Bungie’s history with the home computer market has been fascinating. Their first four projects were Mac-exclusives, and they branched into PC game development in 1995. Their console work actually began in 1995 with Marathon 2 on the Apple Pippin – a little-known device that had a surprisingly short shelf life. It remains Apple’s only gaming console, although a device like the Apple TV could be considered that now to some degree. The Halo series was originally planned for a PC and Mac release as an RTS and then a third-person shooter before being turned into an Xbox-exclusive first person shooter when Microsoft bought the company out.
The original Halo never got a PC release, but its sequel did. Similarly, this path held true for Destiny – with the original being released on not only modern-day consoles like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but even legacy hardware like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. To the surprise of many, the game bypassed a PC release despite it being a multiplayer-only affair. With most of its console versions requiring a fee to play it online, a PC release could have easily broadened its userbase and extended its overall lifespan. A plethora of additional content did that, but the first game seemed to go out with a whimper instead of a bang.
When word first broke of Destiny 2’s release date, people were shocked to learn that PC players would have to wait nearly two months to enjoy the game. Fast forward to the present day and we’ve got the first Bungie-created PC game in many years available now. Fortunately, thanks to Bungie taking their time with this version of the game and showing it a lot of love – that time was well-spent. This AAA-level game is one of the few being optimized so well for the platform that even an i3 processor can run it.
On the AMD side of things, an FX-4350 can also run it, while the GPU requirements start at either a GTX 660 or a Radeon 7850. 6 GB of RAM is needed, and you will need 68 GB of free space to store the game. Now these are the minimum specs – but much like with the original game on consoles, it’s great to see Bungie create an experience that can scale down when needed to provide an enjoyable experience to as large an audience as possible. Evem the recommended specs aren’t out of this world high or anything. An i5 or a Ryzen R5 CPU are recommended, with a 970 or an R9 390 recommended on the GPU side of things. 8 GB of RAM will ensure a smoother experience, and you will still need roughly 70 GB of free storage for the game itself.
In a surprising move, Destiny 2 on PC doesn’t use Steam – but instead uses Battle.net. The keyboard and mouse controls are nice and logical, with most commands set to the left-hand side of the keyboard outside of the right-hand arrow keys – which are only used for emotes. The left mouse button is your usual fire button, while the scroll wheel enables you faster access to anything in your arsenal than an on-screen weapon wheel ever could on consoles. Of course, you can play with a controller if you so desire – but doing that on PC will almost certainly result in your demise more than it would on console, so it’s advised to only do that to add a challenge.
There are no shortage of ways to enjoy the game’s visuals either. Destiny 2 features support for 4K monitors, 21:9 ultrawide monitors and HDR support for monitors capable of it. The biggest benefit to play the game on PC is that the framerate isn’t locked to 30 frames per second and can be set to any level your system can support. 60 is probably a safe bet for most players, but if you want to play it at 120 frames per second because you can – go to town. Those with minimum spec-level systems will probably want to go for a 720p experience with as high a framerate as you can get since this is a competitive game and any in-game slowdown or performance issues can easily kill you in a busy multiplayer battle.
For those wanting a 1080p or 4K experience, then you’ll definitely want either a GTX 1060 for 1080p or a 1080TI for 4K. Anyone in the market for either the GTX 1080 or 1080TI might want to grab one soon, as you get a free copy of Destiny 2 if you do so before November 29. Going with AMD means that you’ll want an RX 580 to run this at 1080p, while a Radeon Vega can support higher-resolution experiences. NVIDIA and AMD also have day-one Destiny 2 drivers out to ensure the best possible experience – with NVIDIA also releasing a guide to help folks out. Seeing Destiny 2 receive so much support right away is a good sign, and it shows just how much care has gone into making the PC version the best it can possibly be.
Between the reasonable system requirements, many graphical options, and plethora of control options, Bungie is showing how you can produce a game that doesn’t just deliver the goods on console – but also creates an experience that makes PC gamers feel like they’re getting a best-in-class experience too. There have been far too many shaky PC ports of games over the last few years, including major Tecmo releases, that just feel like they were thrown on the platform for the sake of shaking an apple at PC users to give them an option to buy it. The problem with that is it leads to a level of distrust with PC gamers who are used to getting better-optimized games that feel not only natural with a controller, but also a keyboard and mouse setup too. Destiny 2 is available now via Battle.net, and is $59.99 – so the price is the same across all platforms.