I boxed myself into an odd gaming corner lately, probably the result of unintended circumstance. Thus, it is with a heavy heart that walk away from Destiny 2 on the Xbox One X… at least for now. Why? Good question but before I delve into that mayhem, let’s chat briefly about all the goodness which is Destiny 2.
Created by Bungie, Destiny 2 was initially released on console (Playstation & Xbox) about six-weeks ahead of the PC thus I chose to buy it on both console and PC. I rejoined our core Xbox GDSQ players (Groovy, Chica, Tango, Darth & Max) and we set about the task of leveling characters (to the 305 light cap) and finishing the Leviathan Raid (blind: without watching tutorials, guides, etc.). Despite Internet troll comments to the contrary, Destiny 2 is a thoroughly enjoyable game (though it currently has weak end-game content). To their credit, Bungie have heard the community concerns and are rectifying some of the identified issues along with the release of Osiris, the first DLC for Destiny 2 — but that does not explain the walk away.
Six weeks after the very enjoyable console experience, I jumped on the PC release and have been blown away. Make no mistake, the game is identical to console but from an enjoyment perspective, it is worlds apart. I’m playing on a good computer with a GTX 1080, running 1440p (2k) at about 100 fps. The game is beautifully rendered, is liquid smooth, but most of all, intuitive. Bungie’s implementation of mouse/keyboard has been nothing short of perfection and is in stark contrast to the controller scheme on Xbox. For me, since I was raised in the PC gaming culture, attempting to impose my will in a first-person shooter (FPS) through the hazy lens of a controller has been nothing short of frustrating. It’s like trying to run through a mud pit in oversized Wellington boots — I make some progress but not without constantly losing a boot and falling flat on my face. Honestly, the only thing which has made it tolerable has been the exceptional people I play with.
On the other hand, the mouse/keyboard control on PC is stupid good. Through reflex, precision, and exploration of true 3D environments, I feel completely at home. I can lean of years of PC FPS gaming, tactics, and knowledge to impose my will upon the game. Playing on mouse/keyboard is simply an extension of my mind, while calculating shots, movement, and strategy within the virtual landscape. There is no hesitation; I simply think it and it happens. Honestly, it is a freeing experience and one which I cherish.
The contrast between both gaming experiences becomes more obvious as I recently began switching between Xbox and PC: elegant v. muddy graphics, perfect v. haphazard control, and a comfortable v. frustrating experience. After the weekly reset, I find little interest is pursuing “powerful gear” on the Xbox and only log on to complete the raid. My energy, interest, and enjoyment now centers on the PC experience. I’m driven to explore, grind content, and increase light on PC while I find myself devoid of that interest on console. Thus, the bittersweet exit.
Sadly, despite some admittedly soft pre-release promises, none of the Xbox crew will be playing on the PC — and thus the heavy heart. Sure, these are first-world problems but Groovy, Chica, Tango, Darth & Max are top shelf gaming talent. They are hilarious, kind to each other, focused on team success, and fair about mistakes and hiccups. The gold standard of that group is Groovy, our game sherpa. A guy with almost inexhaustible patience who always has something nice to say regardless of circumstance.
As I shift away, nothing is locked in stone. Perhaps Bungie will release a 4k patch for Destiny 2. Perhaps Xbox will release a 2k rendering option for my monitor. Perhaps one or two group members will dabble in the PC arena. Perhaps I will even return — who knows what the future holds? Until then, I’ll be buying the Osiris DLC on PC (only) and seeing what Wrunk, Finbad, AJddfx, and others are all about.