Destiny: The Taken King – Expansion Review
Well wasn’t Destiny a strange release 12 months ago? The game sold millions with players all around the world putting countless hours into Bungie’s first multiplatform shooter. But the funny thing was that despite the staggering sales and the horde of players online at any given time of the day, Destiny attracted a hefty amount of criticism and hate from the gaming community. It was the game everyone wanted to complain about and yet couldn’t stop playing. I am not saying these complaints were undeserved (they most certainly were) but despite the problems Destiny continued to host a huge amount of players. Now a year and two expansion packs later Bungie have released The Taken King, their answer to these complaints and while some issues still exist Destiny has never been better.
Let me get the bad stuff out of the way first. I want it to be noted that the pricing model is dodgy to say the least. The Taken King costs as much as a full new AAA title and despite having a good amount of content it feels like too much for an expansion pack. Also the way the game is being sold is really a kick in the face for people that already have Destiny and the previous expansions. These people are only getting a small discount on the product, which seems unfair considering the dedication to the game they have already shown. The flip side to this is however that players on their first journey through Destiny are getting a great deal. The full game plus all three expansions so it is perfect for the new player. I just wish there were some better options for everyone else especially at retail.
Now onto the good stuff and thankfully there is a lot of it. The new story missions are easily the best the game has seen. The most pleasing thing for me was the fact that Bungie finally remembered that they had the voice talents of one of the most charismatic men in the entertainment industry at their disposal and finally put him to good use. That’s right Nathan Fillion has gone from a talking Wikipedia entry to a fully-fledged entertaining character. He is basically playing Malcom Reynolds again but really I don’t think anyone would be too upset by that. In fact all of the voice work artists have a lot more to do this time around and the addition of Nolan North (replacing the Dinklebot) has certainly added a lot more colour to proceedings. What is great is that the story is worthy of these voice actors as well. I mean it isn’t Shakespeare but there is a nice b grade Sci/Fi tale here that is much better than the non-existent story Destiny originally served up.
Another massive improvement to the game is the overhauled experience system. Gone is the confusing light system and in its place is a much more traditional exp based levelling system. This structure was in place until I reached level 40 when it converted into a less complicated version of the previous light system. It all makes much more sense this time round and along with an increase in weapon and armour drops has improved the end game enjoyment immensely. This time around it seems like everything is designed to keep me playing as opposed to getting in the way of me having a good time.
The new strikes are also super entertaining, but that is no surprise. For me the strikes have always been the best part of Destiny and they haven’t messed with the winning formula. I still thing that three players is an odd number and with the difficulty of some of the new missions it would have been nice to have an extra party member there to help out. Speaking of difficulty the game has gotten significantly harder thanks to the new enemies called the Taken. These new enemies are possessed versions of previous cannon fodder but this possession has given them new abilities that force a change of tactics. Some create impenetrable shields, some split into two creating more targets, some blasted me with darkness that obscured my vision and some used super powerful homing missiles as their main attack. This really made me change the way I approached battles and forced me to prioritise specific enemies to stop from being overwhelmed. All this adds up to an improvement on an already exciting combat system that on more than one occasion left me white knuckled and breathless.
What this all boils down to is Destiny: The Taken King really is the game that should have been first released to the public. It improves on all the areas that the original struggled with and even polishes up the things it did right. The new missions are great, there is finally a story and the new powers for each of the classes are highly entertaining. Despite the pricing issues there is no doubt that the quality of Destiny finally matches its ambition which is amazing to see. If there was ever a reason to dive back into this interesting world that Bungie has created then this is it. See you in the Cosmodrome Guardian!