Until around two years ago, I played pretty much exclusively on a console with Halo as my choice of game. Most of my gaming career was based around the developer of Destiny’s flag ship franchise, sticking with the game through thick and thin. Until Destiny was released that is. The original Destiny nailed everything I wanted combat wise from a first person shooter. Combining the weighty Halo feel with the twitch reactive style of Call of Duty, with a bit of Borderlands thrown in to the mix.
Alas after multiple “expansions,” a term I use lightly here, Destiny was unable to sway my decision to sell my console to upgrade my PC. A decision that for a long time I regretted, don’t get me wrong I was in awe to have a machine capable of playing games to a scale I had never saw possible on my old consoles, but because I had no Halo, no Destiny any more. These games were a huge part of my teenage years and in extension a large part of me.
So needless to say once the announcement that one of my favourite franchises would be moving its way on to the PC, I was one step away from performing a naked mile while screaming with joy. However I remain sceptical, I had been burnt before once a beloved franchise moves its way on to the PC.
My first moments with the Beta were one of complete and utter surprise. Not only because of the greeting with a cinematic that contained more episodic depth than most of its predecessor, but because It. Looked. Phenomenal. The High Definition resolutions, the saturation of colours, the particle effects, the depth of field effect on the weapons, the fire physics, even the foliage had me gawping with delight. The biggest surprise came within the games atmospheric lighting, shadows behave realistically and dynamically. One room would be doused in fire, illuminating the room causing shadows to flicker with the flames, another would be consumed in darkness with only flash lights and small LED’s lathered in bloom effects using full use of the HDR support to cast beams of light.
This was all taken from my first step in the story mission available in the PC Beta, but hopefully it carries over to the entire game. But one thing I definitely took away from this was that it served as a stern reminder on who Bungie are, a group of amazing story tellers. Halo had some of the most engaging narratives available in First Person Shooters, but this is something the original game lacked heavily. If they continue on the path of a solid story campaign, I can see D2 to be a resurgence for Bungie’s story team.
While Bungie did create Destiny, it’s important to note that the PC version was actually created by Vicarious Visions from the ground up for PC. This is important as it means this we aren’t witnessing your run of the mill standard console port. If anything the sheer performance gives evidence to this, being able to run Destiny at 100fps at max settings was a real eye opener. I do have a pretty heft rig with a GTX1070 and an I5-4690k running at 4.2ghz, but I’m hearing reports from friends and members of the community that they are able to produce similar results with much lesser hardware. A true sign of optimisation at its best, I discovered no FPS drops in especially hectic sequences during the strike or PVP.
Not only was the ability to run Destiny at such a high speed with such great graphics a treat, but with an addition of a Mouse and Keyboard, I was able to do things that wouldn’t of been deemed possible in the original with a controller. Movement felt natural and responsive with no worrying smoothing or acceleration. If anything it feels like the game belonged on the PC from the beginning.
But don’t worry, for members of the community wishing to make the switch Destiny 2 features some of the best controller support I’ve witnessed on PC, making it easily the go to preference in PVE activities. In PVP however it’s a different story, the crucible is brutal on the PC. You will find players who have years of experience with a mouse and keyboard with the ability to snap on to skulls quicker than a controller can. However with the amount of Auto-Aim assist available for controller players, that doesn’t mean the controller is completely unviable.
As the final moments of our time with PC Beta came to a close, the harsh reality of the long wait until its release just became even harder to bare. I loved every moment of my time in the PC beta and I give massive props to Vicarious Visions for delivering on an extremely solid performance test. However this was the beta so, things could change. But there’s no doubt in my mind that the best place to play Destiny 2 will be on the PC, this could be the game that many PC players have been begging for years and it’s only a short 6 weeks away kids. The wait is longer, but in the end it’ll so so worth it. Time to get started on that backlog of games I’ve been meaning to play in the mean time I guess.