September the 9th 2014 saw the launch of Destiny which was, at the time, disappointing for the majority of people who played it, this is unfortunately the beginning of the history of Destiny, but it is the truth that even die hard fans such as myself must accept. Many people left the game for ever soon after the launch of the game, some people left for varying periods of time, destined to return when future expansions were released. Then there are some who have stuck with the game through thick and thin and played through the best times of the game, but also the worst. I would consider myself in the third group of players who have never really stopped playing it, over the last three years I have amassed over 500 hours and have seen this game evolve on such a spectacular scale over there last three years. I come to you today, mere hours before the release of the much anticipated Destiny 2, to look back on Destiny as a whole, to look at the state of the game after the updates and expansions have finished. Destiny has been updated for the last time, and so I can give you all today, my final review of Destiny.
I would firstly like to start of by talking about the developing story Destiny players have witnessed over the last 3 years. The story of Destiny is regarded by many as worthy of nothing more than being the laughing stock of modern narrative gaming; and whilst it did begin, at least on the surface, with a note that still makes very little sense or impact today, the ensuing additions to the story and characters of the world of Destiny are something to behold. It is undeniable that the best stories of Destiny are locked away in the Grimoire cards that are collected in game, yet read elsewhere. Taking some time to either read these cards, or allow others to summarise the important parts, will reveal a depth to the characters and world that I hadn't thought possible before further seeking the lore of Destiny. For those who choose to learn it, Destiny holds some incredible rich stories and a vivid cast of characters. It is unfortunate then, that within the game itself these assets of the story are put to very poor use. Even in the two major story expansion packs, The Taken King and Rise of Iron, which both do well to expand the story, yet feel highly confined by the narrative groundwork layered out from the original release of Destiny. It has been this poor start to the story of Destiny that has resulted in follow up stories still hiding their greatest stories and narrative teases in places that most players will never look. You would be a fool to say that the world of Destiny has no story, but a scholar to suggest that these narrative feats are immeasurably weighed down by the chosen method of delivery.
Next I would like to talk about the Strikes in Destiny, these are 15 to 20 minute activities that I would class as the primary method of levelling up your character to reach the end game. For example you can currently level up to Light 390 with end of strike rewards, it is the final push from 390 to 400 that require different levelling tactics other than playing strikes over and over. I have played on average each strike 92 times, and I think is incredible that they are still enjoyable for me. This is baring in mind the fact that I haven't needed to play strikes to level up for a very long time, I have simply continued to play them because I enjoy them! Part of this enjoyment stems from the modifiers that are featured on the Strike Playlist on any given week, it is clear to me that the more enjoyable boons that buff your character, making the strike easier, are the times when I play Strikes more. However if the random modifiers for the week are such that they reduce the power of the player, thus making the activity less fun for me, I will play far less.
Now I want to talk about the Raids of Destiny, arguably the jewel in the Crown of the game, these are the hardest activities available to the player, but they also offer some of the most prestigious loot. Walk around the Tower equipped with armour from the latest Hard Raid and heads will turn. There have been four Raids released over the last 3 years, The Vault of Glass, Crota's End, Kings Fall and Wrath of the Machine, all of which have their own unique mechanics as well as high points and low points. Each raid is made up of 3 core encounters, each of which usually provide slightly greater difficulty than the last, until you reach the final boss which have 2 phases to them. These final bosses grant the best rewards from the Raids, in the form of Primary weapons as well as the elusive Raid Helmets. In all my years as a gamer, nothing has ever quite come close to the feeling of seeing that last sliver of health disappear from a Boss in a Raid. It is both a celebration for having beaten one of the hardest parts of the game, but also a time to hold your breath and hope for the rewards you want. A Raid is the most distilled version of Destiny you can find, all the fat has been cut off the game here, the environments are beautiful, the bosses difficult by demanding constant coordination between your team and then the music accentuates the ebb and flow of the fight. I know many people have never completed a Raid in Destiny, but I can truthfully say that it feels to me as though beating a Raid is reaching the precipice of the whole game.
The last major activity in Destiny is the Crucible, a game mode centred around pitting varying sized teams of players against each other to see who comes out on top. Whilst I have clocked up a fair amount of time in the Crucible in the years since launch, it has never been anywhere close to a priority to me when I have sat down to play Destiny. I have always preferred the PvE(Player vs Environment) content, such as story missions, strikes or Raids, to the Crucible. There have been various iterations of what is powerful in the Crucible, and the times when it has felt the most balanced and fun have undoubtedly been when I have spent the most time doing battle against other players. This is my core complaint with the Crucible since the game launched, the balance. There have been times where it has felt like even an average skilled player like me can do well with a sizeable array of weapons and perks. The worst times of the Crucible have been when it is far more difficult to do well within a match unless you are using a certain few weapons. I have always enjoyed the game modes that only have 6 players total, with 3 on each team, which I why I am very excited for the new Crucible of Destiny 2, wherein all matches are in a 4 vs 4 format, as opposed to the standard 6 vs 6 of Destiny 1. The Crucible has been a place where I have had wildly varying amounts of fun in, sometimes during events such as the Iron Banner, I have forced myself to play a bit more in order to reach Rank 5. Whilst other times the Crucible has been anything but fun for me, and I have avoided it at all costs, here's hoping the Crucible in Destiny 2 is filled with more high points than low points, unlike in Destiny 1.
