Before I tell you what happens next, you need to catch yourself up with the story of Destiny 2 so far. Check out the video and vast array of screenshots above. All caught up? Good. I went hands-on in a blessedly-quiet air-conditioned room at E3 — the only place where you could check out the mouse and keyboard glory that is Destiny 2’s story mode.
In a scenario entitled Homecoming, I found myself on the losing side of the incoming assault by the shock troops of The Cabal, the Red Legion. As they closed in on the Tower in the last human city, they simultaneously launched heavy weapons against The Traveller. Unable to prevent its destruction, we instead team up with Zavala to try to defend the plaza.
Taking the mouse and keyboard controls at my fingertips, I instantly felt at home. I was leaping through the air with my Dawnblade (a Warlock subclass), unleashing equal parts righteous fury with my Attunement of Sky, and my Suros GJS-42 scoped assault rifle.
As I worked to repel the three assaults, Commander Zavala used his shield to stop the barrage of missiles coming from the nearby capital ships. Large orbs fired from those same ships cracked the plaza surface, dropping in shock troops. Repelling their assault three times, I met up with Ikora Rev whom Zavala directs to find The Speaker. Me? I get to assault the enemy cap ship.
After a tense firefight, I find my way to a new character — a hot dog pilot named Hawthorn. Picking me up in a shuttle, she blows through the Red Cabal vanguard with some stunning piloting to deposit me on an outer deck of the Red Cabal command ship. Alongside the steel grating of the outer edge of the ship, the previously-seen round drop orbs hurtle out of some sort of supercharged launcher in relentless fashion — I need to put an end to this.
Inside the command ship I find no workers, no grunts. No – instead I find massive beasts with dual-tanked flamethrowers, heavy gunners, and centurions with heavy plated armor around every corner. Using my skills to hover in place, I aim down the weapon sights, scoring headshot after headshot with unerring precision. There’s simply nothing like a mouse and keyboard for controls.
Beyond the control accuracy, the game has never looked so good – the engine has received some major attention. It runs in stunning 4K and at a rock solid framerate, but rather than describe it further, allow me to show you:
The machine I was playing on was running on a 1080 Ti, ensuring a gorgeous look and supporting the uncapped framerate, but a nearby Bungie team member told me the game will also support remappable keyboard and mouse controls, adjustable field of view settings, and even ultrawide 21:9 monitor support.
Working my way into the interior of the ship, my goal of the Shield Generator nearby, I encountered my first subboss — Brann The Unbent Blade. This hulking beast’s armor required significant firepower, but ultimately succumbed to the flaming sword of my character class rather quickly. As I enter the shield generator area I hear a deep and sinister laugh with “Your journey…ends…here,” closing out my hands-on with the E3 single player demo.
By the end of my short time with Destiny 2, it was very clear why the lines to play it were full inside of a few minutes of the door opening each day of E3. It’s an experience worth waiting for.
Destiny 2 will launch on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on September 6th, with the PC version trailing slightly on October 24th.