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,
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!