Destiny: Rise of Iron [PS4] Review in Progress

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I haven’t picked this title up in nearly a year; since the “Oryx Challenge Ogre Glitch” issue in December 2015. I felt disrespected by a $500 million game and against my better judgement, I left the world of Destiny for what I thought would be for good. . . Then Rise of Iron drops . . .

While not as big as The Taken King in terms of size and scope, its story is centered on the player’s (that’s me) ascension to a next generation of Iron Lord, a multi-mission adventure that largely takes place in a brand new Earth zone dubbed the Plaguelands. If you haven’t played Destiny from the beginning, it’s pretty easy to get caught up, however, I’d recommend playing through the story from the beginning then heading toward new content. I rocked out on my PS4 for a solid six hours of game time and I was really pleased with what I saw and what was offered by this new expansion. It goes a little something like this . . . Spoilers Ahead . . .

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The Fallen have returned, and this time they’re more dangerous than ever. They managed to get their hands (possibly claws of feelers) on some Golden Age tech called SIVA, a self-replicating nano-virus that they’re using to enhance themselves and weapons to gain an advantage in their never-ending war against humanity (that’s us). On top of their physical and technological upgrades, they also managed to breach the wall surrounding the Cosmodrome in Old Russia, and it’s up to the player (again, that’s us) to drive them back.

You start with a mission where you’re assaulting Felwinter Peak to make a foothold so a counter-offensive strike can be mounted against this new SIVA-upgraded Fallen faction called the Splicers. It’s a great opening to the game that starts with a ride up to the mountaintop on a rusting cable car (even though they call it a Gondola) and culminates in a classic Destiny shoot-em-up with baddies when you reach the top.

I’d forgotten about how exciting Destiny‘s settings and designs can be. The fast-moving enemies aren’t easy targets to take down, and can sometimes be a pain when you think you have your shot lined up. The game lets you know pretty early on that you need to keep on your toes and keep your head on a swivel to ensure you aren’t overwhelmed. It took me a few minutes to get back into the swing of things, and then I started to remember the routine of guerrilla tactics, popping out from behind cover and shooting at enemy targets before making a mad dash to a safe spot to decide what to go after next, and recovering health if needed. It makes for a game that feels dynamic and challenging – at least it does to me, a born again Destiny guy.

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With Felwinter Peak liberated from the Fallen, the location becomes the expansion’s social hub where you get to talk to Lord Saladin, the last remaining Iron Lord, who outlines the plan of attack. What transpires is a fairly short, but quite tough series of story line missions that will probably take an average solo player the better part of an evening to work through. That being said, I had a buddy of mine running missions with me. Although he’s a total noob, two Guardians are better than one. I’m confident Destiny regulars will be able to complete them all in a few hours, especially if they team up with other Guardians.

The new story missions themselves vary, although some of their mechanics feel recycled from earlier expansions. I still found them entertaining to play through, mainly because I hadn’t played in months. Enemies are generally fast-moving and smart, while the tougher characters remain bullet sponges that require a good deal of ammo to tear down. Long story short, it’s very much Destiny in terms of its style and feel. Those who were hoping for something a little different might be disappointed, but I think that for the most part, the Destiny faithful will enjoy the story line campaign’s action.

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When you reach the end of the new main story missions, the game opens up patrols in the Plaguelands, and a new strike, the Wretched Eye. Those, along with the new Archon’s Forge public event, and the latest raid, Wrath of the Machine that opens on the day of this review (stay tuned for that review), essentially represent the endgame PvE content for Rise of Iron. I jumped into the new Wretched Eye strike last night, and my noob team mate and I were lucky enough to get matched with a fairly good player who made short work of it. We could barely keep up with him as he blew through the enemies on the approach to the strike’s final boss (to be honest, I was hanging back to soak in all the new visuals and because I was live streaming it so it’d make for a better content stream). It took the combined might of all three of us to bring down the strike boss in the end. I’d probably have a tougher time of it with other players but my team mates and I ran together like a well oiled machine (too cliche?).

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Now don’t get me wrong, I most certainly was not expecting an expansion as grand and epic as The Taken King. In some places the story aspect of Rise of Iron definitely does feel a little on the lean side. Everything it has to offer is fun but it just left me wanting more. But then again, I haven’t yet gotten into the endgame content and that’s probably where the real satisfaction is. There are artifacts to collect that imbue your character with special abilities that sound very interesting, loads of new weapons to collect, and, hopefully, a lot of new secrets to discover.

I’ll continue to pew pew pew my way through side missions in the quest for better loot and hopefully get the new raid done in the next few days and come back with a review of those new features to this latest expansion. What do you think of Destiny: Rise of Iron so far? Sound off in the comments.

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