I’m adopting a new moniker – Rob Vicars: Professional Beta Player. In my opinion, betas are where the real experiences lurk. None of this ‘oh we’ve finished the game now’ nonsense – all I want is pure, unadulterated, unfinished, half-working, un-stress-tested bugfests that take 40 minutes to log you into empty servers. I’m joking of course, but I wanted to make a big song and dance out of the fact my entire relationship with Destiny exists exclusively in its betas. So. There it is. (For the record, both have actually been pretty painless.)
You Beta Believe It
I played the first Destiny with a couple of unwitting pals while it was in beta, and while I had a grand old time cooing at how similar the complimentary weapons were to Halo’s ballistic roost, like the implausibly keen and clever observationalist I am, I was told I couldn’t possibly play it alone, so I passed.
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Beta
I struggle to manage my own time well enough to play the relatively small variety of games I actively get around to – having to factor anyone else’s equally atrocious timekeeping into it too just left me wary. Despite this, the idea of jumping in and grinding away for a little while on Destiny’s good-looking planes definitely appealed and I ummed and arred about picking it up for longer than one should um and arr about anything.
So here we are again, a new Destiny, a new beta for me to get organisational anxiety about. I’ve jumped in on PC this time because Different and also it happened to land when I was available, alongside the exact same unwitting pals I did the first Destiny beta with. It’s a funny old game.
For Beta or For Worse
First and foremost, Destiny 2 on the Personal Computer chugs into life absolutely beautifully. I didn’t touch the settings, though I’m running a 1060 and a decent i5 which helps, and it played great from the get-go.
Destiny being a console-only game in its past life means the leap to PC puts an extra emphasis on how light and lithe and cohesive the core mechanics now feel. The first iteration never seemed particularly sluggish to me, but compared to what I played last night, there’ll be a definite rift between the two platforms when this PC version comes out.
It Doesn’t Matter Who’s Wrong or Right Just Beta, Beta, Beta, Beta
It’s predictably pretty, and the glimpse at the alien worlds, fauna, and foe the beta gives you is enough to enchant. During the Strike mission, you land on a planet from No Man’s Sky that’s been giving a H-er D, and it’s arresting and vibrant and fun to just be in.
Some of the environmental touches in this level are stunning as well, with splintered metal columns looking, from a distance, like concept art drawings in their detailing. We ended up playing through that Strike, The Inverted Spire, twice consecutively and both the level design and the nuances of the environment made sure it didn’t get dull.
Beta Luck Next Time
From a gameplay standpoint, and in my helpfully limited experience of the previous game, I can’t see this being a huge departure, or even a departure at all, from anything players will have seen in Destiny or its thirteen thousand 30 quid expansion packs.
Which of course begs the already well-trodden question of why Destiny 2 is even a thing, and not just another aforementioned slab of piping hot DLC.
I’ve Had Beta
Honestly, I’m not ready to bid goodbye to the age of buying games just yet. As we wade ever more diligently toward the murky light of Paying More and Getting Less, through Free to Play and Loot Boxes and DLC and various other blindingly bare-faced moves by publishers to wring the last drop of green juice from every potential paying pound repository, sorry, player, this one doesn’t feel much like you’re being fleeced. After 3 years, it seems like maybe a good lick of paint, an additional platform and the opportunity to give new players the chance to not feel like they’re coming in hot on Season 6, is the right thing to do.
Like Destiny 2 Wouldn’t Melt
I vastly enjoyed blasting through this beta, and with Nathan Fillion’s dulcet tones on a seemingly excellent character taking centre stage in the easy-to-miss narrative, maybe there’ll be more in this one for the people who aren’t over-encumbered in the time department.
More on Respawn soon.