All of these aspects of the game are all very well and good on their own, they all offer gameplay mechanics that are unique from each other, however these aspects of core gameplay would be useless on their own, if there was no reward for them. This is what I would class as the heart of the Destiny experience, the cement that holds the whole game together, the loot. The various items that are given as rewards for all of the above activities are what drives all players of Destiny to want to keep coming back after they have finished all of the content for the first time. There is always something to chase, whether it is a piece of armour that gives slightly better stat bonuses than what you currently have, or a weapon with the perfect combination of perks that will work perfectly for you. For example I recently completed my collection of Snipers and Shotguns, three of each type in all three elements, all six of these weapons have the perfect roll that I want for them, and so no matter what elemental burn is active during any given week, I am prepared for it. This is what many would class as min/maxing, to minimise damage taken and maximise damage dealt, which is to say that it is the final stage in the end game of Destiny. First I chased the ability to beat all of the most difficult content in the game, then I wanted to be able to beat said content with better gear, more accomplished gear than I had before. Then comes the grind where hours are sunk into chasing perk rolls that only give a miniscule advantage, and yet signifies that you have brought the game to heel, and has been conquered. As I said at the start of the article, I have played Destiny for over 500 hours over the course of the last three years, and I simply would not have come close to that figure, if there hadn't always been something I could aim for that would optimise my equipment that all important fraction more.
So there you go guys, my recap of all the major elements of Destiny from the last three years, suffice to say I have enjoyed this game perhaps more than any other I've ever played. I can not wait to start playing Destiny 2 and seeing all the experiences it has to offer and memories waiting to be made!
As always thanks for reading
Another year has rolled round in the Destiny calender and that can mean only one thing, a new expansion. Since last years expansion titled The Taken King, the Destiny community has been crying out for new content to play. The only answer to this calling was the freely released “April Update” which included a new strike, a remastered strike and the reintroduction of the Prison of Elders. This went a ways towards appeasing the communities never ending need for new content, but hasn't proved enough to maintain a substantial player base through the thinnest of content times. This so called drought of content has come to an end with the release of Rise of Iron, the latest release in the Destiny franchise! I'm here today having spent a lot of time with the game, I have played everything this expansion has to offer including the Raid, so I'm here today to bring you my review!
First up let's talk about the story, I have seen quite a bit of criticism that the story missions in Rise of Iron are too short, and in total amount to a very short campaign, and on paper they are short. There is no doubt that if you are at the appropriate level for the missions you will finish the campaign quest chain in a matter of hours. On a slight side note I have gone back and played the campaign again on another character(that was admittedly incredibly over levelled for the content) and with the expressed wish of clearing the content as quickly as possible, I spent around 40 minutes on all of the story missions! However I do not think that these missions are too short, I think they are collectively the perfect size for this expansion, baring in mind that no one is still playing Destiny for the story content. I liked the way it introduced new characters, though felt the conspicuous absence of our old friends(apart from our trust Ghost), it set up our battle against the new enemy, SIVA, very well. The whole thing felt like the story missions from The Taken King, but with some of the bells and whistles taken off. When you do finish the story missions though, you are immediately welcomed to the proper new content with a host of 6 new Quests, some of which are short some are longer, with many more quests to be found by knowing the right place to look. Case in point, it has recently been found that a Raid based puzzle leads to an Exotic quest that is taking people hours upon hours to complete! This is where the “story” of Destiny comes alive.
Now, let's talk about the new Strikes introduced with Rise of Iron, there are three in total, with the Summoning Pits and Sepiks Prime being brought up to date with a SIVA remastering, and a new one by the name of The Wretched Eye! I will admit that it is a shame that there is only one new strike, that being said I do think it is a fantastic strike. The only caveat to that being that the boss encounter is definitely fun, but also one of the tougher Strike bosses that you can come across in the Strike Playlist! I would put this down to the lack of substantial cover in the boss room, when there is the boss with a lethal laser weapon, a blind ogre that will come and stomp all over you, and then intermittent additional enemies that spawn, it can go wrong very quickly! That being said there is also a distinct satisfaction to completing the strike, I certainly would welcome the Strikes moving more in that direction!
Next I would like to talk about Archons Forge, the new patrol activity that is a cross between the Court of Oryx and Prison of Elders, I personally think that this mode is fantastic and is both highly enjoyable and also a change of pace from the rest of the activities. A lot of people have been complaining about the fact that you can't stack the offerings required to start this activity, and I would fully agree with this issue. The lack of ability hold multiple offerings means that even with a “full” team of three people on patrol it is still possible that you will need to go and farm random enemies in order to continue playing the Archons Forge. That being said Bungie have gone a way to fixing this issue by increasing the drop rate of offerings within the Forge itself, meaning that it is easier to stay within the Forge and not need to leave! One of the beauties of the Forge is that different offerings initiate different encounters, based on the offering that you use, there are several different enemy types that the encounter can be based around. So there are different difficulties that can spawn, as well as different enemy types, which lends itself to a very diverse range of gameplay encounters!
