Destiny: Rise of Iron Review
With The Taken King, Bungie revolutionized the very core of Destiny. The last expansion, Rise of Iron, is more of the same in most departments. Although there’s a good amount of content in the way of a cinematic campaign, a plethora of quests afterwards, and some SIVA strikes along with a couple of additions on the PvP side. But most importantly, Rise of Iron proves that Destiny is on the up and stabilizing after a rough start with the base game. A strong narrative that doesn’t completely pan out, some real fun with the new PvP mode, and the same addicting gameplay and systems make Rise of iron a successful, albeit safe, expansion.
The new expansion takes us back to the time of the Iron Lords, long before Guardians roamed the galaxy. An ancient threat is revealed to have returned as Lord Saladin walks us through the history of the Iron Lords and our new position as the next generation of warriors. The best thing about the story is the mystery of the threat as the quickly introduced SIVA is tearing apart the Cosmodrome, leading to the formation of The Plaguelands, as the Fallen are close to capturing the tech and doing damage against the Guardians. Enemy variation is again done through cosmetic alterations of the original factions, although this time around it makes more sense in the context of the story with SIVA being able to manipulate its surroundings as you stroll through the melted and charred setting of The Plaguelands.
“I continuously caught myself completely zoned out and just enamoured by the sheer size of the ships and mile high structures constantly seen throughout the campaign.”
Central to the success of the story is Lord Saladin as his badass personality and the voice-acting fit his role as the last surviving Iron Lord. In just a few short missions, Saladin’s faith in you to carry out the mission made him endearing and he’d even refer to you as ‘young wolf’. Further into the short campaign, I was struck by the massive structures Destiny which gives the environments a real sense of presence. I continuously caught myself completely zoned out and just enamoured by the sheer size of the ships and mile high structures constantly seen throughout the campaign. An interesting boss fight and an explosive finale round out the story although when you know that nothing will happen to the Tower or the Traveller, it makes these grand story arcs feel like side quests. In a linear title, anything can happen and everything is subject to change in the story as you make your way through the campaign. Unfortunately, Destiny isn’t set up that way in that all will be well in order for the game to actually function – the game wouldn’t really work if the Traveller is ever destroyed or the Tower collapses to the ground – which all but guarantees there won’t be many story risks or significant plot twists.
The Plaguelands, the SIVA infested expansion on Old Russia, isn’t the only new area as the Iron Temple, home of the Iron Lords, serves as an additional Tower base for players to speak to characters involved in Rise of Iron’s storyline. The all-new Wretched Eye strike is bundles of fun with competent partners – let’s just say my first experience wasn’t so great with AFK teammates and those with an addiction to suicide. My favorite part would be battling Splicer enemies, which is explained in the story, down a missile silo jumping from platform to platform. Having three Guardians battle twisted enemies coming from all directions is Destiny at its best and this new Strike is more than competent and ends in a familiar, but enjoyable, boss fight.
What I was surprised by in Rise of Iron was how much I liked the new PvP additions in the form of a couple of maps set on a variety of planets and the Supremacy mode. The new game variant is similar to Kill Confirmed in the Call of Duty games but this time getting a kill earns your team a point on top of snatching the orbs that drop from your enemies. The mode is hectic and a ton of fun especially when it comes down to the wire. I’ve had matches that swung back and forth between the two teams as one gained a six point lead before the other came back and did the same setting up a thrilling and cautious finale. And finally, two years after the release of Destiny, private matches are added to the Rise of iron expansion. After the feature was a staple of Bungie’s Halo titles for a decade, it was more than a little surprising that the studio decided to exclude them for whatever reason but better late than never.
Rise of Iron is a competent and sound expansion for a game that, for the last year, has been consistently delivering a high quality experience. Destiny’s year one woes can be forgotten as fans have a ton of quests and endgame content to look forward to with this final expansion before next year’s highly anticipated sequel. A mysterious Halo-esque narrative and the surprisingly fun multiplayer additions alongside some new areas to explore make Rise of Iron easy to recommend as more updates and patches are sure to make for an even better experience.
For our thoughts on the Wrath of the Machine raid, stay tuned to COGconnected.
***A PS4 review code was provided by the publisher***
- Strong narrative and characters
- Supremacy PvP Mode
- Good amount of contenthd
- Story takes no risks
- Not as revolutionary as The Taken King