Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
We played on: Xbox One
It seems like Bungie has finally found their rhythm in the management of their current flagship franchise, Destiny. When the game originally came out, it was kind of a mess. Even basic things like the quest and bounty tracking interface were deeply flawed. But when Destiny’s second expansion House of Wolves came out, they fixed a lot of the things that badly needed fixing and generally began moving the game in the right direction. I am very pleased to say that the newest expansion, the The Taken King, continues that trend. For one thing, the quest and bounty interface is much improved.
The story has never been Destiny’s strong point. In this expansion, Oryx, The Taken King, is trying to take over the solar system. You have to infiltrate his ship and defeat him before he destroys civilization.
Minor improvements aside, I have always thought that Destiny had two major flaws to overcome. First of all, there wasn’t a lot of variety in Destiny’s gameplay. Many of the endgame activities, especially PvE content, felt really repetitive. This was compounded by Destiny’s other major flaw, which was that the game didn’t reward you enough for doing those activities. House of Wolves did a lot to fix both problems with the Prison of Elders, a repeatable PvE activity that was always a little different and almost always at least somewhat rewarding. The Taken King does a lot more.
Where House of Wolves was all about Prison of Elders, The Taken King gives you good reasons to do every type of PvE activity that Destiny has to offer. Like every Destiny expansion so far, The Taken King starts with a series of story missions. But the real fun starts after you’ve “defeated” the big bad final boss. First of all, there is no shortage of quests to do after the main story missions are completed. I’ve been playing obsessively since the expansion was released and I still have two full pages of quests to complete. The rewards are various and rather exciting. I completed one quest the other day that gave me a sword as a heavy weapon. I was not expecting that. I have another quest that will eventually reward me with a really cool-sounding shotgun when my character is powerful enough to complete it. But the best part about these quests is that their objectives are so varied. Some of them require you to go on patrol and gather items or hunt for hidden enemies. Some of the quests require you to enter the Crucible, Destiny’s PvP mode, and complete objectives there. There are even some basic story missions that sort of trickle out as quest objectives after the main story has been completed.
The most surprising thing to me is that they actually managed to make Patrol mode fun, especially on the Dreadnaught, which is the Taken King Oryx’s gigantic warship. They really seem to have focused on making the Dreadnaught fun to explore. There are tons of hidden passageways containing various treasures and plenty of mysteries to solve. For example there are a bunch of treasure chests hidden throughout that require keys. So far I’ve figured out how to open only one of them. I think I might know how to open the others in theory, but in order to find out I’m just going to have to hunt my way through the Dreadnaught until I stumble upon the answer. I could probably look it up and figure out exactly what to do, but the crazy thing is that I don’t really want to. I want to take my time exploring and figuring it out, and that’s not something I thought I’d ever say about Destiny.
ESRB Rating and Group Play
Destiny is one of the few big first-person shooters that’s rated T, not M. The Taken King continues Destiny’s T rating (for animated blood and violence). Another thing that might interest readers of this website: Patrol mode on the Dreadnaught is a great way to play with friends and family of various skill levels. It’s rewarding and fun, but it doesn’t need to be difficult unless you want it to be.
Bungie has made a ton of improvements to Destiny’s PvE (player vs. environment) side, but they haven’t neglected the PvP (player vs. player) fanatics either. I spent the vast majority of my time before this expansion in the Crucible, so I consider myself as belonging to the PvP-loving category. If you’re like me in that way, you were maybe getting tired of the status quo because you’ve played maybe hundreds of games on the same maps against people that use abilities and weaponry that by this point are extremely familiar. The Taken King shakes things up considerably. There are a bunch of new maps, the weapons have all been rebalanced, a bunch of new weapons have been introduced, and there are even new subclasses with new and exciting abilities that lend themselves to new and exciting tactics.
Truly, this expansion has done more for both the PvE and PvP aspects of the game than any of the DLC that came before it. I can’t wait to see what Bungie does with Destiny in the future.