Now for the biggest PvE activity, the Raid! I've completed the raid once, but got up to the final boss on two other occasions, so I would say I'm rather well equated with the raid to tell you my thoughts. All in all I think it is a fantastic and incredibly fun Raid, it takes a nice length of time, and has a suitable difficulty so as not to put too many people off. My only criticism with the whole raid is the final boss, Aksis is a superbly designed fight, but it feels at odds with the rest of the raid. Both times I've cleared the raid up to the final boss my team(gathered through LFG sites) have had a team wipe once and three times on the different runs, but then Aksis requires so much communication that he is and will be the stumbling block for many people. Let me be clear, I don't have a problem with the fight at all, it is well designed, and totally enjoyable with a good team. My problem is that the Raid is rather easy for the first 3 encounters(including Aksis phase 1) and then suddenly it gets notably more difficult at the last hurdle. I have thought back to last year where the bosses gradually got harder, with the War Priest being relatively easy to do in a couple of attempts, Golgoroth being a step up from that, then there were the daughters to introduce the Oryx mechanics, then Oryx was another step up from that. In Wrath of the Machine, the first boss Vosiks is, I would say, very easy. Then there is the Death Zamboni, or Siege Machine as it is officially, which is a small step up in difficulty, but nothing 3 or 4 attempts shouldn't best. Finally Aksis phase 1 is the Daughters equivalent from Kings Fall, with it introducing the mechanics of the final fight. I almost feel like Bungie accidentally put the Heroic version of Aksis into normal mode! Obviously this isn't the case but I do feel like it is deserving of Heroic mode when compared to the rest of the raid!
Last but not least I'd like to talk to you about my experiences with the PvP side of the game in Rise of Iron. There is a new game mode called Supremacy which serves as the Kill Confirmed game type from Call of Duty, for the large part it is a decent new game mode, though I personally think the PvP in Destiny shines at its best with 3v3 and 4v4 game types. I think my problem is that during the time I spent with Supremacy I was experiencing bouts of rather extreme lag, seeing as I haven't experienced this in other game types I am left to assume that because of the extra Crests(the items dropped upon death) on the map, the servers are having to cope with more than they ideally would have too. I had to play a lot of Supremacy when Iron Banner was recently this new game mode and I can't tell you the relief to go back to a "normal" PvP game mode! It is so shotgun orientated due to the very nature that if you kill someone from afar you are running the risk that the other team could pick that crest up and the enemy will gain a point! I think for the main I will only be playing Supremacy whenever is is in Iron Banner, and little besides! The supremacy game mode aside the four new maps that have been introduced with Rise of Iron are superb, I think Skyline has some flow issues around the staircase in the middle but the rest are very nice additions!
There you go guys my final review of what I'm sure will be the last expansion to Destiny until Destiny 2 and what an expansion it has been. Only time will tell how the so called "drought of content" will effect Year 3 of Destiny! Though I am very much looking forward to the return on Festival of the Lost and Sparrow Racing League(SRL) before the end of the year.
Thanks for reading,
With E3 2016 just around the corner I thought I would bring everything together that we have seen so far, here are my favourite trailers and rumours that have surfaced so far!
First up we have the announcement that XCOM 2 will be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in September this year, the highly acclaimed strategy game is finally coming to console and I personally couldn't be more excited if I tried. Take a look at the trailer announcing it:
Next we have the Injustice 2 trailer that has just been released, it features Batman, Superman, Flash, Aquaman and Superman. Although the trailer is spectacular, it doesn't really excite me due to the fact that I personally don't enjoy 2D fighting games such as this one will be. Regardless check out the trailer:
Next we have the incredible looking Horizon Zero Dawn, with a new Story Trailer to feast our eyes on, I am very excited to see more of this during Sony's Conference!
So they are the trailers that have caught my eye so far, now let's take a look at some of the juicy information that has been leaked so far.
First up we have the Rise of Iron, this is something that has had the above artwork leaked, as well as Bungie trademarking the name Rise of Iron, so I personally would put money on the next expansion to Destiny being called Rise of Iron. The picture doesn't tell us much, and while speculation is very fun, it is even more fun to consider that Bungie are hosting a stream on Thursday evening to show us the future. I will be tuning in, and if you are a fan of Destiny, then I would recommend you do to! I will be hosted over at Bungie's Twitch Page.
Last but very much not least, this is by far the most rumoured game on this list. It has been leaked from several sources. This is something that I would welcome with open arms, the idea of being able to go back to the world of Skyrim, to revisit the characters, locations and enemies that I can remember, would be incredible. I really think that this is something that Bethesda would do, and if this is revealed during their conference, I would reckon that it will be released later this year, similarly to how Fallout 4 was revealed last year!
There you go guys, a recap of the trailers and rumours that have peaked my interest for one reason or another, all the conference are just around the corner, so check back soon for more coverage of the games that we get a better look of!
Thanks for reading,
Today I want to talk to you about some of the small things that I think would make Destiny a generally better game. I wouldn't say these are as small as quality of life, but they aren't DLC sized changes, let's get into them!
So first there are a few bounty related additions that I would like to see, firstly is a weekly Vanguard Bounty, I would like it to operate similarly to the Crucible Bounty, but instead of Nightfall tier rewards, the reward is instead a reward similar to a Vanguard reward. I think this would be a nice additional thing to offer PvE players, and perhaps it could only be available to complete in the same window that Trials of Osiris is open. My second bounty related thought is to do with Raid bounties, these could be handed out in the Tower and are there to encourage a different approach to the Raid. My thoughts were ranging from the simple, "Kill 150 enemies in a Raid" or "Get 20 consecutive headshot kills in a Raid", up to Challenge Mode style bounties such as having different gaze holders on Golgoroth, or something personal like don't get hit by a sniper during the Daughters encounter. Then a bigger bounty that is rewarded for going through a whole raid without deploying a Ward of Dawn, using a Tether or activating Self Revive. I think it only fair that these bounties give good rewards so I was thinking that for the simple killing bounties you get 5 Mouldering Shards, for the encounter specific bounties a guaranteed item from that encounter. Then for the biggest bounty, two guaranteed higher/maximum light level items from the whole raid. So it could be a helmet, sniper, hand cannon etc. This would be a nice addition to make playing the now 8 month old raid still relevant to play(aside from the ability to earn 335 light gear). My last bounty request is just to have more daily bounties in rotation, very few new ones have been added since the game launched, and they are really quite repetitive to achieve. So my thoughts were:
Hit 10 enemies with a sparrow whilst on Patrol
Get 5 double kills with Scatter Grenades
Get 5 shoulder charge kills in 90 seconds
Tether 10 or more foes with one single tether
Deal the killing blow to a boss with a Super
I can think of others but for the sake of time, you get my point. There could be so much more diversity to bounties that would require so little involvement from Bungie to implement.
