After the huge hype before Destiny was finally released last year, a lot of players were left a bit disappointed. Whether it was the high expectations after the pompous announcements that hardly any game could hope to fulfill or the shear amount of elements that were simply mediocre – in the end, it doesn’t even matter. Destiny simply failed to become the next big thing in gaming. But to be honest, even in the state it was released in, it was still a fun game, especially when we consider the core console FPS shooter gameplay that Bungie had years to perfect with the Halo series.
The game got two expansions in the last year- The Dark Below and House of Wolves. Some things were polished up, but the game still divided fans into two categories. The first one being made up of those who have tried the game, got to a certain point and then simply gave up on Destiny after realising that there won’t be any interesting story development and that the only satisfaction they would get from the rest of the game is grinding. The second category are the players who have persevered and continued to log in and grind daily. Even though there are a large number of people in the latter category, when compared to the number of people that had bought Destiny, the amount of those who make up the first category is considerably bigger.
The Taken King is the third expansion and the first component of what Bungie and Activision refer to as ”Destiny Year Two”. The expansion, as well as the 2.0 update which has also been implemented just before its release, bring many fixes, new stories, enemies, missions, classes, abilities and much more, all of which can be taken as a new launch for Destiny.
The first thing you are bound to notice is that your faithful companion has changed his voice overnight. Peter Dinklage’s ghost will gladly be forgotten by most players. Now that place was taken over by the well known voice of Nolan North. He sounds better than his predecessor, although still a bit strange. Maybe the real problem was the not-so-imaginitive generic text and not the voice acting…
The next thing you will surely notice is that the game now actually has a story and characters. No offence to the hardcore Destiny fans, but going online to read cards on Bungie.net, which could maybe have served as an interesting addition, can’t be used to make up for the sheer lack of story and context for why you are doing something in a game that aspires to potentially take hundreds of hours of playing in an MMO fashion. Now we have before us the traditional way of story progression – in the game itself, and not on the developer’s website. There is also the memorable cliché villain Oryx, who’s very angry at you for killing his son Crot during the events of the first expansion. The game now has cutscenes, made in a typical, bombastic, sci-fi manner, and this finally gives a tangible context to your actions in game and gives it everything it lacked a year ago.
All three classes, Titan, Warlock and Hunter, got some new options as well as subclasses. Titans can now hurl a giant flaming hammer that is sure to ruin the day (or life) of anyone who stands in it’s way. This adds an interesting dimension of fighting from a distance to a class that has mostly served to absorb and do damage up close. Warlocks now have the ability to float and shoot lightning from their fingertips. It’s another interesting addition to the tactical approach to battles and, we got to admit, also very stunning visually. Hunters have gained a new bow and arrow that mobilizes opponents which can be a pretty useful addition to your offensive arsenal. New enemies, ‘The Taken’, also contribute to the overall refreshing impression; although you will soon find out that they are more or less very similar to the enemies you’ve been shooting for the past year.
Progression system has been completely overhauled. The dreadful system from the original Destiny which was based on endless grinding has now been replaced with one that allows you to level up by simple questing, killing bosses or playing the Cubicle mode. Speaking of the PvP aspect, expect new maps, better balance of weapons, as well as a few new modes, amongst which Rift stands out the most – it’s a capture the flag mode, but the players carry a ball of electricity instead of a flag.
When we consider the new Raid, and finally dome interesting bosses, shootouts in Destiny suddenly don’t seem as empty and pointless as they did a year ago. Bungie on the other hand continues to insist that the platformer elements can be interesting from first person perspective and it still fails to convince us. The frustration is especially apparent in one of the key new locations in game, a huge ship called Dreadnought, that’s stationed near Saturn. The platforms will disappear from under your feet and that feeling you get when you have to start a section over and over again is definitely not something you’re going to enjoy, and we can’t help but wonder who the hell thought this kind of platforming would be a good idea.
There is no doubt that Destiny is entering it’s second year stronger than ever. If you gave up on the game some seven-eight months ago, this is the ideal opportunity to give it a second go. The entry isn’t really cheap, since the price of the expansion is very near the price of the full game, not to mention that you’re going to need all the previous expansions to play. But keep in mind that Destiny is much better polished and refined compared to its first year, and if you’ve liked what the game had the potential to be, but result had left you indifferent, The Taken King might reassure you with its many fixes.
Author: Marko Narandžić