Since Destiny: Rise of Iron launched, I’ve been playing it regularly, in a similar manner that I did when The Taken King did last year. Though, it will no doubt be put back into hibernation by the end of this month until next year’s update I can say I have had a lot of fun with it.
That being said, while it has taken a casual player like myself the best part of a month to get through everything it has to offer, compared to The taken King it feels like there’s a lot less to do and that more dedicated players could easily tear their way through over the course of a long weekend.
Rise of Iron’s campaign sees the Guardian’s assist Lord Saladin, the last remaining Iron Lord. Battling against a nanobot plague from the Golden age known as SIVA that all but wiped out the Iron Lords and most of humanity. Taking players to the snow-capped mountains of Felwinter Peak, Rise of Iron has a distinctive Red and White motif running through it, along with plenty of massive hammers and medieval looking armour that makes it feel more like a Norse saga than the adventures in space that have come before it.
The problem is that there simply isn’t enough of it. With the campaign done and dusted in as little as 90 minutes. Though it does do an admirable job of setting up the expansions new missions and public events, and has an absolutely kick ass end boss fight featuring melee combat against a deluge of enemies. It all soon fades into the background and the steps taken to get there are ultimately forgettable.
Rise of Iron unsurprisingly does feature some of the best looking areas in the game, no doubt because Bungie decided to skip the PS3 and Xbox 360, with Archon’s Forge in the Plague lands being a particular feast for the eyes.
Archon’s Forge, also reinforces the fact that Destiny is best played with others. Basically a giant arena style horde mode situated inside a new Patrol mission. The Forge allows others but others to join in the fun if they stumble upon your instance of the game. In order to get the most out of it though you need a team with you as you can only queue up a Forge encounter with a SIVA offering item dropped by SIVA type enemies, and each character can only carry one at a time.
If you’re playing by yourself though it can take up to an hour of constant grinding to get the item and then you have to wait for randoms to turn up to have a crack at it. As such, if you’re a lone Destiny player you will probably not get a lot out of it, or simply miss it entirely. However, If you can get a few people together it’s a rewarding addition that feels like the part of the game The Prison of Eldars should have been, and a much more team orientated alternative to The Court of Oryx.
Though the three strikes included in Rise of Iron include new elements like traps and attempt to create a more challenging experience by given players less places to hide, I would be hard pressed to call them all new. Two of the three levels are re-used, which makes me wonder why they didn’t just rejigger all of the Strikes? Even if they only made it randomly swap out a few enemies for new ones and attached some new rewards to them, it would have given players an excuse to go back to older content. As it stands there’s only six strikes worth playing which become a boring, if necessary, grind.
The Gjallarhorn rocket launcher has also been reintroduced as a “Year 3” weapon this time handed out at the end of a story quest. This was probably done to eliminate the weird rift it created between players when it was first introduced back in year one where many groups required potential team mates to have one.
The problem is that everyone uses it now, and since you can only have one Exotic weapon equipped at a time, just like Year 1 the tactics being employed by players feel limited as a result.
Rise of Iron’s main event though, is undoubtedly – Wrath of the Machine. It’s a rather epic raid, the SIVA enemies encountered throughout are a little more interesting, both aesthetically and strategically, than the Taken were. It’s not a particularly difficult raid, but a fun experience all the same, and the final fight against Aksis is one of the games better boss fights.
Destiny’s PVP mode AKA the “Crucible” hasn’t had much done to it in Rise of Iron save for the addition of three new maps and a new mode called Supremacy that is basically Kill Confirmed from Call of Duty in everything but name. I think this is the right move mainly because Crucible has always been the mode that felt like it always worked, and if it isn’t broke, why bother fixing it.
Destiny: Rise of Iron is an odd expansion. After The Taken King went to great lengths to shake up almost every part of Destiny (mostly for the better). Rise of Iron is a much safer and less radical expansion. There’s less new stuff for existing players to dive into, though admittedly most of what has been added is of a high quality, and besides regular players aren’t really the ones that need convincing – you’ll buy the DLC and Activision knows it.
But taken as a complete package, with the inclusion of Rise of Iron on top of the base game and three good expansions. Destiny is very easy to recommend.