Destiny: The Taken King Review

When I first heard of Bungie’s new first person shooter, I brushed it aside. To me, it was just another average shooter saturating the market. However, in the months preceding the game’s release I slowly began to develop an interest for it. I heard all these things about a deep and luscious story, awesome gameplay, an interesting loot system and so on. From the release, Destiny has not only improved, but has paved the way for the game to continue to thrive. I think we can all agree that the game was lackluster at the start, but with the meaty  The Taken King expansion, the world of Destiny just got a lot more fun.

DISCLAIMER: DUE TO SCHEDULING ERRORS AND WITH TRYING TO GET THE REVIEW OUT IN A TIMELY MANNER WE DECIDED TO REVIEW THE DLC WITHOUT PLAYING THE RAID. HOWEVER, AT THIS POINT THE RAID IS JUST ICING ON A GREAT DESTINY CAKE.

The one giant complaint from gamers about Destiny from the beginning was that the story-line was shallow. After playing through the story missions myself, I felt as though a lot needed to be explained and that I really had not accomplished much. With the third expansion, Destiny has just about turned a one-eighty in regards to how they develop the story.

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Oryx, The Taken King, has come for you. You have the blood of his son on your hands and he wants his revenge. The big new addition for the game is the new enemy type, the Taken. The Taken take on the form of the other enemy races. However, the various enemy types come with their own unique play style. One play style in particular that I like is that the Taken Psion teleport away from your gunfire. It adds a refreshing element to the gameplay and can catch you off guard. Another thing that I absolutely loved about the story this go round was that the Vanguard’s personalities were developed even more, especially Cayde. While you play through the story missions you will hear Cayde talk a lot, and it’s wonderful. The banter between Cayde and Zavala about mission strategies is a touch that has been long overdue. It finally creates some character development and you get a sense of who these people are.

Once the story is complete the fighting is far from over. FAR FROM OVER. Like light years away. After you finish the story is over you will have plethora of quests to do, and these are not your typical one and done missions. These quests can span over a series of missions and can sport some interesting mechanics. Some quests require you to defeat several Taken Lieutenants in order to summon a more powerful Taken champion. The fights are challenging and actually took me a couple of tries.  During these quests you will fight the Taken alongside the other races, and it can become quite difficult. Some of these quests forced me to bring in some help from friends, because alone I got roasted. The difficulty makes the quests more enjoyable to me. The last two DLCs were not too strenuous, so having more missions that require some preparation and teamwork is very welcome.

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The new strike missions have been totally revamped. Each new mission almost feels like a mini raid, giving you some specific task to complete in order to continue through the mission. They are all very well structured and require a good amount of teamwork to get through them. One of my favorite new strikes really puts emphasis on communication. In the strike you must transport a relic across the strike and place it in designated spots to open the next section. The catch is that the guardian holding the relic is slowed and cannot fire a weapon. This made my fireteam and I have to talk about enemy locations, where and when to move up and so on. It was a blast working through the strike and the boss fight at the end is crazy. While you fight the boss and the extra enemies the room pushes you around, and all while you have to transport a relic. It is a big mess of fun. One thing that I did notice was that trying to complete the new heroic strikes with random players would either lead to everyone leaving or taking way too long to complete them, making you have to play with a fireteam of friends. But nonetheless the strikes are still exciting and challenging.

If you decide to become legend I really hope you like the color blue, because you will see it a lot. Whether you are patrolling the Cosmodrome knocking out bounties or sweating through a heroic strike with your friends, blue engrams will drop like candy prices after Halloween. The interesting thing is that some rare gear you find can be better than legendary gear that you acquire. So every time I see a blue engram I get a little excited and look forward to turning it into the Cryptarch. Loot does drop more often in general and it creates a feeling of satisfaction after running through a tough mission.

The leveling system has been refined and makes more sense, in my opinion. Before, you had to have the right gear with the highest light level to level up, so grinding for gear became exhausting and many people got burned out. Now, you still have the light mechanic, however your level is now determined by your experienced earned and not your light. Each piece of gear you have has a defense rating or damage rating and these ratings add to your light level. The higher light level you have the more difficult missions you can embark on. I love the new leveling system and with it paired to the revamped loot drops it creates a more meaningful and fulfilling grind for gear element.

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Each class now comes with a new subclass, and new sets of abilities. My favorite is the Titan’s subclass, Sunbreaker, in which you wield a fiery hammer to hurl towards your enemies. It is nice to have a ranged ability for my Titan, and busting out that super is a badass feeling. Another thing the Titan receives is a melee ability where once you smack an enemy in the face, a circle of fire will stay on the ground and burn anyone that comes into it. The Warlock’s new subclass is very interesting. The super, once initiated, lets you shoot electricity out of your hands and fry your enemies. It is interesting because typically the Warlock armor is less than that of the other classes and now the new subclass makes you get up close and personal with the enemy. The Hunter is given an energy bow and lets you launch arrows at your foes. This may be the coolest subclass that Destiny has so far.

Destiny has also made some other good changes. You can now turn in your bounties while in orbit, and you can now receive quests for the crucible to get better gear. The gunsmith can now be ranked up also leading to better weapons. There is also new crucible games modes, my favorite being Rift. In Rift, it is basically like capture the flag. However once you grab the relic you have to transport it to the opposing side’s rift. It is a very intense game mode that comes down to the wire. The vanguard playlist has been redone with only three playlists: level 20, level 36 and level 41. The level 41 playlists are tough but in a good way, and each strike has been tweaked to add in the Taken and make the strike fresh and new.

All of these changes have in some way made Destiny a more enjoyable experience. However, the problem I have seen is that if you do not purchase the new expansion then you are just about left behind. If you do not have the Taken King then a lot of the content is not available to you. You can still play the level 20 vanguard playlist, and you can still play the crucible, but a majority of the content is for The Taken King buyers. My sympathy goes out to all the guardians that cannot move forward with the purchase, however new players can buy all of the Destiny content for the price of the original game.

All in all the new Destiny expansion is a fresh start, in my eyes. The new leveling system, beefed loot drops and super fun missions all fit perfectly together. I hope Bungie keeps in this direction and continues to make Destiny the game we all want it to be.

Pros:

+ Improved leveling system

+ Rewarding grind for gear

+ Better storytelling

Cons:

– Leaves non buyers behind

– Playing with randoms is very frustrating

 

Verdict: Play

If you have not played yet or stopped playing it, The Taken King is your reason to become legend.


Jon Moore is the General Manager at The Game Bolt, and loves a good Oreo cookie. For more useless knowledge and nerdy shenanigans follow him on Twitter.