People are awful. They should be avoided at all costs, except in cases where you need to borrow money, or help to bury a body. Therefore, relegating interpersonal contact to online only interactions makes a lot of sense. But even then, there are a multitude of problem that can only be caused by other people, and your choice to engage with them. Things like random 10-year olds who apparently know my mother more intimately than my dad, and who squawk increasingly higher pitch commands in my ear is hardly an experience I covet. Even going silent doesn’t really help: soon enough the bowels of other players open and paint my chat window with a steaming stream of rancid stupid that does very little to enhance my gaming experience.
Playing with friends is potentially the ideal solution, but the need to work around their “lives” and “commitments” is a constant irritation, and the older we get, the more limited our availability. Real life becomes more and more important, and pretending to shoot pretend real people or real pretend people becomes less compelling.
In the end, I prefer to play alone, in front of my PC, bathed in the light from my massive monitors, both hands working in perfect unison to achieve completion of any objectives. The best thing is, I have no-one to tell me I’m doing it wrong, or any witnesses when I make a mess. I am solely responsible for my satisfaction, and I like it that way.
With that in mind, Destiny 2 offers up an interesting challenge. The promise of an epic story and open worlds to explore is certainly something I am more than a little interested in. The fact I can also shoot aliens and explode them with the power of my will alone is more than a little appealing.
Can you play Destiny 2 completely solo, and still have fun? Can you progress through the story without the assistance of others, and is it rewarding to do so? It sure is! In fact, the only issue I had playing the game solo was all the other players populating my play space or screwing with the game balance by spawning in enemies far exceeding my level.
Playing with yourself does have some downsides, but much like real life, how you manage your expectations around time to completion will go a long way to ensuring you have the most fun. All story quests and side-quests are easily manageable alone, and not having the distraction of other players allows you to better consume all the lore. Playing solo is a much slower and more deliberate experience.
Levelling and gearing up is more gradual. You’ll likely not unlock many or any of the highest tier items in the game, but seeing as you’re not waving your weapon around in front of others comparing size and penetration rates, it doesn’t really matter. You’re only in competition with the environment, and it is almost always impressed with your boomstick. Once you make peace with the fact that you will miss out on some things and cannot participate in some content solo, Destiny 2 is a hell of a lot of fun for lone wolves.
After 20 or so hours, my only real complaints are that as a new player, I literally had no idea what the hell was going on for the longest time. The game’s expectation that I not only knew but also cared about who Metal-Nutcracker and Buff Krishna were was a little frustrating initially. Then there was the drama about the anti-Deathstar (Lifestar?), its fate, and how it affected the Guardians.
Guardians who, I might add, I also knew nothing about. Not only who they are, but what they are, and how they are supposed to be played. The expectation that I was a returning player really is the only real negative I can leverage at the game. The learning curve is extremely low, but it is excruciatingly long for a Destiny virgin.
Once I overcame the new player hump, I had an absolute blast. The story is not only interesting, but the sense of exploration, progression, and discovery never left me despite playing the game completely "wrong". Even without Raids or any PvP content at all, Destiny 2 is a hell of a lot of fun. Sure, you’ll have a bunch of randoms almost constantly leaping about the place, but you soon learn to phase them out, and when on a core story mission, they’re not an issue at all.
I still have a lot of story content and side-quests to get through, but I am excited to do so. Despite a few bum notes, the campaign is epic space opera done right. Hell, I might even invest in the expansions, and maybe even swallow the bile and try some co-op.
I think a big part of my enjoyment can be put down to just how well the game runs on PC, and that no corners were cut when executing the PC version. Not only are all the bells and whistles in place, but there is all the granularity even the most demanding of PC tweakers could desire. Resolution, FOV, and various quality setting should allow most players to get the game looking and playing as well as they want. The addition of the render resolution is also a boon for those who might have a display resolution higher than their video card is able handle with all the desired pretties turned on.
It’s nice to see that the voice chat options are not tied to the core sound options, and that push to talk is able to be toggled in-game. Destiny 2 also has full key re-mapping, controller support with dedicated fine-tuning options, and full mouse options including the ability to disable mouse smoothing. As far as PC ports go, it is one of the best I have seen in a very long time.
Praise for the port also extends to performance. On my GTX1080 rig the game runs like a dream. At 1440p with everything maxed out I average over 100 fps. At 4K only a couple of minor tweaks and turning down anti-aliasing allowed me to play at a constant 60FPS without issue, and no real discernible loss in visual fidelity. The best option for me however on my 4K TV was to set the display resolution at 4K and drop the render resolution to 75%. With max settings it played perfectly at 60FPS, and I literally could not tell the difference in quality between the 75% render resolution and full 4K.
On a lower spec machine, the game also performs extremely well. Running a GTX1060 on an older dual core i3 CPU, I was able to hit a rock solid 60FPS at 1080p with mostly high settings. This indicates to me that there is a lot of scalability in the engine. Even a dual core CPU was able to handle the open world elements, which was a pleasant surprise. I expect that even some archaic machines will be able to play the game at decent framerates, provided you’re willing to sacrifice a lot of the sexy. And let’s be real here, Destiny is a real looker.
The upshot? PC users – even the extremely socially reclusive ones – can be rest assured that not only is Destiny 2 a great PC release, it’s a hell of a game. Even when you play it completely wrong.