new sci-fi world. UK readers can read further impressions, plus an exclusive interview with Bungie COO Pete Parsons, in issue 278 of GamesMaster magazine, on sale May 22nd.