Destiny 2 PC Hands-On Preview

Mark Gray
In Short
Destiny never looked so good.

It feels like an eternity ago that I played the Destiny 2 beta on both PS4 and PC and was left feeling that the PS4 version was more of the same while the PC version showed great technical promise and wouldn't disappoint. Fast-forward to the game's console release and I couldn't wait to get my hands on Destiny 2 for PS4. I have sunk hundreds of hours into the PS4 version and loved every aspect of the experience to the point where I nearly forgot about playing the game on the PC until I got my hands on a preview build.

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The rig I had played on was outfitted with an Intel Core i7-770k 4.2 Ghz CPU, Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, 16GB RAM, and a Predator XB1 27' 4K monitor with Nvidia G-Sync. Needless to say, it was bred to make Destiny 2 shine. These days a solid 60 FPS is the standard benchmark when gauging smooth gameplay for any first-person shooter release on PC. Given the specs of this rig I didn't expect there to be any problems running at that benchmark level or more. Destiny 2 didn't even come close to running below 60 FPS even to the point of remaining well above that mark on the highest settings. At home I am running a 2 year old spec and even in beta it looked amazing and felt smooth. On the provided spec combined with the 4k monitor and resolution it made me realize how much I had been missing out on. Nearly every aspect of the game had more detail and was very vibrant and ran smooth no matter how much activity was on screen. My jaw literally dropped when I shot a barrel that exploded and a nearby Fallen was caught in the blast, flew back from the blast, and disintegrated into hundreds of fire particles. I can confidently tell you on PS4 I never engaged barrels much, but on PC I took every opportunity just to see the level of detail ' and that was just the beginning. Elemental weapons, character abilities, and subclass super effects look way sharper and in a way feel more powerful. The level design and detail of the environments tie it all together and make the game feel so immersive. It has been a long time since I have just stood and looked around in awe at how beautiful a game's surroundings really are. Sure, PvE looked great, but there was some hesitation going into PvP, though they were immediately squashed. The detail, framerate, and flow of the game to me was an improvement from console. Overall the PvP matches felt smoother, faster, and more intense.

Destiny 2 easily nailed the graphics benchmark, but what about other potential port issues coming from console such as using keyboard/mouse versus controller? This too was a huge criterion for Bungie and it's evident that they spent the time to get it right. WASD is the default and feels right at home, though I did have some issues with the grenade, run, and slide key configurations. I can't knock the key bindings since I typically use a controller for nearly all my gaming needs, but it only took a few miscues to get used to it. Even so, if you wanted complete configuration of your key bindings Bungie has you covered. You can easily go into the settings and modify any of the bindings. For example, I can see setting a melee, super, or class ability to a side mouse button though I personally think the bindings by default are darn near perfect. Aiming with the mouse was super easy and way more precise than a controller though one of the players on my fireteam was using a controller and holding their own. I didn't get much aim assist 'pull' which I liked. Sometimes I feel restricted as to what I am aiming at on console while on PC the sensitivity felt quick and I was easily racking up the critical shots.

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Another potential problem for a console port is communication. On PC there is a chat functionality though it is limited to only team and fireteam. There didn't appear to be any global or clan related chat which seems like a missed opportunity, but may still be implemented later. Maybe they assume everyone that wants to communicate will use the many other existing platforms though this poses a problem for solo players wanting to reach out. Even though communication efforts seem to be a side project I don't think it's of huge concern since Destiny 2 really lends itself to enjoyable gameplay even without communicating.

The takeaway I got from the PC preview was my face hurting from smiling so much. Even though I had already put hundreds of hours in on console, the PC version felt like an old muscle car that's been overhauled and slapped with a fresh coat of glossy paint. It's loud, proud, and will turn a lot of heads. Destiny 2 on PC is well worth the wait and feels right at home with any other FPS on the PC market.

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Transmitted: 1/22/2022 10:36:51 AM