In the sign of…
Where the third year of the Destiny world should actually be dominated by the successor, it quickly became clear at the beginning of this year that Destiny 2 is delayed. After the poor April update in which Challenge of the Elders was added and the light cap went to 335, the full expansion, Rise of Iron, finally came out last week.
Rise of Iron revolves around Lord Saladin, the last of the Iron Lords you probably know from the Iron Banner multiplayer event. The story revolves around seeking out the danger that caused the near-complete extermination of these lords. Visualizing the story has improved a lot since the arrival of the Taken King, beautiful cut scenes ensure that you become much more invested in the story. Rise of Iron builds on this, and while it’s a short story, it provides deeper background into the Destiny lore. The duration of the story is a small number of quests and in 2 hours you are through the main story, this is a bit of a shame, for an expansion that costs almost as much as the Taken King, more is expected.
The expansion has a new social space, ‘Felwinter peak’, not to be confused with game of thrones’ winterfell, which I fell for a few times myself. This place contains the same elements as the well-known tower so there is not much added value besides picking up bounties/quests here. You see many players again by default choose the Tower for their main place to come back and hand in engrams. Felwinter peak is the top of a mountain and home to Lord Saladin. It is a beautiful snowy place and the most beautiful setting in all of Destiny. The environments in missions and patrol also look very nice, in addition to using existing elements / environments they have given it a twist by placing elements and snow, making it a fresh display. Unfortunately, in the strikes, just like in the Taken King, you see the same environments with renewed opponents, which feels like a rumination. The enemies are ‘Devil Splicers’, creatures that have made themselves very powerful through nanotechnology. In the end, of course, they are a rebranding of existing enemies. The trick of the tasks has been relaunched for creating new enemies. What is beautiful are the looks, instead of the black and white of the tasks, red accents have been chosen this time, which contrasts nicely with the winter atmosphere.
After the main quest is finished, the world exploring, side quests and of course collecting all new exotics begins. With regard to exotics, old ones have been used such as the famous Gjallerhorn but also new weapons have been designed such as a sword which you get as a reward at the end of the main quest. In addition to new weapons and armor, extras have also been added to current weapons, you can now give your weapon a different skin with a number of items, the multitool can give you a realistic mp5 skin which looks very cool. A new artifact system has been created to allow you to add more options to your inventory slots. At Tess Everess you can also buy some more looks with real money. Fortunately, only cosmetics have been placed behind a microtransaction wall.
The new ‘Plaguelands’ area is a beautiful area, combining existing environments with exterior additions and some unique environments. I personally find the design of the area much more attractive than the dreadnought, but what the dreadnought has to offer is that there is much more to do, so you will not spend much time in the plaguelands. There are some interesting things and one of them is the Archon’s Forge. This is reminiscent of the Court of Oryx of the Taken King but a lot bigger. It is a big arena battle in which you have to defeat hordes of enemies with your fireteam. Where this differs from Court of Oryx is that it is more team based. You must have an offering that drops randomly from defeated enemies, and with this offering you can start a forge. The difficulty is in the offering, there are types of offerings of which perfected is the best and also ensures that you get the most difficult instance, with the greatest possibility of good loot. It’s a bit trickier now and it’s essential to be with your fireteam and with a bit of luck some random people who are in the game world. You don’t want to throw away your perfected offering because you’re working with a bunch of random people. In Court of Oryx this was still fine to do. This also makes forge one of the best parts in Destiny. It’s more challenging and grandiose than Court of Oryx or even the Challenge of the Elders.
Most of the players are of course most interested in the new raid, ‘wrath of the machine’. This of course to try to reach the new max light level of 385 immediately when the ‘hard mode’ comes out. Entirely in the style of the expansion, the raid takes place more in the open world. The strengths of any raid is again the importance of teamwork. In the raids of year 1 you sometimes saw that it worked with 3 men, you see that since the Taken King gameplay mechanics have been made to make teamwork more important. The normal mode of the raid is doable if you have a well-played fireteam, for those you have to wait for the hard mode.
In the multiplayer area, there are also plenty of changes, starting with a new game mode called supremacy. This game mode may sound familiar to players of other shooters, it’s about kills and picking up the orbs that the one who dies drops. A familiar concept to many, it is still a nice addition to the standard team deathmatch gameplay. You score points by making your own kills, picking up orbs from killed enemies, and picking up teammates’ orbs when they’re killed. A number of new maps also provide some innovation which is welcome.
The biggest impact on multiplayer is the long-awaited private match. Finally you can set up a match yourself and play against friends. This has been a highly sought after option from the community since vanilla Destiny, especially as it needs Destiny to move more towards the esports side. Fireteams can play privately against other players of a high level, creating more competition than the random match ups in the crucible.
All in all, Rise of Iron is an excellent expansion, offering less than the Taken King and also costing less. The main quest is disappointing compared to the previous updates, but on the other hand, the new game elements offer more value for money. Archon’s forge and the raid provide more than enough entertainment to last until Destiny 2.
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Author: Merijn Adriaanssen | Genre: Action | Release: 28-09-2016 | Publisher: Activision | Developer: BungieGraphics: 8.5 † Sound: 8.0 † Gameplay: 8.5 † Controls: 9.5 † Playback: 9.0 8.0+ New raid is well designed+ Forge is a great challenge+ More options to customize your guardian- Main quest takes 2 hours- Environments are partially reused- Maybe a bit on the pricey side