Tempting Fate With The 'Destiny 2' PC Beta (Hands On)

This week, PC gamers finally got their hands on the Destiny 2 beta. Those who pre-ordered the game or bought a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 or 1080 Ti received an additional day of playtime, and now everyone can experience the title before its October 24 release. In the few hours that we played the game, it was easy to see that the best way to play Destiny 2 is on PC.

In terms of gameplay, those on PC will have access to the same activities as their console counterparts: the Homecoming story mission, a three-player co-op Strike, and two competitive Crucible matches. Those worried about any major changes to the experience can put their minds at ease as Destiny 2 still retains the same action-packed missions as its predecessors with some modifications, specifically on weapons.

The switch to Kinetic-, Energy-, and Power-type weapons mean that you have more flexibility in what you can use for combat. Your main weapon can be a standard auto rifle while an elemental-based scout rifle and a shotgun with devastating firepower can help you out in tough situations. Even with this new weapons system, enemies are still a challenge to kill with guns alone. By utilizing your class-specific powers and coordinating with other players, you can tear your way through a small horde of foes in a few minutes.

For the most part, the keyboard and mouse configurations adhere to the usual bindings for first-person shooters. However, there are some new commands available specifically for Destiny 2. For instance, you activate the Super ability with the F key, while your melee button is bound to the C key. These default assignments make it easy to reach these specific buttons, but it's an awkward reach for some of them. Thankfully, you can re-bind each key to suit your preferred layout.

Veterans of the first Destiny game are accustomed to the controller, but the transition from using a controller to a keyboard and mouse setup for Destiny 2 shouldn’t be difficult (although you can still use a controller for the PC version). The only thing we had to adjust for the keyboard and mouse configuration was aiming, especially when fighting against other players. By enabling aim smoothing, you can have a better—and, more importantly, less frustrating—experience when pointing the gun’s sights at an opponent.

The reason that most people prefer to play on the PC is due to the platform’s graphics power. Even though Bungie’s own hardware requirements suggest that you don’t need to own an expensive GPU to play, those with higher-end cards will reap the visual benefits. With a GTX 980, the visuals already surpassed the console variants. For example, the textures on large objects and landscapes were clear and well-defined, the shadows seemed soft and realistic, and some of the finer details, such as embers, raindrops, and even a slight weathering on some weapons were a sight to behold. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also the framerate to consider.

Those on PC crave 60 or more frames per second during gameplay and Destiny 2 exceeded expectations. With V-Sync off, the framerate varied between the mid 80s and high 90s. Bungie even went the extra mile and added an in-game framerate counter so you can easily see its performance without the use of any third-party software. On the subject of software, note that some apps won't work with the game due to Bungie's efforts to prevent cheating software within the beta.

In the end, the overall performance and visual quality further cements the platform’s superiority over the console versions of the game. The lack of game-breaking problems in the beta is promising, but it’s not a guarantee that the final version will launch with minimal issues. If you’re still on the fence about a platform preference for Bungie’s latest title, try the beta today. A few hours with the game should make the choice easy for you.

NameDestiny 2
TypeFirst-person shooter
DeveloperBungie
PublisherActivision
Platforms
  • PC
  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
Where To Buy
Release DateSeptember 8, 2017 (PlayStation 4, Xbox One)

October 24, 2017 (PC)
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  • 10tacle
    It's too bad Bungie shut down the possibility of using Afterburner for OSD monitoring overlay of my hardware performance during gaming. That and the fact they killed off being able to use GeForce Experience for in-game recording was a deal breaker. I've been using these utilities for years in gaming and refuse to be told what I can and cannot do with my PC. And based on the comments of others out there on that topic, I'm far from alone.
  • clonazepam
    Played some of the beta today. Wow, there's something about it, it just feels right. I tried a Doom free weekend and I was bored to death in minutes. This shooter's just great.

    I was maintaining about 100fps at 1080P, everything on High setting.
  • primeaus2001
    Strange I had afterburner OSD Up and was even able to record using Ge Force experince no problem.