Two changes I would like to see in respect of Nightfalls are matchmaking at character locks. So firstly I see no reason what so ever that this shouldn't be in the game, there is matchmaking for Heroic strikes, so Nightfalls should be made easier by implementing matchmaking! My other idea for Nightfalls is that the rewards are moved from 3 per week per character to 3 per week per account, basically the same change that has also been made to Heroic Legendary Mark rewards. So if I choose I can do all 3 nightfalls on one character, as a Titan player who doesn't mind a Hunter and can't stand playing Warlock this would be a nice increase to loot!
Next we have difficulty scaling for patrols, this was something that was promised for patrol on the Dreadnaught, but as soon as you hit level 40, it was no longer a challenge to simply walk around these areas. I think it is stupid that Bungie has made the huge sections of the 5 worlds, but there is no incentive to go out and explore them, partly because the node bounties are boring and yield tiny rewards, but also because you walk all over the enemies. I suspect that the reason this hasn't been done is because it will make seeing other players rarer, as there are more matchmaking restrictions for finding you a patrol. To this I say that you see few players already, so what is the harm in reducing this further, and also even when you do see other players, you rarely interact with them, as there is nothing to be gained from doing so!
Lastly I would like it if Sparrow Racing League(SRL) was a monthly occurrence. If we could get this, and put it in a good place in the month, we could have SRL one week, a week off, then Iron Banner another week off then the cycle repeats. This would be such a welcome addition to the game for me and many others who miss SRL. I left this until last because it could be done with little effort from Bungie, by simply bringing back the two existing maps and putting it in rotation every month. While this would be acceptable to me, I would like to see more maps added into the playlist to increase the variety.
There you go guys, my largely simple additions to Destiny that I think would bring a welcome change of pace to the game until the leaked Rise of Iron launches in September. Let me know what you think of these ideas either in the comments of this post, or on Twitter.
Thanks for reading,
Okay so the Bungie stream just finished, and I want to talk to you about what was announced, then what I like and disliked. First of all there will be a new Light Level cap of 335, which is something that will divide players, I personally don't mind this, it is a big enough raise to keep me busy for a while. At the end of the day, we are getting one new "Raid" like encounter, 1 revamped Strike and 1 new Strike, so they could have made 350, but items would drop at higher level. So to achieve the new Light Level Cap, there is a revamped Prison of Elders, which is made up of two versions, a match made light level 260, and a 320 light level non match made version. In the 260 version, you no longer need a Key for the big chest in the loot room, instead you can complete it as many times per week as you want, opening that chest as many times as you want. Deej mentioned briefly that Legendary Marks would be earned in the 260 version, along with Engrams will drop, and Vanguard Bounties can be completed in this version. The 320 variant is where the meat of this update rests, you must buy a ticket to gain entry to the Challenge of Elders, and it features 3 bosses, which must be killed along with additional enemies, this being because all enemy kills earn you and your fireteam points. These points are added up on your Ticket and will reward you accordingly. So the first reward that can be earned is for gathering 30,000 points in one match(containing 3 rounds) so it will not be as simple as rushing in and killing the boss, quite the opposite, you want to make sure the boss lives, in order to spawn more enemies, to earn your bonus. This will award you with a weapon, which in the stream was dropped at 335 light, though I would assume it is not a guaranteed 335 drop. Then there is the other point tally, for which you must earn 90,000 points, though this can be done in multiple games, with multiple different players. This will reward you with an armour piece, which I again will assume can drop up to 335. I would be a bit disappointed if they are guaranteed 335 level drops, as this would make getting to the new cap fairly easy, but on the flip side to this, 3 guaranteed high end weapons per week, would bring be back to see if I can get something interesting. You will also be able to do Kings Fall at new light levels, with normal mode dropping 320 gear, and hard mode dropping 330 gear, you can then get a 335 artifact from the Court of Oryx. On top of this there will be the afore mentioned new Strike, which will see us taking down Malok, we didn't see any gameplay from this strike, just clips of the boss and arena.
So there is your recap, now I want to talk about how this makes me feel. Generally I like the additions, the Light Cap is lower than I would have liked, but it couldn't and shouldn't be higher without extra new content. Which is my only real problem with the reveal, I don't feel that they have put that much effort into this update, new armour and weapons sure, but the new bosses seem to be Taken reskins of existing enemies, and as far as I could tell the Prison hadn't changed aesthetically. The only truly new content is a new Mission and Strike, the Mission we know nothing about, and the Strike is a totally new boss, that we will sadly be fighting in an arena we already know. Now this all means that future content is getting more attention, and I am okay with this, especially as they have just done enough to bring me back to Destiny. Though I'm not sure there is enough here to bring people back who are less devoted to the game, and I'm not sure it can keep me engaged for more the a couple of weeks. Which is fine, especially considering this update is being given to everyone totally free of charge as long as you bought The Taken King expansion. Lastly I want to talk about what I think I would like changed from what we saw, firstly is an endless mode, where by wave after wave of enemies with more health, and who also appear in greater number are thrust at you. This could open the possibility for a third point tally, that would require something huge like 1,000,000 points earned in a week, and guarantee a 335 Exotic. Seeing as they earned 30,000 points in maybe 20 minutes, with a polished team I think 1,000,000 could be done. I just feel like I could earn 90,000 points in an hour or less, and then that is the new content finished on one character for the week.
