Destiny: Rise of Iron Review
Bungie’s game Destiny has had some troubling beginnings that have slowly faded away with the addition of each expansion. Rise of Iron makes the largest leap forward into territory that makes the game worth every cent dropped, but it still misses a few beats. While the amount of content in the expansion is less than desirable, it makes for a great experience for old and new players alike.
Destiny has been known for not having the best story, making players yawn and button mash their way through cutscenes. Rise of Iron offers a story that still doesn’t quite grasp audiences the way they would have hoped, but it’s a good enough story to mention. The Iron Lords, a group of tough individuals that serve the people by protecting them from threats, have come across a threat that killed all but one of them. The surviving member, Lord Saladin, is determined to find the threat that killed his friends, and you’re going to help him do so.
So you jump into the game climbing a snowy mountain with strong enemies that fans of the series should recognize by now. Eventually, you discover that there is an ancient technology in the universe known as SIVA that can create “perfected” versions of lifeforms, but that said technology got into the wrong hands. From then on, you just shoot your way through hordes of minions until the threat is eliminated once and for all. It’s generic at best, but gets the job done enough to propel the player through the five story missions the expansion offers.
New Light, Loot, and Levels
Rise of Iron wouldn’t be called an expansion if it didn’t expand upon the vanilla and latest version of the game, and here is where it shines. Players will be happy to hear that the Gjallarhorn, a magnificent beast of a rocket launcher that not only homes in on targets but detonates into smaller fragments, is back for the fight. The missions to acquire the rocket launcher are more interesting than the actual story missions, and these just have you fight off hordes of enemies as you defend a few control points. These missions are even the same length as the Rise of Iron ones in terms of hours spent and number of missions available.
Outside of the Gjallarhorn, there are countless new exotics, weapons, and armor pieces for people to discover and equip. With the new Light level being raised from 335 to 385, and this process taking quite some time to achieve the new maximum, players will spend numerous hours out in the Plaguelands trying to get all the loot available. The satisfaction of getting a new exotic after a Strike (a small dungeon with a boss at the end), or getting one from a random drop is still very much there. In fact, Rise of Iron makes the satisfaction a bit more euphoric due to how many items they’ve added.
They have also added new maps and modes for those that like Crucible, Destiny‘s slang for multiplayer. If anyone has played Kill Confirmed from Call of Duty, then the new mode Supremacy shouldn’t be too different. If you kill someone, they drop a relic that you have to collect in order to get points. If a teammate dies, you can pick up their relic to stop the enemy team from collecting. It’s a nice addition to what is already there, but it isn’t original, something that a space shooter could definitely be. The new maps don’t have much to say about them other than they are mediocre. Players, old and new, will find themselves wanting to play the original ones instead.
Strikes and Raid
Destiny, much like other MMORPGs, offers most of its content towards the end of the game. Rise of Iron offers up immediate Strikes to complete that will give you a few items per run that are higher Light level than your own, and it never grows stale. You’ll have to do it dozens and dozens of times just so you can access the raid (which has a recommended Light level of 370), but the wait is worth it.
Wrath of the Machine. A name that is far more ominous and threatening than King’s Fall ever was. I’m not going to spoil too much about the raid for those that haven’t played it, but it’s a refreshing taste after the last raid. You’ll still have to work together with a group of up to six players or else you will fail. You’ll still have to shoot all the minions you can, and then you may start peppering the boss. You’ll still find chests here and there that offer up better gear than what you have equipped. You’ll find all of the same things as before here, but just the natural progression through the raid feels more organic, an irony in and of itself.
It’s just a shame that there aren’t more raids for you to plunder, especially since other AAA games offer at least three end-game raids. Rise of Iron does provide roughly a six hour raid from start to completion, and this is if you do it flawlessly with the perfect team.
The lack of content, especially for the asking price of $29.99, is my only real issue with the expansion. The launch of it was smooth, the story was decent, and the new guns and gear made the grind worthwhile. The raid at the end felt satisfying, and the community involved was still helpful like it was in the past. It’s just that after the raid, there isn’t much to do other than sit and wish there was more content that fit the price tag.
Since the release of Destiny back in 2014, there have been no new classes or sub-classes, the maximum level has only increased to 40 (something that should have been raised with Rise of Iron), and only a handful of raids have been added. While the game is much, much better than it was back in 2014, and Bungie has slowly developed and molded the game into what they originally envisioned, it’s still got a long way until it’s a game that everyone should play.
For those who own the game already, the price tag is a bit steep for what is in store, but players who don’t already own Destiny can purchase it in its entirety for just $60, which is what the full game is worth at this point. Rise of Iron is an experience that gives a sweet taste at first, but it soon dissolves into a bland taste that you wish would just give you more flavor.