Destiny 2 PC hands-on: unique DNA and some of the best weapons in history

Destiny 2 hands-on

Destiny 2’s handcannon is about to go down in history as one of the PC’s best weapons. It feels incredible: perfectly balanced and so punchy it’s like firing a miniature railgun that’s loaded with clenched fists. And that’s not the only thing about Destiny 2 on PC that’s going to impress. 

Read more: Destiny 2 story guide.

At the game’s premier event in LA I’ve been hands-on with the the campaign’s very first mission and The Inverted Spire co-op Strike. The move from consoles to PC hasn’t impacted the feel of Destiny; a rapidly paced, kinetic game that defies comparisons with any other shooter. It possesses unique DNA that should make it stand out on our platform despite being awash with countless shooters and MMOs already.

If you’ve played Destiny before, the campaign mission holds few surprises. There’s still wave defences to engage with, and plenty of run-and-gun set-pieces. The pace feels more forward-focused though, aided by an increased number of moments that hark back to Bungie’s work on the Halo series. Drop pods hurtle in, crashing through the scenery like molten bowling balls, unleashing Cabal soldiers on your unsuspecting Guardian. While these moments are essentially just enemy spawns, the wham-bam of it all really hammers home that this is a campaign that’s focused on providing an experience more akin to a linear action game than a more static MMO.

Destiny 2 enemies

Of course, those multiplayer elements come to play in the Strikes: three-player cooperative missions that demand you work together through a series of objectives. The Inverted Spire pits you against the Vex, Destiny’s living machine race, in an area that feels distinctly more puzzle-like and creative than that offering in the campaign slice. It involves a ton of jumping – made more interesting than it sounds by Destiny having a literal jumping tech tree for all of its three classes – in environments that warp away from underneath you, plunging your Strike team further into the area. As the well deepens, the multi-stage boss rears its head. Summoning minions, it takes a hell of a lot of bullets and punishment to kill.

While bullet-sponge enemies can be annoying, Destiny 2 counters with impressive weapons and abilities – you’ll want enemies to last that little bit longer so you can see these skills in action. In the campaign I played as a Warlock Dawnblade and its new Super: sprouting angel wings and hovering above the ground while hurling giant flaming swords below. As a Titan Striker I used a lightning strike as seen in the original game, but with a few tweaks that make it just that touch more exciting to execute. But even if you are playing as a familiar sub-class, there are new elements; the Titan, for example, can tap V to lay down a holographic piece of cover. The Warlocks have whirlwind-like rifts that can heal or buff, while Hunters get a new dodge move. Even if you’re vastly familiar with Destiny, it seems like there are new toys that change the moment-to-moment action in subtle but interesting ways.

Destiny 2 Warlock Dawnblade

Despite the hands-on time of Destiny 2’s PvE elements being short, it’s already obvious that it’s going to be a special addition to the PC library. Simply put there’s nothing quite like it; it cherry picks the best ideas from so many places, but the end result, at least so far, doesn’t feel like a mash-up of stolen property. I’m excited to see where Destiny 2 is heading – there’s still so much to see and discover – but already I feel like we should all be paying attention to this console game that’s making big strides into the PC arena.