Anyway, all in all I am happy with what is coming to Destiny, there isn't tonnes, but it will bring me back to the game, and for that I am grateful to Bungie. However I'm not sure they have done a good enough job to bring anyone but the diehard fans of the game back, only time will tell if I am right!
Thank you very much for reading,
The last three weeks have seen a new event added to the Kings Fall Raid in Destiny, Challenge Mode, which has changed the way you need to kill one of the three main bosses. Today I want to do a recap of the three challenges, and talk about whether they are worth doing, and how challenging they actually are.
So in the first week we had the War Priest, which needed to be killed after the Aura was held with a different person every time. The Aura holder being the first person to step on the last plate. This was a rather disappointing challenge, as many people did it with either no change or little change to how they normally did the encounter. The team I did it with had no challenge what so ever completing it on Hard, and the reward was the 48th Calcified Fragment, an Emblem(only on Hard Mode), a guaranteed 320 on Hard, 310 on Normal, weapon to drop and a guaranteed 320 Hard or 310 Normal Arfifact to drop. By completing it on Hard Mode for the first time that week on any one character, you would you Normal and Hard Raid rewards, as well as Normal and Hard Challenge mode rewards. So I got a 320 Sniper, 310 Rocket launcher, a 320 and 310 Artifact along side the random rewards for completing the encounter for the first time on that character in the week. So looking back it was a disappointing change to the boss, but exceptional loot for those around light level 300 or 310. So people geared up and prepared for the Golgoroth Challenge the following week.
Golgoroth came around and was far more challenging that War Priest.... for the first few hours, then people worked out a way to make the encounter much easier, whilst still completing the challenge, which was that everyone had to hold Golgoroths gaze at least once per cycle. So what people worked out you could do, is the normal one Orb strategy where everyone drops down into the pool and does damage on the boss, they rather that doing damage for the following 5 gaze fazes, it is simply passed around safely from the side of the pit. I would be very surprised in Bungie intended this, as they said in a weekly update, "but apologies in advance to those that run the single-pool strat for Golgoroth"(full article). Anyway Bungies intentions aside this was much closer to what I had been imagining, it took me around about 2 hours to complete it, though I did need to find a second group to attempt it with, as I couldn't get it done with the first group. The rewards for Golgoroth followed a similar pattern to War Priest, with a guaranteed 320(Hard) or 310(Normal) piece of Armour, along with an emblem if completed on Hard, the 49th Calcified Fragment, and an artifact or two depending on difficulty. People then moved their sights to Oryx Challenge Mode, and speculation was everywhere as to what the challenge would be!
The following Tuesday rolled around and this one took a little longer for people to work out the challenge, people came to the conclusion, still only hours after the challenge was pushed live, that you would have to detonate all 16 orbs at once to complete the challenge. Many people, myself very much included, were very surprised by this, as when this strategy was first found a few months ago, many people could show that it crashed a lot of peoples consoles. Clearly hidden in one of the patches since these reports, that was fixed, and now people knew how to complete the final challenge. What you have to do, is save up four bombs in each area, totally 16, and then detonate them all at once, taking Oryx down to his last stand in one foul swoop. By doing this you will face 3 Shades of Oryx, as you won't need to run after the first cycle as there will be no damage done to Oryx. This challenge was by far the hardest for me to pull off, I attempted it with several groups, the majority of which disbanded due to the difficulty, however I eventually bested Oryx and claimed my prize, of either a Primary Weapon or Helmet at 320(Hard) or 310(Normal) Light Level, then the now standard 320/310 Artifact, an emblem(Hard Mode only) a new awesome Ship(Hard Mode only) and the much coveted 50th Calcified Fragment. Now assuming you have earned all the previous 49 fragments(as I had done), many people assumed there would be an amazing reward for collecting every fragment, after all it is a very hard thing to collect them all. What did we get I hear you ask? A Shader. Nothing more, nothing less. This has angered many people, myself included to some extent, and while some believe that there will be an Exotic quest that unlocks after a certain amount of time, I myself believe that we have had our reward, and will earn nothing further from the fragment collection. I'm okay with this, as the journey those 50 fragments took me on, was an amazing one, and while it was occasionally gruelling, it was worth it in the end, even if it all led to a Shader, we all will still have the tale of the 50.
Thank you very much for reading, I will post again after Christmas now, so I hope you have a wonderful time!
Today I want to bring you my favourite games that have been released in 2015, I will say now though that this list may change slightly, I haven't played Just Cause 3 or Fallout 4 yet, either of which may well be on this list, but due to their late releases may be featured in next years list. So here we go, the best of the best games that have been released in 2015(that I have played). There will be games on this list, and I will count them down in descending order, starting with.....
