Game Review – Destiny: The Taken King (Year 2)

Destiny the Taken King (TTK) expansion has been out for 2 weeks, and looked to revamp all the initial problems that existed in the vanilla version AKA Destiny the 45 pound BETA. Destiny had no problems attaining the initial user base but saw a large drop off due to the frustration of flaws in the original game. So is it worth picking TTK up?

Anyone who has played Destiny tend to praise the well-made game mechanics we have come to expect from Bungie the developer that gave us Halo, and continues this trend adding more customizations in the form of 18 new exotics, tons of new legendary items and a whole host of new weapon and armor perks to help incentivize various playstyles. On top of this the upgrading mechanics have been completely overhauled, with the level cap being increased to 40 and the light level now being determined by the averaging the power and defense of all equipped items to help remove repetitive grinding. New to the game and don’t want to grind forever? Well Bungie has you covered by offering a consumable item when you acquire TTK called a spark of light, which when used automatically boosts your character to level 25 so you can step straight into the TTK storyline with your friends.

Another big change in Destiny is in the playlists which, include the vanguard, weekly and nightfall strikes. To those who do not know these playlists range in difficulty and are played in teams of three, offering better rewards such as rare gear to help improve your character and offer currency rewards redeemable against items sold by the vendors in Destiny’s social spaces. With these modes streamlined through the removal of multiple currencies in favor of legendary marks which have no acquire limit per week, and the introduction of matchmaking for all these modes except the raid (sad face) TTK is not so much reliant on you gathering friends and is a lot more accessible to casual players.

TTK further works to improve its content with much more epic! Cut scenes along with improved story and character development, which is well weaved into key and side mission to further immerse you in the lore of the game. Having said this, despite the development of the story and characters are much improved I still feel that Destiny is lacking in story considering as it aims to be a 10 year franchise. This is made even more frustrating when you discover Bungie has crafted fantastic and interesting game lore which really contributes to the story, and hidden it behind the unlockable grimoire cards, which forces you to read them via the Destiny website or dedicated mobile application. This personally really is a key issue with Destiny and needs to be addressed either with the incorporation of grimoire in the physical game so people don’t have to put effort to get story that needs to be in the game from the start, or at least turn the grimoire in to audio logs which would work to add more context and weight to the story.

The negatives that I have found from the lack of story and the constant comments of Destiny fans complaining that there still is not enough customization options for classes and weapons , is what makes me feel that Destiny is suffering from a bit of an identity crisis. This is due to the weird concept of the game blending first person shooter (FPS) and massive multiplayer online (MMO) elements, giving a new intriguing style of game but also in my opinion lacking in other areas in comparison to games in either genres. For example whether you love or hate FPS games like Call of Duty or Battlefield, weapon customization is vast and feels important to how you play, which Destiny is very basic in comparison. From a MMO perspective Destiny just does not hit the basic variations in skills and character customization that you get in nearly all MMO games today such as the Elder Scrolls Online and Final Fantasy XIV. These missing aspects of Destiny just leave me feeling that although TTK is massively enjoyable and a great game to play, it also could be so much more and for a franchise that intends to run for 10 years it will really have to in order to keep people parting with hard-earned money year after year.

So in conclusion there has never been a better time to start or rejoin Destiny with major improvements to story, mechanics and content delivery, Destiny really has upped the standard for this hybrid genre and made TTK a game worth talking about. But in terms of the future I am still cautious that Bungie have a lot to do if they really want to keep people engaged with their current offerings over future games such as Fallout 4, which looks to offer much deeper gameplay and customization from the outset.

Pros:

  • Much better story incorporation
  • Less repetitive gameplay
  • An impressive amount of content added
  • Great improvements to gaming systems
  • More accessible to casual gamers

Cons:

  • Still no matchmaking to raids
  • A lot of story hidden away out of the game

8/10

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