Gamescom hands-on: Destiny 2 (PC Edition)

Category: Features, Gaming

I loved the original Destiny. Not for its story, I don’t really know anyone that loved it for that to be honest. Nor was it for the actual game I guess, despite the mechanics being near perfect for an FPS, nor for it’s gorgeous worlds and variety of game types. Nope, the main reason I enjoyed the original Destiny so much was for its uncanny ability to pull together all of my friends and create these gaming sessions that were so wonderfully simple to pop in and out of and just enjoy. And it’s for that reason that I couldn’t be more confused or more at odds with myself as to what to do when it comes to Destiny 2.

Destiny 2 on a PC is g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s! Nvidia had a mass of PCs decked out with 1080Ti’s running Destiny 2 in 4K at 60fps. The level being demoed was the same opening story mission we’ve seen a hundred times over now since it’s original press reveal and more recently in the console beta last month.

Initially I was a little shocked to see that pre-rendered video preceding the actual level looked to be highly compressed and at a 1080p or lower res, which I can only hope was due to it being a demo build and not the final shipping product that I hope has the scenes redone, because they looked damn awful.

Once you’re passed that though, woah! It’s like putting on a pair of glasses for the first time and realising the entire world was blurry as shit and you probably shouldn’t have been performing heart surgery without them.

That’s the same with a lot of games that have had a cross platform release though. What I’m saying to those already converted to the PC-elitism of high-end gaming wont be surprised with what I’m saying at all here but for many it may well be.

Without turning this whole piece into a PC vs console argument each side does of course have its merits and they are relatable to Destiny 2 also. Console gaming is generally experienced in a lounge room on a big screen TV, it’s far cheaper and more often than not for the casual gamer, an ecosystem that most of your friends are a part of also.

On the PC side, to achieve the face-melting beauty of Destiny 2 at true 4K (not upscaled, with native UI elements “console 4K”) means buying a video card that on its own is already more than the cost of a console. It does provide a superior graphical experience but it’s largely (not always) tied to a desk, potentially not as sociable, and generally reserved for a more “hardcore” gaming audience.

For the majority the choice to play Destiny 2 on a PC or a console will be as simple as which one they own, but for a minority (that includes myself) I have the option for either. Or a third option of “both” and this is where I think Bungie have really missed out on an opportunity.

Your character in Destiny and the new Destiny 2 is no more than a set of stats. What weapons you own, what class you are, what fit out you choose. Bungie even develop and provide a simple to use mobile companion app that allows you to view all of this and change your load out and configuration on the go. What they don’t allow is for me to then take that character and use it on a different platform. I can understand that from an Xbox and PlayStation point of view (to a degree) but from a console to a PC, it just feels like a giant piece of the puzzle missing. Not to mention a large opportunity for them to sell the game to people twice (or more) potentially.

Cross platform dreams of folly aside, Destiny 2 not only looks great on PC, it controls well too. Comparing it to the only other FPS I’m playing on the PC right now, PUBG, I’d say that Bungie have knocked it out of the park. The controls felt smooth, accurate and perfectly balanced for the series’ first entry on the platform.

The mouse controls provided quick access to your character’s supers and while extremely well refined on the console already the game’s menu system is even better with a mouse. Keyboard controls were a littler harder to get used to. They were mapped out essentially how you’d expect most PC games to be done. WASD your standard home based for control. I felt myself reaching a little though when it came to other special controls and movements although, being on PC that is (or should be) very easy to change should I want to. For the time being though, I’d put it down as nothing more than myself and a lack of familiarity of the series on a PC.

Destiny 2 will also be the first non-Blizzard title to make use of their Battle.net launcher on the PC. Activision, keen to stamp their ground on the growing PC space has mated two of it’s largest development houses. The result is a foot in the door for Activision to being creating its own encompassing ecosystem, joining others like EA’s Origin and of course the Valve run Steam.

Out today (September 6th) for consoles, PC gamers will have to wait a little longer. Again a potential negative for those wanting to take the PC route, however with the uncapped frame rates, higher resolution and more accurate control scheme it might be more than worth it.

For me, the final say will be that of my friends. Where they’ll be playing it will be on the PS4. As much as I love how gorgeous it looks and feels on an PC the appeal of Destiny for me will always be to play it with mates.

SaveSave

Leave a Reply