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I played Destiny 2 on PC, and now I don’t want to go back

Uncapped frame rate, mouse aiming make all the difference

The Inverted Spire, played on PlayStation 4 Pro.
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

During yesterday’s Destiny 2 reveal event, Bungie introduced the game’s first strike, a cooperative mission called The Inverted Spire. I was able to play it twice back-to-back, initially on PlayStation 4 Pro and later on a high-end gaming PC. After a solid 25-minute round on each platform, I’m not sure I want to go back to the console version ever again.

The Inverted Spire strike takes place on Nessus, one of the new worlds in Destiny 2. Guardians drop into the map and quickly make their way towards a Vex dig site, leaping huge distances with the help of portal-like cannons that launch them across the map. Eventually, they reach the outskirts of a dig site, where Vex robots are fighting against the planet’s native species. Finally, they enter a huge crater where a multi-tiered boring machine is drilling into the ground. Inside that crater are caves, and inside those caves the boss monster — a massive robot called the Protheon Modular Mind.

During the final battle with the Modular Mind, the ground drops away multiple times. Players fall hundreds of feet down, eventually landing on a small island in an acidic lake. The Modular Mind circles the island, occasionally pushing into the center for a devastating area of effect attack. It’s easily one of the most dynamic missions I’ve played in the franchise, and makes excellent use of cover and a Guardian’s innate leaping abilities.

During the event, critics were allowed to capture gameplay from the PS4 version. You can watch my entire first run-through in the video above. No capture was allowed for the PC version.

The most visible difference between the two versions was the frame rate. Representatives told me that while the PS4 version was running at 30 fps, the PC version was set to 60 fps uncapped. In motion, it looked incredibly smooth.

Destiny 2 - The Inverted Spire strike Bungie/Activision

For me, a traditional PC gamer, the biggest benefit was the ability to use a mouse. I immediately felt more confident with my aim, and landed many more headshots.

I’m not one for monkeying with adjustable mouse settings all that often, but during this strike, I made good use of two different settings. For moving from encounter to encounter, and even when dealing with smaller mobs, I used a low mouse sensitivity setting that gave me more mobility. It allowed me to cover large arcs of fire, and quickly turn to land melee attacks.

Later, in the final battle, I switched to a much higher sensitivity to get better control over shot placement. That change allowed me to contribute much more damage per second for my fireteam. I was landing precise shots with both a hand cannon and a sniper rifle, something that I simply wasn’t able to do as well with a controller.

It was the most competent that I’ve ever felt while playing a Destiny game.

With word coming yesterday that the PC version may trail behind the console version, I’m at a crossroads. There will no doubt be a larger critical mass of players in the console community. For a social game like Destiny 2, that could make progressions much easier. But the PC version of the game — at least based on this first strike that I played — is so much of a superior experience that I may just wait it out.

The next level of puzzles.

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