Reviews// Destiny: The Dark Below

Posted 18 Dec 2014 16:45 by
Bungie has come under fire for its first expansion to the ambitious Destiny. Many have complained about the price, been disappointed to find out that the weekly Strike mission was for DLC-buyers only this week and been outraged that the new currency and armour system meant that level 30 characters had to take a few steps back before they could go forward again.

Most of this is inexcusable and seems outright unethical. An Ďexpansioní should be exactly that, expanding on the game thatís out there, not effecting the one that people have already paid for. Bungie and Activision have drawn their line in the sand with this. Youíre either with them or not and well, Iím with them.

Thatís not to say that Iím not a little disappointed with The Dark Below. There are no new planets. No new weapon types, and two of the three missions on offer are shockingly short.

I can completely understand the complaints and after playing what I can of the expansion - what with my level 27 character unable to join the raid at this time - I have to agree that the asking price is a little high. Thatís not to say that the quality is low, itís not.

We have three new Crucible maps, all of which shake up the PVP area a little. The stand-out map being The Cauldron. Reminiscent of Haloís Rat Race, itís tight and encourages teams to stick together. As you run around in your pack picking off stragglers in the other team youíll be reminded why Bungie is so praised for multiplayer combat.

Skyshock is probably the weakest of the three. Its large open areas allow snipers to flourish and it also introduces vehicle combat. Itís fun, but with up-close and personal battles being so limited, it fails to capture the chaos that Destiny has to offer.

The most important addition that The Dark Below has to offer comes in the form NPC Eris, who can be found at The Tower. Sheíll guide you through the new content by drip-feeding you quests as well as offering new gear and bounties. She isnít able to drag the drab plot out from the ditch, but sheís a welcome new face to the now overly familiar break-out space.

The first thing sheíll offer you are the new missions. Theyíre good but nothing new. The first of the three is laughably short and the second only slightly longer. The third is fantastic. Itís challenging and has a climax that will have you and your fire team barking orders at one another while you all concentrate on not blinking. Pure Destiny.

Itís a shame that some new enemy types werenít introduced here. Itís a perfect opportunity missed and it seems more interested in chucking groups of those well-known bad guys at you than introducing a different type of hurdle to jump.

However, Iíd be lying if I told you I didnít enjoy them. Theyíre the same old Destiny, but the same old Destiny is bloody good. Thereís no dip in quality, just a lack of variety.

What are not listed in the rundown sheet of content are the various challenges you have to take part in. There are three knights that you have to hunt down on Earth. Theyíre not too hard to find and itís fun to explore well-known areas looking for something new.

Weekend party boy Xur will also have a new Bounty for you in the shape of a golden urn which must be filled with the ashes of your enemy. You have to kill specific foes in set ways to hit the criteria and it again offers a new challenge for you to get lost in for a few hours.

As for the Strikes, well Xbox One owners have more to complain about. With one of the Strike missions removed from their package the price seems even more harsh. Theyíre fun, as you would expect, but completely sum up the problem I have with The Dark Below. Theyíre a missed opportunity to take fans by surprise.

The Destiny hardcore will know exactly what to expect. Rush to a boss doing the same things youíve done time and time again, then take it on. The new surroundings look amazing but itís not enough to make anything feel different enough.

So I suppose The Dark Belowís worth lays with whether youíre on board with Destiny or not. It won't do anywhere near enough for those people who feel as though they are finished with the game and certainly wont convince those who never liked it in the first place to give it another crack of the whip.

What it does do is allow those who have maxed out their characters something to do. It won't scratch the itch long enough to last until the next expansion, but itíll be enough to feed the addiction that many have.

I just hope that the release of The Dark Below serves as a bit of a lesson for Bungie in that it has to think carefully about how it implements these additions in future. They should never hinder those that havenít purchased them and when youíre asking for a premium price, gamers expect big things.

The Dark Below then offers more of the game I love, but ultimately feels like a missed opportunity.

Pros:
+ More Destiny

Cons:
- Not enough of an expansion
- Penalises those that donít purchase it

SPOnG Score: 6/10

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