Assassin's Creed Syndicate takes the number 7 spot on my GOTY Awards, Syndicate is a very good game, with superb characters and amazing visuals and the missions are designed perfectly. You will be taken from the mud filled workhouses to places of much greater affluency, which will remain nameless due to spoilers. The reason this game has only reached 7th place is two fold, firstly the franchise needs to take a break, let me explain, while this is a very good Assassin's game, the formula that governs this game, is still far too close to the last entry, Unity. The second reason is that the free running still hasn't been fine tuned, this would be acceptable on the first or second, even the third entry, but on the ninth, it is unacceptable that one of the core mechanics of the series still hasn't been improved enough with each passing year. There were still many occasions when I wanted to go somewhere, or climb something, but my character would either get stuck mere inches from the top, or simply refuse to climb it. Combine this with section(though few are still present) when you need to chase and catch an enemy, as you may be able to imagine, this often does not turn out well! Those are the reasons Assassin's Creed Syndicate got number 7 on my GOTY list, onto number 6!
Borderlands The Handsome Collection packages together Borderlands 2 and The Pre-Sequel along with all the DLC that has been released for both games. While The Pre-Sequel is a somewhat lacklustre game, Borderlands 2 is one of my favourite games of all time. So to have the opportunity to play it again, with all of the DLC I never picked up on the PS3 was a chance I couldn't pass up. There are 4 Campaign based DLCs for Borderlands 2 and 1 for The Pre-Sequel, along with a large collection of smaller bit of DLC, which can be just as good as the high standard set from the main DLCs. Tiny Tina's Assault of Dragon Keep(the final Campaign DLC released for Borderlands 2) is the second best DLC I've ever played, beaten only by The Last of Us Left Behind, it is a 5-7 hour campaign that all Borderlands fans should take the time to play! All in all Borderlands The Handsome Collection has taken many, many hours from me, and it still a joy to go back to every now and then. With a diverse range of classes, and more guns that any single person could count, Borderlands is a fantastic game, even under the scrutiny of time!
Call of Duty Black Ops 3, this years franchise entry from Treyarch, and it is easily my favourite Call of Duty since Black Op 2, and it could well surpass that! With is subtle tweaks on the movement system, there to help with traversal but not used as frequently in fire fights as Advanced Warfare. There is quite frankly superb weapon balance; I have always thought that the tell of a well balanced game, is when you can Google what the most powerful weapon is, and come up with tens of ideas on what it is. I personally have gravitated towards a few of them, but I know I could do just as well if I wanted to spread out and use other weapons. I will admit that I haven't even touch the campaign yet, but I have sunk a decent amount of time into Shadows of Evil, the new Zombies map, which it perhaps too complicated to want to get into on a very regular basis, but has enough hidden secrets that it still brings me back to it from time to time. There is also the Free Run mode, which I dismissed as a tiny tag on, and while it is very small(I completed all the tracks in around 25 minutes) it has continued to bring me back to beat my previous best times. Looking at the bigger picture of Black Ops 3, it is the complete package, with a superb multiplayer and enough other activities to keep you going even if and when you get bored of the multiplayer. Black Ops 3 has definitely earned 4th place in my best Games of the Year.
Coming into the podium positions, we have the Dark Knight himself Batman Arkham Knight. The Arkham Trilogy is one of my favourite series, and Rocksteady finished it of with style and poise. While I am aware that many people correctly guessed and were disappointed with the identity of the Arkham Knight, I was blissfully aware until the moment of reveal. I think this game gets an unnecessary amount bad press because of the quite frankly atrocious version of the game on PC, but because of this I think many people don't give this game the credit it deserves. This game wraps up the Batman games with what is in my opinion the best story to date, set it the best and most detailed world yet. One controversial addition to the game was the Batmobile, I think for 90% of the time it fits in very well, but it is that remaining 10% that causes people varying levels of grief.
Other that the occasionally sloppy use of the Batmobile Arkham Knight is a game that should be celebrated and played, in previous years this game might have topped my list, but it was beaten out by some tough competition!
Now we come to a truly stunning game, and one that has taken the number 2 spot in my heart this year; Witcher 3 Wild Hunt. Unlike some of the people playing Witcher 3, I hadn't played any of the previous games, so I was a little daunted when I first started playing, but I soon got to grips with the story and mechanics. This isn't a perfect game, in fact there are some level balance issues which really annoy me, but when this game does something right, it blows you away. Whether it be the best Quests I have ever played, or the vistas that just make you want to put your controller down and enjoy. Witcher 3 is one of those games that pulls you back in from time to time and reminds you how a game should be made. Although it isn't my favourite game ever made, I have no hesitation in saying that it is my favourite Fantasy game, even topping the spectacular Skyrim! High praise indeed!
Was there ever any doubt? The game that I have put the most hours into, thought about or played every day since launch, and the driving force of content since release on this website. Destiny The Taken King is my favourite game released in 2015. You might argue that it is a DLC and not a game, but it changed the whole game, and in my opinion was how the game should have launched last year, so yes it is a game, and a fantastic one at that. I could write about Destiny until I wear my keyboard down, but let me just run you through some of the things that make this game so amazing. The campaign, although far shorter than I was expecting, was filled with more details of the characters I had grown to love over the last year, and all of it was paced superbly, it actually feels like you are fighting a war against the Taken. There is also the Raid, Kings Fall in hands down the greatest single experience I've ever had in a game, I have played all of the previous Raids many times, but Kings Fall seems a more developed experience. From the platforming to the mechanics, it is a fluid and fantastic experience, and something that should be commended.
So there you go guys, my favourite games that have been released in 2015, I truly think that has been an amazing year for gaming, and one that we will look back on in future years and marvel at. Now you know what my favourite games are, I want to know yours, let me know in the comments below, or on Twitter!This won't be the last you hear of me in 2015, but I'm already planning some exciting things for 2016, I hope you are as excited as I am!
