You may be thinking that because I asked whether or not Destiny 2 was a mistake that I don’t like the game. On the contrary, amid the sheer chaos that is this year’s game release schedule, Destiny 2 is one of a few I keep coming back to time and again. Finally on the PC, Bungie’s Sci-Fantasy MMO-like shooter is something special. Not without its faults, Destiny 2 feels right at home on the PC and the future's looking bright. This is our Destiny 2 PC review.
When Destiny came out on last gen and current gen consoles a few years back, every PC gamer under the sun was upset that it wasn’t coming to their computer. Bungie listened, and instead of a port of Destiny 1, Destiny 2 on PC is a very full-featured PC build of the mega-popular franchise. When I think about why Bungie decided to make a sequel, in large part I think it’s because they needed to to bring it to the PC. As much as I wish the old content was somehow living on in D2, what we have now is a much better game.
If you didn’t play Destiny 1, the big problem with Destiny 2 is that you’re not going to have much of an idea what’s going on or who the characters are. For all Destiny 2 does to improve its storytelling, it kind of forgot that there are millions of new players coming to the game on PC who don’t know what happened in the House of the Wolves and other content. They throw a stylized catch-up video at you, but if you want the full background, it’s best to seek out one of the many YouTube videos that put all the story bits together.
Destiny 2 is a shooter at heart, with RPG and MMO aspects that tie it into something unique. There’s a reason Ubisoft’s The Division went after the same style of play. The idea of an always online world with other players, but not as “massive” as a World of Warcraft is appealing. Destiny 2, in a lot of ways, is basically Guild Wars 1 - The Shooter. And that’s a good thing. This style of game, its pacing, and open world adventures wouldn’t work with thousands of players roaming the same space.
The trip to the level cap in Destiny 2 is just the beginning of the game. And while the more hardcore folks out there will chew through its content in a week or two, folks like me find themselves with tons to keep them busy until December 5th’s first planned expansion - The Curse of Osiris. There’s a lot to do in Destiny 2 if you’re not playing it for hours on end. It may be the ultimate casual MMO, in that 5 hours a week or so is all you really need once you’ve beaten the main campaign to keep pace with the content and greatly reduced gear grind.
One chief complaint levied against Destiny 1 was that getting up to speed with your gear was a herculean grind. Destiny 2 all but completely eliminates the grind by giving you so many different ways to get your light score up while still only needing to play a few hours at a time to do so. Engrams, basically the free loot boxes of Destiny, are rewarded left and right, and loot pops out of mobs like candy. Can’t use an item? Dismantle it and take its parts to the Gunsmith to get engrams!
There are a load of adventures, Strikes, Raids, Nightfalls (hard content), daily challenges, faction-based quests, random public events, and of course the Crucible PVP. PVP is one place that feels a bit rough right now - Hand Cannons (think Colt .45s) dominate the playfield, and until Bungie does something to make them less effective, it can be very frustrating to play. But it still remains that there’s a lot to do in Destiny 2 at the end game, so long as you’re not playing it day in and day out.
Stylistically, Destiny 2 is nothing short of breathtaking. It has to have one of the best soundtracks in all of gaming, led principally by Michael Salvatori. And there’s something wicked about Destiny 2’s visuals in 4K, running at uncapped FPS on a GSYNC monitor. The diverse settings options, keyboard and mouse controls, and built in voice are all superb. But there’s one singular oddity in the social system that just doesn’t make sense - Clan Chat is relegated to either the companion mobile app or the web browser. While Destiny 2 uses Battle.Net for your friends list and therefore can use that to chat in-game, the Bungie site and account system is used for Clans, and that seems to be the reason why we can’t chat with our clan in game.
I’m OK with no “general chat” in Destiny 2, as it keeps the game immersive. The Farm would basically be The Barrens from WoW. But I’d love to be able to at least type to chat with my Clan without using a second window or my iPhone. If it’s because of the Battle.Net integration, Bungie and Blizzard need to come up with a solution fast.
I don’t have a lot to complain about in Destiny 2. Its shooting feels incredibly rewarding and impactful. Class progression gives you a good amount of unlocks through the game’s campaign, though I wish there were even more subclasses to choose from. And the loot and gear chase is as addictive as ever. In a shooter, it’s your loadout that determines how you play more even more than your class choice, and there’s a whole lot of loot to be sifted through at the level cap until you find what’s perfect for you. And then, of course, there’s always something new to gain.
What’s going to keep Destiny 2 in the limelight is its upcoming content and release cadence. There are two planned expansions right now, but in Destiny an expansion is basically a big content patch or DLC. They don’t usually add new features or systems as much as they add to the existing content palette and story. What happens after Spring 2018’s DLC is going to determine whether Destiny 2 can keep thriving, or if Bungie will be then working on Destiny 3.
I’m of the mind that Destiny 2 was made to give the studio a reset and to bring the series onto the PC. Destiny 3 isn’t needed to keep the game going and building. That goal was achieved with this sequel. From here on out, Bungie can add and add and add to what’s already a great base game. Here’s hoping, like Destiny 1 before it, D2 becomes better and better with age. It’s already a great game, but online worlds are only as good as their next content update.
So let’s have it, Bungie. Give us the goods and keep it coming. There are bound to be more and more Destiny-like games in the future, including EA’s Anthem in 2018 and Borderlands 3, which is rumored to be a lot like Destiny. The ball is in the Seattle studio’s court though. They’re the kings of the persistent world shooter. Let’s see how long they can keep that crown. I’m officially a fan, and having Destiny 2 on PC is exactly what I’d hoped for all along.