Destiny 2 has now been available natively on the PS5 for nearly a month. After some initial confusion about how to get the upgrade (it was a separate PS5 application, not an update to the old PS4 app), I’ve been enjoying the freshly polished next-gen version of my favorite multiplayer looter shooter. But more than just a shiny new coat, Destiny 2 almost feels like a whole new game on the next-gen console.
What I won’t be talking about here is Destiny 2 and the content itself. I’ve covered it repeatedly in various features and reviews over the years. Specifically, I want to focus on the differences between the PS4 version of Destiny 2 and this PS5 update, what the next-gen console brings to the table, and what I hope to see in the future.
The biggest key difference in the upgrade from PS4 to PS5 is a jump from 30 fps to 60 fps and native 4K visuals, and it’s gorgeous. Those two little tweaks alone make an enormous difference for the console version, just in case you haven’t heard the PC players (and to some extent, Stadia) spouting non-stop about it for years now. While 30 fps arguably felt… fine, 60 fps just feels and looks so much better. Combined with the higher resolution visuals, the world has never felt so bright and alive.
Bungie loves its visual effects, and those all come through crystal clear on the next-gen version of the game, with nary a frame drop in sight. Granted, I’m not measuring it specifically with a frame counter, but certain encounters on the PS4 version would tank my frame rate well below 30. The PS5 is able to handle all of the enemies and visual effects without much trouble at all.
I’m normally not a frame rate fiend. I can accept 30 fps if that’s what’s available. But having experienced Destiny 2 at a solid 60 fps for a month now, you’d have to pry this performance update from my cold dead fingers to get me to go back. There’s also a 120 fps option for Crucible (PvP) specifically, but I don’t currently have a TV or setup that wholly supports a 120hz refresh rate, so I haven’t been able to test out the differences there. Still, even the jump to 60 fps is a world of difference for PvP play.
Destiny 2 PS5 Review – Broaden Your Horizons
The other significant addition to Destiny 2 on PS5 is a Field of View (FOV) slider, something that, again, PC players have had, but the old consoles couldn’t support. You can now increase your FOV, which makes the game seem faster, and gives you more peripheral awareness. You can play with these numbers to find the optimal FOV for you, because while pulling it back does let you see more on the sides, it can also make precision aiming more difficult as targets become smaller on your screen. I’ve settled for a healthy balance somewhere right in the middle, about 90 or 95, but you can go as high as 120 if you want. It’s a small feature, sure, but one that, again, makes Destiny 2 PS5 simply feel like a different game.
And finally there are some under-the-hood changes that utilize the power of the PS5 to improve load times, significantly. It’s legitimately staggering how quickly things load in the menu or how fast you can get to destinations now. What used to be an arduous affair of watching tiny circles spin while items loaded in or waiting for what felt like minutes as your ship flew through space to the next location is now barely long enough to even unlock my phone before I’m loaded in. It’s a quality of life upgrade that makes many of the more tedious aspects of Destiny 2’s grind a lot more bearable.
Destiny 2 PS5 Review – No Unique PS5 Features
What Destiny 2 PS5 doesn’t do is take advantage of the PS5’s unique features. There’s no special DualSense support for haptic feedback or the adaptive triggers. And yet despite this, you can’t use any controller but the DualSense to play it (thanks to it being a PS5 application and Sony’s limitations on that), so if you were used to using back buttons on a premium or custom controller, that capability is gone now, without getting any of the added benefits of the new PS5 controller. Haptic feedback and adaptive trigger support are something I hope Bungie is working on adding, though I’m not holding my breath that it will happen soon.
It also doesn’t seem to take unique advantage of the PS5’s Tempest 3D audio engine in any special way. The audio via headphones sounds the same as it always has to me, which is technically 3D enough to allow me to have good spatial awareness, but it doesn’t have the “wow” factor that the PS5’s 3D audio capabilities were touted as. Again, this is something I hope both Sony and Bungie are working on improving, taking advantage of unique features of the consoles for more than just the performance upgrades.
And still, the performance upgrades have been more than enough to leave my satisfied with the improved Destiny 2 experience. At one time I was concerned about Bungie needing to provide ongoing support for the last-gen consoles with the new content, but the implementation of Beyond Light has me confident that they’re optimizing everything to the best of their abilities to include the millions of players still on last-gen, while not making the game feel inherently “held back” by last-gen console support. After all, Bungie’s current model for Destiny 2 relies on that group of players, and to abandon them now or anytime in the next couple of years would be cutting off a significant part of the player base. I expect the full trilogy of expansions (Beyond Light, The Witch Queen, and Lightfall) through fall 2022, and then the year of content following Lightfall, to all be fully supported on last-gen as well.
While not specifically part of the PS5 upgrade, Bungie’s support in making Destiny 2 progression seamless, as well as cross-play between generations is an admirable effort that has kept groups of players together no matter what. Future efforts will bring cross-play on all platforms, even further making the Destiny experience seamless and letting you play where you want, with anyone you want, at any time.
For the console Destiny 2 crowd, the PS5 update is one of the biggest improvements the game has ever gotten. Destiny 2 feels like a whole new game, a whole different experience with a simple little power boost that kicked performance to the next level. Bungie consistently designs the best feeling shooters in games, and to optimize that with a layer of polish and performance afforded by next-gen console capabilities is a big win for players. While it’s missing a few of the more unique PS5 features, Bungie arguably focused on key core improvements. I still hold out hope for DualSense features to be implemented in the future, but Destiny 2 PS5 is one of the most impressive generational game upgrades we’ve seen so far.
Destiny 2 PS5 upgrade was a free update for all players. Reviewed on a PS5. For more information, please read our Review Policy.