Thanks for reading,
So last night(depending on your time zone) PlayStation hosted their now annual PlayStation Experience(or PSX) and during the conference to open the weekend event, a new 3 week long event was announced for Destiny. So starting on Tuesday(8th of December) and running until Tuesday the 29th of December, all owners of The Taken King will be able to take part in Sparrow Racing League for free! During the event, Amanda Holiday will have a reputation meter to fill up, which sounds to be very similar to Iron Banner, in that the higher your rank, the better rewards you will get from completing matches. You will be pitted against 5 other players, all of whom will have the same kind of sparrow, so don't worry if you don't have a Raid Sparrow, the theory of the races are that everyone is on a level playing field. It will come down to who can drive through the most boost gates to get into the lead. There will be two tracks available at the start(though I wouldn't be surprised to see at least one more added later on) one on Mars which has been described as the easy one, and one on Venus which is being called the hard track.
There will be new Sparrows, new armour pieces which will offer perks specific to Sparrow Racing, and also a new gear slot which is a Sparrow horn! These seem to act similarly to the masks during the Halloween event recently, in that rare ones will expire after the event, but legendary ones appear not to. There are also a bunch of new emotes that will replace the ones currently on sale, so be ware of that as well! We will also have the first "Private Match" type event with racing, as you are allowed to go into a race filled with just your 6 person fire team, so we should get some interesting results from that!
Bungie haven't made any promises as to if the Sparrow Racing League will ever return, but they have said that if fans like it they will put more time into the idea of it, where as if players aren't particularly fussed by the idea of it, then they will put their energy into other things. I personally really like the idea of it, I'm just not sure if I would prefer Bungie working on bigger content, such as the next Raid or batch of Story Missions. Either way I'm excited for this limited time event, and I want to know what you guys think of the latest addition to the Destiny Universe, let me know in the comments below or on Twitter. I will leave you know with the trailer for the Sparrow Racing League, launching on December 8th!
As always, thanks for reading
Today I want to talk to you about the 5 best things that have been added into Destiny with The Taken King. There have been a plethora of changes in the last month and a bit, both from Patch 2.0 and the Expansion its self! First up is the Strike Specific loot you can now earn.
If you weren't aware, different strikes now reward specific loot, rather than just general Legendary gear, you can now earn specific loot. Now mirroring Raids in a small way, every time you complete one of the new or reimagined(Undying Mind and Cerberus Vae III) you have a chance to pull one of the new exclusive pieces of Gear. So far I have only earned two pieces of gear, interestingly both from the new S.A.B.E.R 2, firstly a Legendary Machine Gun which goes by the new of Baron's Ambition. This is my favourite Heavy Weapon at the moment(Sleeper Simulant Review soon!). The second(and I believe final) piece of exclusive gear you can score from S.A.B.E.R 2 is the Devouring Maw helmet for Warlocks, as you can see it is a rather impressive, unique looking helmet! There are roughly 2 pieces of gear per Strike, so I won't go through the all, but the highlight is the Fatebringer 2, which can be wrested from the grips of either of the Venus based Strikes, Undying Mind or Echo Chamber(PlayStation exclusive Strike) Imago Loop(NB according to the Armoury, this can't spawn with Firefly)!
This moves very nicely onto my next point, which is the changeable aspect of strikes. No longer can you play a Strike hundreds of times and know exactly what is coming next. Now there are a few instances per Strike which can spawn different types of enemies, usually the normal enemies of Taken. For example on Cerberus Vae III, if you get a Cabal batch of enemies, the well known Tank will appear which you have to dispatch. However there is now a chance a Taken Champion(oversized enemy with a lot of health), and you have to fight him instead. This variety of combat mixed with the new varying lines your Ghost can read, means that repeated plays of a Strike can yield different enemies, and new bits of lore to sink your teeth into! I have played all of the new Strikes many times and I have seen all of the different versions, and there isn't one I don't like, they are all very fun, and it's always intriguing to see which race I will be fighting in the same area this time!
Next let's talk about the loot you get from these Strikes, it is a deceptively poor show of loot from the end of Strikes. Roughly only 1 out of every 3 or 4 Strikes(Heroic) will you get a Legendary Engram, if you cast your mind back to Dragon Strikes before The Taken King, Legendaries were nearly guaranteed every strike. So yes on balance, the strikes give us fewer Legendarys, but now the chance of getting a Legendary from a Rare Engram has been increased massivley(atleast 10 times in my oppinion. Put it this way, before The Taken King, with roughly 200 hours spent with the game, I had earned exactly 6 Legendary items from Rare Engrams, in the 45 hours I have already spent with The Taken King, I have had at least 10, quite possibly more. So all in all, we are getting worse loot from Strikes, but I'm okay with that, because if you don't like the loot you get, it can often be used as infusion fuel for your existing items. This is because even Rare Engrams can be a considerably higher Light Level than your existing Legendary, which synergises incredibly with the new Infusion, so you are still levelling up with the Legendary Chest piece(for example) that you got at the beginning of your journey in The Taken King!
