Destiny 2: Review (PC)


Destiny 2 comes late to the party 2 months after its console versions, however that is not to say that the extra time for polish and options has not been welcome, with the PC version welcoming 4K support and uncapped frame rates, etc. It seems that it is one of the best looking and performing games released on the PC this year. Many players have been encouraged to acquire cutting edge accessories reviewed at Hotrate in order to have the best gaming experience possible. FYI, the first game was never released on the PC despite the demand but when the rumors and eventual confirmation of the PC version came last March 30, 2017. 

STORY

The story takes place one year after the end of the last major expansion of the first game, the Red Legion, led by Dominus Ghaul, ambushes the Last City which served as the main social hub for the first game. The mentors (Commander Zavala, Ikora Rey, Cayde-6, etc) is forced to evacuate with the player helping the efforts in fighting back the enemy. At the same time, the Reg Legion is draining the “Light” out of the “Traveler” which drains all the “Guardians” (the player’s character) of their power.

Dominus Ghaul… also known as Gary or Glen.

With the successful destruction of the Tower, the player wakes up two days after without information on where the mentors are, however they are found by Suraya Hawthorne who takes them to a safe haven called the Farm and to start your journey that will take you to different planets in order to form an army enough to fight the Red Legion.

The story itself does not take long to finish, with all the cut-scenes and dialog, it may take around at best 10 hours, which is also pretty short even for the usual length of today’s present games. Another problem was the characters felt weak or unnecessary despite their importance which extend even with the main baddie shown as being nothing more than someone who just got pissed at for not being picked to play for the local basketball team and your allies being nothing more than usual “I need you to do this now” NPCs. Voice acting was pretty okay for most of the game especially for Nathan Filion’s portrayal of Cayde-6 with his sarcastic humor and the situations he falls into as well as some audio pieces that do indicate something “big” is about to happen.

GAMEPLAY

Destiny 2 is a shared-world first-person loot-shooter and it does deliver that experience pretty well. Gun-play is great and is despite the removal of “random” perks on loot, still has a fair share of gear to earn. Matchmaking can be done on-the-fly however some activities especially the high-end difficult content needs a pre-formed “fire-team” (or group) that ranges from 3 (Strikes/Dungeons/Nightfall Strike)-4 (PVP modes)-6 members (Raids).

There are 3 classes with 3 sub-classes all of them with their own set of abilities and passives to use:

  • Titans (Heavy Armor) – Sentinel, Striker, Sunbreaker
  • Hunters (Medium Armor) – Nightstalker, Gunslinger, Arcstrider
  • Warlocks (Light Armor) – Voidwalker, Stormcaller, Dawnblade

Abilities/Passives are obtained by getting skill-points through leveling and doing random activities that reward skill points, it is pretty easy to get all the skills however players do not start with all the sub-classes as two of them will need to be unlocked by randomly looting a class artifact. The rate of the drop does increase depending on your current level on doing any public event and you can hoard skill points to use it to unlock your preferred sub-class. Each subclass do play differently from each other however there are obvious improvements that could be done in this part of the game such as making some skills a “toggle-only” effect etc.

Strikes are this game’s term for dungeons while a Nightfall Strike makes the dungeon more challenging by adding  a timer and random challenges every week that range from “additional time per enemy kill” to “elements being rotated randomly”, etc. There is also a “Prestige” mode that bumps the light level of all the enemies in the encounter. PVP modes are present with a rotating/random mode each round that range from Deathmatch, Zone Capture, etc. and is divided into Quickplay and Competitive modes which also can be queued with a group or solo. The addition to the mode is Trials of the Nine, which requires a pre-made group and is currently the most challenging PVP content as it does restrict access to a specific zone and is dependent on your win streak.

