Best Destiny 2 settings for performance on PC

It's easier than it seems to apply the best Destiny 2 settings for performance on PC without spoiling the splendour of the game's graphics and art.

Destiny 2 best settings: Key art for the Lightfall campaign, featuring the game's three playable classes in various poses, with the campaign's antagonists looking down ominously

If you’re looking for the best Destiny 2 settings for performance on PC without sacrificing too much in the way of the game’s graphics quality, we’ve got you covered. Here, you’ll find all you need to know about which preset to choose and which options to tune, as well as what accessibility tools are available in Bungie’s sci-fi shooter.

Given that Destiny 2 originally launched on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles, it should run well on practically any gaming PC built in the last several years. That said, upgrading your system with the best graphics card you can get your hands on will likely help improve your experience.

Just don’t forget that you’ll want the best gaming CPU inside your rig too so that your shiny new GPU isn’t held back in its ability to pump out more frames, particularly at lower resolutions.

Best Destiny 2 settings: A group of Guardians charge towards a large enemy emerging from a red spaceship

PCGamesN test rig: MSI MPG Trident AS 11th gaming PC, featuring an Intel Core i7 11700F, MSI Ventus Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070, 32GB of DDR4 3,200MHz RAM, MSI B560 motherboard, and Windows 11.

Before we get into the thick of it, it’s best you download an fps monitor, so you can track your frame rate before and after the changes you make. That way, you know what you’re doing is making a difference.

Best Destiny 2 settings: A Guardian shines brightly as they're cloaked in green light

Best Destiny 2 settings

Here are the best Destiny 2 settings:

  • Anti-aliasing: SMAA
  • Screen space ambient occlusion: HDAO
  • Texture anisotropy: 16x
  • Texture quality: Highest
  • Shadow quality: High
  • Depth of field: High
  • Environment detail distance: High
  • Character detail distance: High
  • Foliage detail distance: Medium
  • Foliage shadows distance: High
  • Lights shafts: High
  • Motion blur: On
  • Wind impulse: On
  • Render resolution: 100%
  • Chromatic aberration: On
  • Film grain: On

Since Destiny 2 lacks a built-in benchmark tool and is a very dynamic game with few wholly repeatable elements, our recommended settings are derived from repeated testing in a variety of gameplay scenarios. During our galaxy spanning benchmarks, we identified several graphics options that you can tweak for an easy performance uplift without severely impacting the quality of the game’s presentation.

As is the case with many other games with expansive environments, Shadow Quality is the most demanding of Destiny 2’s settings. It affects the resolution of shadows, as well as the distance at which they appear relative to your character. Shifting between ‘Highest’ and ‘Lowest’ nets you a sizeable increase in frames per second, but we recommend sticking with ‘High’ for a welcome fps boost without tanking the game’s looks.

Foliage Detail Distance has a similar performance footprint. As its name suggest, it controls the level of detail applied to foliage at varying distances. We feel that ‘Medium’ offers a good middle ground, offering visually similar quality levels to its more expensive counterpart while providing more breathing room for your GPU.

Moving on to Screen Space Ambient Occlusion, opting for ‘HDAO’ sacrifices visuals compared to ‘3D’, but it’s relatively easy to stomach in the name of improving your frame rate. This setting creates shadows where ambient light is occluded by an object, giving a more natural appearance and depth to an environment. While we prefer the more natural look of ‘3D’, you’ll still get a decent showing from ‘HDAO’ in addition to a higher level of performance.

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that both Depth of Field and Field of View can have a surprising effect on Destiny 2’s frame rate. We imagine most people will turn off the former regardless, but tinkering with the latter could help give your gaming PC that last necessary push to achieve your target frame rate.

Destiny 2 best settings: A Guardian hangs in the air, armed with a icy scythe, ready to strike down their foes

Best Destiny 2 presets

The best Destiny 2 preset for those looking for the ideal balance of great visual quality with minimal impact to performance is the ‘High’ preset. While the ‘Highest’ preset naturally offers some nice improvements in graphical fidelity, these enhancements aren’t so much transformative in nature as they are subtle. Dropping to the second-highest preset is an easy compromise to make if you need to bolster your frame rate.

Moving down to ‘Medium’ can help boost fps further, but we generally wouldn’t recommend using it, as it turns down many things that can greatly improve the game’s visuals without a significant cost. Instead, it’s better to use ‘High’ as a starting point and then tweak a few key settings (which in particular you can find out a little further down the page).

This also extends to the ‘Low’ preset, which we’d only ever suggest using if your rig’s specs barely meets the Destiny 2 system requirements. Alternatively, it acts as the perfect option for those looking to push their frame rates as high as possible, no matter the cost.

Best Destiny 2 settings: A Guardian fires a projectile at an enemy

Destiny 2 accessibility settings

Destiny 2 packs a suite of accessibility settings that can be used to help make the game more accommodating to your needs or personal play style. Whether you’d prefer to play it using a gaming keyboard and mouse or with one of the best PC controller you have, you’ll be able to customise bindings to your liking.

The game has several controls for subtitles, including text size and colour. You can also change the style and opacity of the background appears behind the text. Additionally, colour-blind gamers can choose from an assortment of presets for Deuteranopia, Protanopia, and Tritanopia, in addition to choosing the colour of their reticule.

Wondering whether Destiny 2 Steam Deck compatibility is a thing? We’ve got you covered, as there’s a way to play the shooter on Valve’s portable powerhouse.

Download the free PC Game Benchmark FPS Monitor to track your frame rates as you play and spot fps drops.