E3 2017: Destiny 2 PC Gameplay and Countdown Multiplayer Hands-on

With E3 2017 being open to the public, it was no surprise that the line to play the Destiny 2 multiplayer went completely around the booth.  E3 attendees had the chance to try out the new Destiny 2 4v4 multiplayer mode, Countdown. Not only did we get our shot with the new Countdown mode, but we also got to try out the Destiny 2 intro stage—Homecoming—on the PC. With PC being the latest platform addition to the franchise, it was quite interesting to dive into Activision and Bungie’s famed first person shooter armed with the accuracy of a mouse.

We weren’t able to record the Homecoming gameplay but we did record Countdown PVP gameplay, so there’s at least something to watch. Let’s start off first with Homecoming gameplay on the PC.

Homecoming (Story) – PC Gameplay

As a refresher, the story of Destiny 2 is that of rebuilding. After the Tower is attacked by Dominus Ghaul, the leader of a new Cabal enemy force known as the Red Legion. Dominus Ghaul’s jealousy of the Guardians’ command the Traveler’s Light has brought him and his forces to Earth. In a surprise attack, he takes the Traveler captive, stealing the Light from all of the Guardians, causing them to scatter. In the Homecoming stage, you fight along Tower Vanguards such as Ikora Rey, Zavala, and Cayde-6 as this initial attack begins and the Guardians scramble to stay alive.

The stage itself is what was shown during Destiny 2 initial stream, so outside of “nicer visuals” there wasn’t anything new to show or experience at E3 specifically. The Homecoming demo stations had all players set up with the new solar Dawnblade class. The Dawnblade is like a revisiting of the Warlock’s Sunsinger class, where the standard skillset (unlocked in the demo) stayed true to the Sunsinger’s long distance melee and solar grenades that we’re used to. The actual “Dawnblade” presents itself when the class’ super is activated. Dawnblade users can levitate in the air, raining down fiery slashes or smashing down directly with the sword itself.

As for the gameplay, we know at least one serious Destiny player that plays on the Xbox One using a mouse and keyboard via a XIM 4 adapter. So it was nice to put ourselves in his shoes. Destiny 2 on the PC endeavors to give you a PC gaming quality experience that overshadows the quality you would get on the Xbox One and the PS4. Outside of the obvious mouse and keyboard support, Destiny 2 on the PC will house 4K Resolution Support at a max resolution of 3820×2160, uncapped framerate, custom key mapping, text chat, adjustable Field of View, and 21:9 monitor support. Also, from what we heard from the Destiny 2, players that own both the console and PC version of the game will be able to continue or sync their story progression cross-platform.

All of that said, the Destiny 2 on the PC was exceptionally quick to pick up. After maybe 2 minutes of button remapping and sensitivity tweaking, it was off to shooting Cabal in the face. Face-shooting, by the way, was as easy as you’d expected it to be with a mouse. If you’re a Destiny veteran, PC gaming veteran, or both, scoring pin point shots from varying distances proved to be a breeze. It also looked that much better using a frame rate which of course was higher than I’m used to seeing on the Xbox One.

The PC experience was nothing short of a positive and comfortable one. I can only expect to see the Destiny 2 reception to easily overshadow the first Destiny, thanks to addition of PC support alone.

Countdown (Multiplayer PVP) – Console Gameplay

The Countdown gameplay was particularly interesting. Countdown is a 4v4 round-based PVP mode that sort of plays like the CounterStrike mechanic of old. One side must plant a charge in one of three sites, protecting the charge from being defused. For that “offensive” side to win a round, they must either successfully allow their charge to detonate, or kill off all opposing players on the opposite team before the round ends. On the defender side, they must either successfully defuse the charge or kill off all opposing players on the opposite team before the round ends. The teams alternate between offense and defense after each round. Killed players can also be revived by teammates, with limitations.

For this demo, I was sure to try out my preferred Titan class to see what new nooks and crannies they put in for the Striker class. At the surface, it seemed as if the standard non-super gameplay of the Striker stayed close to home. The Striker seemed to still have the grenades that they used to as well as a melee that hurts like hell when it is fully charged. I didn’t get to put up any defense walls or what-have-you, which was mostly likely due to me forgetting to try it out. I merely ran out there with my trusty lightning grenade and stuck to the basics.

The most glaring change to the Striker is from Fist of Havoc to Fists of Havoc. Instead of the super being a Hail Mary panic move, the Striker’s super “smash” now activates your super state of Fists of Havoc. While the super is active, you can run around for a limited time, charged with electricity, and perform additional super attacks. You can either opt to perform more smaller versions of the traditional slam or a shoulder smash pushes forward. I was able to connect with each so that you can take a look for yourself.

For reference, I used the Fists of Havoc at around 5:20. We couldn’t do direct screen capturing, so please bear with the over-the-shoulder recording with occasional blocks by my head.

As for the Countdown gameplay, I did appreciate its somewhat nostalgic appeal, as I used to play CounterStrike seriously in another lifetime. Surely there have plenty of bomb-planting PVP modes out there for various games so this mode may not feel too unfamiliar for many. The offense has to move like a unit, plant a charge and spread out to defensive positions to protect the charge from several angles. The defense can either kill off the offense quickly, or wait to see where the charge is planted to know where the enemy is.

There is incentive for each side to hold back of course, as Power Ammo spawns about 20 to 30 seconds into each round. So it’s up to the players of they want to force a battle of primary weapons or if they rather go in properly stocked. Also, the Power Ammo drops only for the player that opens the container, not for the entire team. Plan accordingly!

We sure are excited about Destiny 2 and all of the new features and class changes that’s bound to come. How excited am I? Well I didn’t die in the PVP demo, did I? 😉

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