Each of the planets also have Public Events that trigger every few minutes which is one of the best ways to earn loot and xp, which they improved to show the exact location it is on the map this time around. There also “Lost Sectors” which act as a repeatable “mini-dungeon” for the map as well as the old “Patrol” missions that give you a specific duty to do for a certain area of the map. Bounties also appear in the form of “Mini-bosses” which is a subtle but welcome feature nonetheless. All activities grant reputation tokens and a chance to get random loot that range from common to exotic quality. Reputation Tokens are exchanged to a specific vendor which is then converted to engrams which can also give players a chance for random equipment ranging from all quality levels.

A gun for those who have been “broken”.

Since the game is a loot-shooter, loot is aplenty for this game with items ranging from Common to Exotic items, you can equip 3 guns that are classified into a specific category such as:

  • Kinetic (Default key 1) – Your basic gun with a normal bullet
  • Energy (Default key 2) – Elemental guns
  • Power (Default key 3) – BIG DMG weapons (Rocket Launchers, Sniper-Rifles, Grenade Launchers, Swords, Shotguns, etc)

All weapon types can be equipped by all classes except with some class specific weapon (only item I encountered this was a Sword that I got for both my Warlock and Titan). In equipping items, you may only equip 1 exotic weapon piece and 1 exotic armor piece as well to avoid being overpowered.

5 more levels to go! The highest loadout level I had at the time.

The maximum level cap is 20, which is easily attainable just by completing the main story and grinding some Public Events for a few minutes (or hours depending on the location). Once a player reaches the max level, endgame strength is measured by “Power”, which at the time of writing sits at 305. The total power level of a guardian is computed by the equipped item in each of the 3 gun slots and 4 armor slots. The level of the loot also scales depending on your power level and with the changes done in Destiny 2, it is possible to get a higher power level loot without equipping the item as long as you “reached” a certain level which helps as sometimes the best guns you have aren’t exactly the ones you prefer using anyways. Also you can still earn XP past level 20 and doing so rewards you with “Bright Engrams” which can be exchanged to random cosmetics, mounts, ships, shaders, etc.

Clans are the game’s version of the guild, which allow a maximum of 100 members to earn more rewards from playing together and ties up to the new “Guided Games” system which allows Clans and solo players to progress through the higher endgame activities however the system is still currently in beta and is not active for all players.

A subtle but noticeable change is the implementation of lore objects in game, gone are the lore cards and in exchange comes random objects that can be interacted with to provide some further backstory.

However despite all the positive changes, there are some questionable changes especially with each Shader (an item you can use to customize your guardian’s gear colors) being a consumable item unlike it being a permanent item in their previous game. The removal of random properties for each gun has also been removed making the grind less rewarding since you will just get the same perk with the gun you looted 50 times or so. Everything also becomes repetitive eventually with only the Public Events having the most varied set since it does have “hidden” requirements in order to change it to a “Heroic Public Event”.

POINTS OF INTEREST

While most AAA games require beefy hardware, Destiny 2 runs faithfully to its listed system specifications. I play on a i5-4670k (Stock), GTX 1060 6GB, 8GB ram PC and almost always gets a consistent 60 fps with drops mostly occurring on populated public events. I usually just follow the default settings when a game loads however I have seen other players play the game on an Intel HD at 30 fps. Unfortunately, I do not have other hardware to further test the game.

The current default settings the game loaded with since launch.

There also is no ability to talk in open world spaces and even in the social hub despite Bungie marketing the game’s as a “social” game due to “privacy” concerns. The reliance of Bungie in post-game content is also pretty disappointing with the 1st expansion “Curse of Osiris” landing on all systems on December 5, 2017 while the 2nd comes sometime next year, at this time there is no option to purchase each expansion individually and the Season Pass costs $35.

For people with wireless internet providers (Globe LTE @Home, Pocket Wifis, Smart ULTERA), do note that despite the game being on PC, the NAT(Network address translation) matchmaking system is still in place which means that it may take longer queues and possible solo dungeon instances and planets. However, Bungie deployed a patch and it improve a bit which made the problem less worrisome. This problem can completely be eliminated by finding a group of people to play with as well since it eliminates queuing except for PVP matches.

Raid Clear Celebatory Photo

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