Even for a game geared towards multiplayer — PvP, co-op, or otherwise — a good single-player campaign is often a great way to introduce the basic mechanics to newbies before they’re thrown to the online wolves. It’s also a great way to set up a story. Technically Actison’s MMO shooter Destiny has a story-driven single-player campaign. But as many discovered after taking the time to complete it, Destiny‘s story was weak at best – a stumbling block attributed to a rocky development schedule and a hasty rewrite six months before launch.
Lot 2 includes a new story campaign to familiarize players with the ins and outs of the mechanics, but Bungie promises a much richer experience this time around. It even went so far as to rent Mass effect writer Christopher Shlerf, who will hopefully shape the story. Whether Bungie has been successful remains to be seen. But as luck would have it, Nvidia has the entire “Homecoming” story mission on display at its E3 booth in glorious 4K on a GTX 1080 Ti.
The Homecoming mission isn’t strictly new; it was first shown on the Lot 2 reveal earlier in the year. But this is the first time the press has been able to capture the game in all its 4K, 60FPS glory. None of that, of course, says much about the game’s story, but if you’re going to try and get what you can out of an old demo, you might as well do it in the most lavish way. Also important: we couldn’t play any of them Lot 2multiplayer or strike missions this time on PC.
Lot 2 takes place one year after the events of Destiny: Rise of Iron. The Red Legion faction of the Cabal Empire has attacked The Last City, led by its Emperor, Dominus Ghaul. Ghaul deprives the Guardians of their powers and forces them to flee the Tower. Lot 2 begins during that same attack, with a movie where the three main Guardians from the first game escape the tower. After surviving the attack, you will be placed outside the burning tower, ready to take down the Cabal horde.
As much as I’d love to tell you about the clever characters, clever dialogue, sharp writing, the Homecoming mission is unfortunately light on that elusive element, narrativium. I can at least confirm there are some lighthearted touches, with the opening movie pointing out that Bungie may have managed to add some personality to the otherwise wooden characters that populated the original. Destiny.
Instead, what I can tell you is that Lot 2 got a massive graphics overhaul and then some. Where the original was held back by the odd decision to release PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game, Lot 2 was built with the likes of the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X in mind. Not to mention the PC version, which was developed with help from Nvidia. In 4K and at a smooth 60FPS it looks fantastic.
The PC version supports high-resolution textures and enhanced particle effects, along with graphic details such as soft shadows. There is also a new lighting system with object-based lighting and specular highlights. The damp corridors of the Cabal squad you have to infiltrate in the Homecoming mission look quite moody, as the flashy neon glow of your sword-wielding Super Ability jumps off the screen.
For those who like to tinker, there’s a whole host of visual effects to enable or disable in the settings menu. These include environmental occlusion, motion blur, AA, foliage details, light shadow details, depth of field, and more.
To play Lot 2 with a mouse and keyboard, it has a different feel to its console counterpart – the increased spin speed alone is a huge advantage against waves of enemies – but it’s easily adaptable if you’re coming off a controller. Tweaks to the weapon system, which consists of the three categories Kinectic, Energy and Power, also mix up the combat.
However, I wonder if the PC community will flock to Lot 2 the same way console players flocked to Destiny. Lot 2 is still a console game, with all the baggage that comes with it.
As PC players, we demand games that can be molded as we see fit, with difficulty levels ranging from hard to “OMFG WHY AM I DOING THIS TO MYSELF?!” Lot 2 has yet to prove itself in that regard, and the news that it won’t have dedicated servers didn’t exactly go down well with the PC public. Still, you can at least be in charge of PS4 Pro and Xbox One X owners, all of which are stuck with 4K support at just 30FPS.
Lot 2 for Windows PC will be launched on October 24. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions will launch on September 6.