Reviews// Destiny: Rise of Iron

Posted 11 Oct 2016 10:00 by
I've said this for two years now: Destiny is a game in which you're either in or out.

With two years of DLC it's clear that the focus was to offer more of what fans love rather than change anything to drag more players in.

The Taken King was the exception and is hailed by most as the fix the game needed to put some of the negative opinions of 'Year 1 Destiny' to rest. Hailed by fans and critics alike, it brought a lot to the table and I was hopeful that Rise of Iron would expand on that if not take the game even further in the right direction.

Sadly, Rise of Iron feels more like a return to the old days than expanding on the recent ones.

Destiny players know that the list of content in these DLC packs is always deceiving. On paper you'd think that the asking price was a piss-take. Those in the know, however, are fully aware that there's always more on offer than there first seems and that the amount of time they spend with it will more than justify the cost.

It's not about how many story missions, strikes or raids are included. Most of that content can be played through in a few hours. It's about the stuff hidden away. The puzzles hidden within the walls of the environment and the opportunity to dangle a carrot in front of their own face again after scoffing the last one down some time ago.

It's that familiar feeling of having work to do and trying to find out how to complete it. New goals and fresh valuables kick start that need to focus on the day-to-day workings of this excellent first-person shooter.

Additional Destiny content is an excuse to once again spend time within the game's fun but rather limited universe and the quality of what's on offer makes little difference to how much they'll get out of it.

Which is a good thing for Bungie really. What we have in Rise of Iron is something more comparable to The Dark Below than The Taken King. It feels more run-of-the-numbers than you would hope for with the first DLC for a year and it fails to take on board everything learned by its last effort.

The story that gives the game its title offers promise early on. Reflecting back to when humanity was still a force, The Iron Lords were once a renowned unit of elite warriors who turned their focus to a nano-technological virus called SIVA.

Once their attempt at destroying it failed they sealed it away beneath the Cosmodrome only for The Fallen to discover it and harness its powers. Not a bad premise, but the lore behind Rise of Iron soon falls to peaces as it tries to cram a beginning, middle and end into 5 relatively short story missions.

By the time you're ready to move onto the real side to Destiny you'll wonder if the Iron Lords were ever really anything special. It seems that in just a couple of hours you manage to achieve more than they ever did.

The other frustrating aspect of this plot is that it lends itself to lazy decisions. We're once again fighting the Fallen and although they're supposedly hopped up on some sort of super serum, they act and react just like their original form.

The majority of the new action takes place in the Plaguelands, a new area based just north of Old Russia. Despite it being somewhere new to take the action, everything feels like deja-vu. You don't feel as though this is a new place, which I guess is fair as its not really meant to be, but that wont help calm down your disappointment as you see assets already used in the game at launch.

This new area doesn't feel you with some sort of nostalgic feeling. It's not there to remind you of your old battles. It's just lazy and dull. When The Taken King introduced the Drednaught, it felt like you were discovering something new, while you'll feel like you know your way around the Plaguelands before you even land.

The new strike is equally as uneventful. Reused enemies and content, tinted with new colours to try and distract you from the fact that nothing has changed. Even the final boss is an enemy we've all fought a thousand times before, but this time with a lame trick that'll have you sighing the moment you've worked it out.

The new social area is a snow-covered ruin called the Iron Temple. Again, though, the moment you arrive you'll know where you're going and what you're doing. It's Destiny-By-Numbers stuff. There's one character that'll offer bounties, one who will hand you your post and another who will sell you stuff. It feels like a reflection of The Tower without being able to replace it, meaning that you'll spend more time looking at your ship floating in space while the game loads than you ever have before.

It's all too easy to criticise. As a pack, Rise of Iron feels dated, even in terms of Destiny. We all hoped that this era of the series would go out with a bang, but unfortunately it's more of a puff of smoke.

Destiny is always going to have a special place in my heart and as a fan of the game, Rise of Iron was always going to give me what I needed. An excuse to return to this rather excellent and fulfilling first-person shooter.

For fans of the game all that was required to rope them back in was some new loot and to raise the level cap, and this does that. It's just that more than ever Bungie is now focused on what it plans to release next year rather than what it currently has to offer, and with such a contrast between this and The Taken King, there's absolutely no way it'll be turning the heads of those who looked away a while ago.

Pros:
+ It's Destiny
+ Seriously, I can move my numbers up a bit more

Cons:
- Uneventful
- Waste of a decent plot

SPOnG Score: 6/10

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