Right the 4th item on my list is how the game has changed to allow you to do more from just one account. Before, you would ideally need 3 High level characters in order to get the most from the game, notably the Weekly Strike, Nightfall, and any Vanguard or Crucible Marks. However this has now been changed, so there is a Weekly Strike Playlist, which you can do 3 time on one character if you so wish, though you won't get the guaranteed Legendary Engram per character. You will still get the 30 Legendary Marks. Which leads onto the fact that Legendary Marks(the new currency that replaces Vanguard or Crucible Marks), are Account wide, rather that specific to each character. You still need 3 character(rather high Light Level) if you want to run the Nightfall 3 times per week. The one thing that I would like to be moved from Character specific to Account wide is faction reputation. For example, my Hunter is Rank 2.75 with the Crucible, and my Titan is just into Rank 2, this means that I am currently unable to even start the Exotic quest which leads to the Chaperone, as it requires at least Rank 3 to start it. I appreciate that I might be on my own with this one, but it is a change I would really like to see.
The 5th and final thing on my list is the Bosses in the new Strikes, no longer are they bullet sponges who stand roughly in the same place and take all of your damage(at least with no change in attacks), the new Taken King Strikes, the Bosses are different. For example the Hive Knight, Alak Hul, his arena is near total darkness, and he randomly appears and disappears, meaning that you are always having to be on your toes, lest he spawns in next to you and possibly kills you with one swipe of his oversized axe. I won't go though the other new Strikes in case you haven't played them and want the surprise, but rest assured they are far superior to the Strikes we got in Year 1.
All of these additions are my favourite with Patch 2.0, and The Taken King, and add immensely to the overall new feeling of the game. Do let me know what your favouirte additions are in the comments below or on Twitter!
Thank you very much for reading,
Last Tuesday the largest expansion ever dropped onto our consoles for Destiny, this went by the name of The Taken King. Today I want to bring you my thoughts on this expansion after just over 20 hours spent with the game. I have completed the first Act of the game, which is what contains the cutscenes etc, but still have the second act to complete. I have also not even touched the Raid, so my full review will come when I have finished those two things!
Without further ado, I will start by talking about it in a large sense, then take a look at some of the smaller additions, and whether I like them, and if they work well or not.
First up, the new gear is far more powerful than the old gear. This might be a fairly obvious statement to make, but within the first mission alone, I was finding new Green and Blue tier weapons and armour pieces that were higher attack and defence levels than my full levelled old gear. I love this because it makes us use the new weapons, which are at least visually incredibly different from our old Year 1 favourites. There are far more ways to earn weapons now, than there were before. For a start I have probably seen as many blue engrams turn into Legendaries in the time I've played The Taken King, as I did in the whole time I spent in year 1. Also I have earned my first ever Exotic weapon from a legendary engram(sadly it was only Thunderlord, not a weapon new to Year 2). These increased drop rates are extremely useful for getting new weapons to Infuse with(more on that soon) or dismantle for Legendary Marks!
Okay, so I just mentioned Infusion, this is a new system introduced with The Taken King, exclusively on Year 2 weapons(so you can't bring Year 1 weapons into Year 2). This works on the principle that if you have a weapon with a higher attack or defence rating than the one you are currently using, but you want to keep the one you are using, you can sacrifice the new weapon, into the old one to make the old one better. This works fairly well, but not exceedingly well. I would like the ability to infuse two weapons with the same ratings, and they increase. As it is, Infusion only serves the purpose of keeping the armour and weapons you like relevant to your current activities. This is nice, but there is a point to be raised that maybe you should just use the new higher level item. That being said, it is a very nice feature to have, once you find that one piece that you really love.
While we are on the subject of armour and weapon stat levels, let's talk about the new Light Levelling System. Rather than the old levelling system where only your 4 pieces of armour contribute to your armour level, this lead to a system where you couldn't really change your armour, lest you lose levels. Now you overall Light Level is decided by an average of your three weapons, Ghost, four pieces of armour, and an Artifact. This means that each individual piece counts with a much smaller percentage towards your overall light level! So your level will now increase in much smaller increments. Of course it should be noted, that the normal system of levelling up to 40 is still achieved by earning XP, I was level 34 going into The Taken King,, and it took me around about 7 hours to increase my level to 40. As it stands, I have spent around about 30 hours in game since Taken King launched, and I am Light Level 293, while my level 34 character was around the 160 mark!
Right, in my last section for today, I want to talk to you about some general changes that I really like, and some that I like a little less!
First off, the best addition to the game in my opinion, are the Quests, technically this was introduced in Patch 2.0, but is most noticeable with the new content introduced with The Taken King. You are guided through the campaign via the quests, and for me there was always a very clear end goal, which I won't spoil. I also felt like I always knew why I was doing what I was doing, I never felt lost as to why I had to do this section. You can always check you Quests in the menu, and catch up with where you are in the story, if you have taken a break.
The Quests in the game continue after you have finished the main campaign, with quests from various people, taking the "story" part of the game much further beyond the campaign. Beyond even that, there are various Exotic Quests you can embark upon, which will give you a guaranteed Exotic weapon! It seems to me that there are only 4 new Exotic weapons than can be acquired via "RNG", those are the Jade Rabbit(PlayStation Exclusive), Zahlo Supercell holding down the Primaries fort, and for Specials, we have Telesto and Hereafter. Due to the farming capability of the Three of Coins last weekend, I have both Special weapons listed above, so expect a review for each of those soon! Don't think that there aren't many new Exotic weapons in Taken King, quite on the contrary, there are approximately 12, which means that most of the new weapons can be aimed for, and worked towards. Though expect them to be either tough or rather long!
That concludes my first thoughts on The Taken King, all in all it is an amazing addition to Destiny, and I can't wait to play more of it, and get my teeth into the new Raid! I will of course have more content for The Taken King, in the coming weeks.
Thank you very much for reading,
Friends of The Games Critic:
My name is Ed, I write everything here, covering all kinds of games, but I only play them on the PS4!