I have certain friends that seem to always be playing Destiny. It doesn’t matter what new releases just came out, they’re always running strikes that they’ve done hundreds of times before in order to up their light number, and complaining that a game they’ve spent 500 hours in doesn’t have enough content. That isn’t how I’ve experienced Bungie’s shooter. Instead of playing the game consistently, I tend to play for 10-20 hours each time an expansion hits, have my fill, and then wait until next major release. The grind has never seemed interesting to me, and I really don’t feel like I’m missing much by playing the game in a much more casual manner.
I recently launched Destiny for the first time in probably half a year because the first-person shooter’s latest expansion — Rise of Iron — is now available. The first major update since The Taken King hit in September of 2015, Rise of Iron adds a new set of story missions that take place in a new area of Earth called the Plaguelands. Considering how Earth was the very first planet that players explore in Destiny, it was refreshing to revisit it and fight against more powerful enemies. Sadly, the Plaguelands is a whole lot of snow, and it didn’t feel as different or interesting as previous added locations (like the giant alien spaceship called the Dreadnaught).
While the location didn’t exactly wow me visually, it’s still nice to have another setting where I can run patrols and just explore. Destiny has never been exactly a content-rich experience, so I’m never going to be bummed about having new areas. There’s a new hub area here as well, which is a temple on top of a mountain that has a bunch of cute wolves living there.
This hub area isn’t actually unlocked from the get-go, as the first story mission revolves around reclaiming the temple from the Fallen (which are the insect-looking enemies, if you haven’t memorized all of Destiny‘s lore). That’s probably the most interesting story mission in the rather short campaign, which is a pretty big bummer. The Taken King felt like such a huge step forward for Destiny as it added in better storytelling and mission design, and Rise of Iron largely feels like a small step backwards.
The story revolves around a lot of obscure Destiny lore that had me completely lost and the narrative isn’t presented in a very compelling way. It’s a lot of running back to the temple in between missions in order to receive a paragraph of text on what to do next, and then killing a bunch of Fallen. There aren’t as many cutscenes or dialogue sequences here, and it makes the entire experience seem less grand in scale.
Despite this feeling like a step backwards, I can’t deny that Rise of Iron is still a lot of fun to play. The gunplay in Destiny is still top-notch, and there are few shooters that I’d rather be getting precision kills in. A lot of the battles revolve around fighting against genetically modified Fallen (which has been done by Splicers, the Fallen version of a mad scientist), that have been made more powerful due to the experimentation. Sadly, after a few enjoyable, yet non-memorable, missions, the game ends with a boss encounter that’s as forgettable as the rest of the story.
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I may have been disappointed by the mission design for the single-player, but I was actually pleasantly surprised by the multiplayer additions to Destiny. I’ve never really enjoyed playing the Crucible, but the new mode they’ve added in is actually a blast. Called Supremacy, it plays like Call of Duty‘s Kill Confirmed mode. You’ll find yourself collecting orbs after you murder an enemy, and it quickly becomes an addicting experience. I doubt Destiny will become my new go-to multiplayer game, but I do know that I’m going to boot it up more often now that there are new maps (all of which I found enjoyable to play on) and an additional mode that I really enjoy.
The other major addition is a raid called Wrath of the Machine. This is another crazy mission that will take a group of six a handful of hours to complete. Once again, the raid is one of the coolest moments of Destiny, but you’ll have to grind light (and basically set aside an entire afternoon) in order to do it. It’s kind of disappointing that Destiny locks away its coolest content, as the boss fights seen in Wrath of the Machine are actually more interesting than the ones in the core story missions.
Rise of Iron is a run-of-the-mill expansion pack for Destiny. It’s very much of the same quality as House of Wolves and The Dark Below, instead of the game changing The Taken King. That isn’t a huge issue, as The Taken King managed to fix a lot of issues with the core game, but it’s simply just more Destiny. If you’re still regularly running strikes then it’s a no-brainer purchase, but anyone who stopped playing isn’t really missing much by not jumping back in.
This review is based on the PS4 version, which we were provided with.