Bless the Securicorps – they’re trying their best, but it’s not good enough. Perhaps the Protectorate have a solution for the concerns faced in Destiny’s Sword Early Access? The people of Cypris (correct spelling) need their help!
Cue the Stellara – a group of cadets being thrown immediately into the deep to keep the peace. They’ll learn on the job as you deploy them into the heart of the battle. It’s a little cliche, and there’s a lot of politics/lore to take on board from the outset. I’ll admit, my attention was waning.
But wait: those digitally painted characters are moving? They’re actually breathing? Initially, the artwork was nice enough, but as you meet the characters, the illustrations look pretty damn good – at least the close-ups do, and then it’s into the action and time to make a difference.
Destiny’s Sword Early Access is portrayed as a visual novel, but it’s a little more in-depth. Sure, the mechanics are there, but there’s much more weight on your actions and the consequences. The story ploughs through at a decent tempo, but then you’re presented with a “what do you do?” scenario. Depending on your choice, you may enter a battle, which is very much a spectator’s game. Aside from a few options here and there, it’s all seemingly random, and it becomes apparent your team are a bunch of goons. Or did you give the wrong instructions?
After each battle, your team’s stats will shift based on your actions. This can be anything from their anger management skills to how happy they are, trust levels and fear. Between missions, you, as commander, can check in on the crew and make sure they’re ok. In my first encounter, one of my party members went apeshit and shot a plasma rifle into an unarmed crowd. During debriefing, an exclamation mark will show on their avatar, indicating that they want to speak with you. It’s here that the real battle starts as you have to use your people skills and decipher what each ’emotional state matrix’ means in respect to your rapport with the team.
Like Mass Effect, you’ll have a dialogue tree to pick your answers, and the team member will duly react, thus solidifying your respect amongst your subordinates. They may even give you feedback on other members, hinting at whether they need an evaluation of their own. Destiny’s Sword Early Access is currently being developed by 2Dogs Games, and some of the features are currently unavailable from the hub. In short, you can expect to heal your team (which you’ll touch upon – literally), repair your ship and trade, but for the most part, it’s about completing missions without defeat, with a capital D.
Unfortunately, you can’t replay a mission and improve upon the 3-star rating system; just one mistake will lead to defeat. The first mission was a defeat as my team shot into the crowd. I called for backup in the second, but it wasn’t available, and my convoy got nuked. It’s easy to play but challenging to determine whether your choice is a good one. The best way I can describe Destiny’s Sword Early Access is a Jackson and Livingstone Choose Your Own Adventure, only you can’t cheat and skip a few pages to see the outcome. Unlike the books, there are many spelling mistakes at this stage – things like tp instead of to, dissmied in place of dismissed, and more.
Still… there’s a cool vibe in the game, and if it weren’t so random in places, it has the potential of being an engaging visual novel – way more interactive than most. The highlight is the team management aspect, how to organise your team, and what gear to equip. You just have to learn the emotional mechanics to get a better feel of their… needs. Overall, Destiny’s Sword Early Access shows promise once the features are added, and perhaps the decision-making is a little more forgiving.