A Comparison of Destiny and Destiny 2 PC Beta
This article is a quick review of the Destiny 2 beta for PC that started on August 28th and ended on August 31, 2017. I’ll be going through some Destiny impressions first and then move on to addressing Destiny 2, so if you only want to read about Destiny 2, scroll down to the second half of the article.
My First Impressions of Destiny
I approached this beta with the intention of remaining objective (especially since I was not impressed with the console beta version I played on Xbox One). While playing on Xbox One, the gameplay experience felt unpleasant to me. I don’t know if I am explaining my impression effectively, but when I was trying to get my character to respond to my gamepad input, the gamepad felt really stiff and the character didn’t seem to respond to my input at all. The graphics seemed to be exactly the same as they were in Destiny and overall the game felt just like Destiny. I had some problems with Destiny and this really pushed me into an unfavorable position regarding Bungie and Destiny 2.
Destiny, seemed to be a groundbreaking game from the makers of the HALO series. When the game initially kicked off, it was a breath of fresh air in the gaming community and it especially was for me given that I had been primarily playing sports games like Madden and NCAA football since 2007. I left PC gaming for a number of years to focus on console gaming. At any rate, the game was fun and different. The story of Destiny was a bit bland, but it was still interesting and it left me wanting to know more about the story. However, Bungie made players read Grimoire cards in order to get the full story of Destiny and to me, the process of reading Grimoire cards failed quite miserably and fell catastrophically short of expectations. Some of the Grimoire cards mentioned things that were very interesting and would have been very interesting to have experienced as part of the game but alas, that didn’t happen at all.
Destiny had a random number generator system that contributed to my low opinion of its gameplay experience. I don’t really understand the number generator system in its entirety, but it featured a programming code that selected a number whenever players completed an activity or reached a point in the game where new gear dropped. A random number would appear and determine what type of gear players would receive. This whole process annoyed me for a few reasons. First and foremost was how long it took to get certain types of gear, including weapons like the Ice Breaker and Gjallarhorn. I remember playing the game from day one and I did not get the elusive Gjallarhorn until 2 weeks before the release of the House of Wolves expansion, which basically made the weapon worthless given that Bungie did not level it up for the expansion. I had a similar experience with the Ice Breaker which I also obtained one week before the expansion. I probably played a thousand hours or so and without getting the weapons and there were countless instances where I played with people who already had either weapon and would get another one to drop upon completion of certain events like Raids, Nightfalls, etc.
The other issue I had with Destiny was primarily with its developer, Bungie and its insufferable attitude toward weapons, armor, and the way players used them. There are so many examples of what frustrated me that I will not list them all in detail, but to briefly summarize the issue, Bungie would always find a reason to justify limiting gear access based on a player's stats or perks because Bungie felt that the “Destiny community” was abusing those stats and perks. At any rate, it was very disgusting how Bungie would take a weapon that the majority of the community was using because it was good and gave lower-skilled players better chances to succeed, and they would “nerf” it into the ground until it was completely unusable in the game and everyone stopped using it. They would say, “We want players to have more variety in their gear, blah, blah, blah...” but we all know they just didn’t want us using the same weapon. I believe a large part of the decision to nerf certain types of weapons was because of Twitch streamers who were really popular in both the Destiny community and also within the gaming community. When there's more of a level playing field, it’s harder for Twitch streamers to be dominant and therefore, they can’t do “carries” which enables people to watch them for a fee, donate money to them, subscribe to their channels, etc. When that happens, these guys lose their income from playing a game as a source of revenue.
As a game, Destiny was absolutely groundbreaking. It has a lot of potential and it has laid a great foundation for Destiny 2. After the impact of Destiny, Bungie has teamed up with Blizzard and Activision to bring the game to PC gamers.
So How Does Destiny 2 Compare With Destiny?
Well, it’s a much better game than Destiny. The gameplay is smoother, the graphics are of a higher quality, the controls are more responsive, and there are uncapped frame rates.
Starting off, you get to play the “Homecoming” mission where the main place you interact with all of the main characters of Destiny is attacked by an enemy that you have encountered before. A group of Cabal enemy known as the “Red Legion” attack the Tower, destroy everything, and take your power from you after you complete the mission. I honestly cannot tell you where the game is going to go from there, but supposedly, you “lose your light” and the abilities associated with it.
From the start, players will notice how much more crisp the game looks and feels, even when playing with a keyboard and a mouse. The game ran very smoothly on my Intel i7-7700k with an MSI GTX 1080 Duke graphics card. I felt like my character was far more responsive on my PC than it was on a console and there was no stuttering. The graphics were phenomenal and nearly lifelike at 1080p. I think they would look even better on 1440p and 4K definition.
I only got a brief impression of the weapons and gear, but they appear to be very similar in the way they are handled and deal damage as in they were in the original Destiny game. However, something Bungie may want to keep an eye on are the hand cannons. The hand cannons are severely overpowered and they've been that way since the final days of Destiny, but the elite players like them and are highly skilled at using them so, Bungie doesn’t balance them at all. However, they definitely need to balance them in Destiny 2. I cannot tell you how many times I had rendered someone dead to rights in player vs player gameplay and hit them with 3 or 4 bursts, only to get taken down by 2 headshots or 2 body shots and a head shot from a hand cannon from all the way across the map. That experience is particularly frustrating given my weapon has far better range statistics than the hand cannon.
And speaking of player vs player, I feel this mode will still be the main game mode most players play and this will be where all of the Destiny Twitch streamers and YouTube streamers will continue to “make their money.” It’s always nice competing with other players, but if it’s not balanced (and I don’t believe that the new PVP mode is balanced,) it’s not fun for the lower-skilled players.
Now, as for the keyboard and mouse, I love using them, but whenever I've encountered someone in PVP using a gamepad, I often found myself losing gunfights with them because of how much the auto aim function on gamepads helped the player using it. I noticed a huge difference in my skill when I switched from a keyboard and mouse to a gamepad because I went from being someone who got eight or nine kills in a match to getting over twenty kills and that’s a significant improvement. Bungie should balance this aspect of the gameplay experience. And if you are coming over to PC from a console and you haven’t used a keyboard and mouse to play games, particularly 1st person shooters, I’d advise you to go ahead and buy a controller of some sort or just use your Xbox One or PS4 controller because you may get really frustrated otherwise.
Destiny 2 is a great game in the Beta stage. I feel that it is extremely well-optimized for a game in its Beta stage. The graphics are smooth and very visually appealing, while the gameplay is buttery smooth with very responsive controls. I’m quite sad that the Beta play period has already ended and I am more saddened that I now have to wait until October 24th to get my PC copy because PC copies will be available a full seven and a half weeks after it becomes available to console players. But despite the wait, I definitely recommend you go buy this game when it's available!