Hey guys, Horus back on the writing block and its been a while. Now that the semester is over, I can get back to abusing my keyboard for something more constructive outside of school work… and I want to talk about Destiny’s new expansion, “Rise Of Iron”, which released back in September (so it was practically a while ago).
Now Destiny is a Sci-Fi shooter; that’s enough for me to be interested in what they have to offer via lore and story. There’s a lot of mystery shrouding certain enemies you fight, or the factions you represent. But one that really caught my eye was the Iron Lords and their de facto leader “Lord Saladin“, who only shows up to present the Iron Banner event at the end of every month (now at the beginning apparently). This event tests Guardians in the crucible and awards them with unique weapons and armor available only under this Banner. The design has always caught my eye and several other players and it shows this illustrious creative form of honor and respect that little else in this game seems to uphold. So with the release of an entire expansion based on this event and it’s character, Saladin really got us excited to see what the Iron Lords were all about.
Considering the price drop from the previous expansion, from $45 to $30, you would think nothing of it besides “maybe Bungie and Activision decided to do a price drop for our sake”. We could only hope, right? Well the expansion is definitely smaller than the Taken King expansion, which had us exploring the Dreadnought for hours to discover its hidden secrets. This one barely opened up the map for us to really demand exploration. It did add a few things to the game, such as a new public event called The Archon’s Forge, which allows Guardians to do this wave based activity to unlock unique rewards should it be completed. Comes in 3 difficulties to really challenge the players before tackling the new Raid. And with the new raid comes a new set of armor and weapons, including room gimmicks to complete it.
So new Raid, new activities, new armor colors, new weapons and armor, new story, and the return of the legendary Gjallarhorn Rocket Launcher. What you would want from a new expansion right? The story on the other hand? Fell incredibly short for me. It introduces the new type of enemy for us to fight, which are upgraded Fallen enemies under this new skin called “SIVA“. It’s a kind of revolutionary metal that can “create anything a civilization requires, if controlled properly in theory” according to Saladin himself. Apparently the Iron Lords discovered this metal and tried to use it for the sake of humanity and it turned on them. It’s borderline sentient and very manipulative and thus uncontrollable and many died to seal it in underground vault with Saladin as it’s sole survivor. But the story is incredibly short and you’ll beat it within an hour or so with about 8 story missions for you to complete and thus leaving you to your own devices with the side quests and strike missions. At the end of the story mission you become an Iron Lord yourself and aim to put SIVA to rest permanently via the Raid but it was so lackluster.
From the start of the game you accomplished defeating the Vex Mind at the heart of their home in the Black Garden, killing what your Ghost claims is a God. Then you defeated the first son of the Taken King Crota, who the Hive considered a God, and I mean Jesus he was such a big deal to them. You even killed him with his own sword at that! Talk about utter disrespect. Then you moved on to hunting a Fallen criminal named Skolas who betrayed the Awoken and, after catching him, they let you fight him in prison. You captured a wanted criminal…..and then kill him in prison. LET THAT SINK IN FOR A BIT. That’s wild beyond imagination! And after all that you think you had enough? Nope. Now you have to fight Crota’s pappy Oryx (who by proxy is also considered a god since he’s Crota’s father so by definition he’s a god too. So you kill nothing but gods all day), who has the ability to turn other alien species into his “Taken Horde” which are like these weird strobe light silhouette kind of enemies that can short warp from one position to the other. They were incredibly annoying to fight, and fighting Oryx was no joke. You had to take him in two parts: once in the story and then again in the Raid. In which, his Raid form is super gimmicky and left some of us with PTSD. All of these practically memorable moments in Destiny history and this new one is almost a complete boring one.
I’m not going to spoil too much on the story end, because there were a few highlights worth enjoying for new players to the franchise… but it wasn’t enough. Destiny didn’t do enough with this new SIVA threat at all. The enemies are nothing new AI wise, with the exception of a few new things, but easily dismissive. It’s just a re-skin for the Fallen and they’re not hard to deal with whatsoever. So the story was lackluster and short, the enemies aren’t anything new at all, The Forge gets old after a certain light level and thus quickly forgettable, and the new section they opened up in the Cosmodrome isn’t as vibrant and open as the portion that was already opened previously. It’s just snow everywhere with SIVA all over the place. It was amazing sight at first, but then it’s just a bunch of junk and metal parts hammered together, like a few places you might recognize in Mad Max or something but without the post apocalyptic theme. I’m clearly disappointed. But the Raid is actually interesting and fun. It’s not super gimmicky and with a decent team you can get through it relatively quickly… without it being a complete and utterly miserable experience. I’ll tip my hat and say the return of Sepiks Prime strike was also something I looked forward to since he was the first strike boss we ever faced and I never forgot what that was like. We got a few little easter eggs and cool stuff, but not enough to mention as way to save this expansion.
We are currently going through the winter holiday event, which has a ton of stuff for us to collect and activities for us to do for the 4 weeks it’s available. This includes the return of the Sparrow Racing League, which was a nifty little add on from last year I was hoping would remain moreso monthly than every winter. Destiny still has a long way to go before it can really claim the title of a really good experience, but it’s not entirely boring game either. It’s an unhealthy balance of really good content with medium to low replay value. This requires a lot of in between from the developers to keep us playing. Otherwise, we’ll just leave it there until the next real update.