Destiny 2 has finally made its way to PC and I really am battling to understand why it took until the second game for the move. PC is home to many games that share common DNA with Destiny, so the audience is obviously there. Well, Bungie took its sweet time, but they used that time to make a proper PC version.
Since trying the beta on PC, I knew where I wanted to play the game. Using a mouse to shoot enemies in the head in quick succession, as well as seeing the game running at 60 frames per second, made up my mind easily. This was how the game was meant to be played, for me at least.
The PC version of the game gives you access to a bevvy of options to tailor the game to your tastes and hardware. Want a different FOV? Check. Ultra widescreen? Check. All the graphics toggles/options you could ever want? Check. It looks amazing and is smoother than silk boxer shorts. Sometimes you just need to stand and appreciate the world around you, which oozes character. Sadly your character could be replaced with a wet cardboard box.
Destiny got a lot of flak for its story and while Destiny 2 is a vast improvement (you can read Charlie’s glowing review of the game on console over here), there is still a lot of work to be done. Destiny sticks hard and fast to its rule of nouns everywhere, something I had forgotten about since playing Destiny years ago. The Guardians use The Light from The Traveler to defend from The Darkness and enemies like The Fallen, The Vex, The Hive, The Taken, The Red Legion and their mighty flagship, The Almighty. Your character is still silent, opting to give your Ghost the conversation parts on your behalf while interacting with other people. This means the best characters in the game are made to do all the work, leaving many conversations feeling forced and overworked to handle what could easily be proper dialogue if they just hired six more voice actors.
Guns for the gun god
Even after finishing the story, regardless of what impact it makes on you, the gunplay in the game is still fun. Finding an upgraded version of your favourite gun or a brand new exotic gives you some new toy to kill enemies. The rhythm of whittling shields with your energy weapon, then finishing things off with a kinetic one is fun and fluid and having shields explode if they are destroyed with the same energy type is exciting and rewarding enough that I keep a small arsenal in my inventory to switch up weapons when I find out that the enemies in a certain area all have one colour for their shields. Winding up the minigun-like Sweet Business or popping heads with a good hand cannon, the weapons are the true stars of the game.
The rhythm of whittling shields with your energy weapon, then finishing things off with a kinetic one is fun and fluid.
One of the best things the game did was hold off giving you patrols until a bit later in the game. Patrols end up being useful later for challenges when the game dangles offers of loot drops for completing various objectives, but are one of the more mindless activities in Destiny 2. Instead the game focuses on pushing you through adventures, that generally have a bit more meat to them than what public events and patrols offer you.
Now with people
Not-so-funny-Borderlands has been a good ride for me, but it has hit the point that I need to start talking to people or organising runs with others, instead of the game just automatically matching me to people who want to do content. Even this has problems in the way its matchmaking happens. First you can’t be doing anything, like checking your mail or sorting your vault. You need to sit and stare at a screen while the game finds other players. Then you fly off through loading screens to the strike. My first few strikes ever were either midway complete or just at the final boss, meaning I had joined in to fill a gap left by someone else. The story elements that happen in the strikes were thus completely ruined for me, as I heard the end of the conversations and event with no context and it was only much, much later that I eventually played those strikes from the beginning and the pieces fit together.
Besides this, the number of people that sign up and then leave is enough to make me question the IQ of people who play this game on PC. Why queue for something and quit out as soon as it starts? The same can be said of AFK players. One mission we asked a player if they were joining us after doing the first third of the strike alone. They eventually woke up, or stopped watching Netflix or whatever and caught up. Their response? To shoot at and punch my character for a while. Talk about the height of gaming excellence.
Can you play Destiny 2 alone? Yes you can, but you will probably get a lot less mileage out of it compared to those doing missions with their friends, killing elite monsters, doing patrols and the other tedium that happens at end game where you do the same things again and again to build up a pile of tokens to trade in for a chance of some loot that you might want. I am hoping for that to eventually be something I see, but for now, the clan roster page just sits on a large spinning wheel whenever I try to find people to play games with, despite joining a clan already. Some of the areas also feel very sparsely populated, which I guess is a result of the game making shared instances based on region or latency. Often public events go unfinished as there is just nobody around in the area to do these things with. At one point I played in the open world not seeing another soul for an hour. It was quite eerie.
More of an expansion than a new game
In the end Destiny 2 feels like a big expansion for Destiny 1, not a new game. Not enough has changed to warrant a new game and by the end of the story, things are back pretty much the way they were before: people standing around behind a wall, waiting for someone else to solve their problems. Now to try and line up the times I play the game with other people playing the game to try do the end game content with others, because I am close to the end of what can be done alone for progress rewards. After so much time spent doing stories and missions crafted for a single player, this just falls away abruptly, leaving you on the end game treadmill, just like the so many MMORPGs do.
Destiny 2 is a spectacle, a colourful, beautiful game with satisfying weapons, moving music and a short and sometimes bare but enjoyable story.
Destiny 2 is a spectacle, a colourful, beautiful game with satisfying weapons, moving music and a short and sometimes bare but enjoyable story. For all the effort in making sure the game doesn’t feel like a port, with amazing graphic option granularity, the systems in place are oh so obviously console based and hopefully over time things will diverge. For now it will exist in my rotation of games, but only time will tell how well it lives in the same space as World of Warcraft, Guild Wars 2 and other time hogging games with end game treadmills. I can’t wait to see what the next noun is that we are going to fight. Oh and to upgrade my GPU to get even prettier spectacles.