James Willoughby

The astute among you may have noticed that in this slightly barren period of game releases and information, there has been one major release. Destiny: Rise of Iron (RoI) is regarded as one of the best Destiny release yet, with a better story, fewer loopholes and a lot of new gear.

The Rise of Iron expansion is definitely an improvement on previous expansions of Destiny. The storyline itself follows the Guardian fighting back the SIVA virus and protecting the legacy of the Iron Lords, who sacrificed themselves to save the planet from SIVA the first time it was released. You must help Lord Saladin, the eternal Iron Lord, saviour of Earth, put his past behind him and move on.

The story of Rise of Iron is one that is very self-contained. Within just a few missions of discovering this new threat to the existence of the last city on Earth, you’re already defeating it. The final fight may be arguably Destiny‘s best encounter, but none of the story links into the wider world. Perhaps this was on purpose, to prevent any cliffhangers in the build up to Destiny 2. On the other hand, there are still so many questions from vanilla Destiny that a couple more wouldn’t hurt the overall story arc anymore, and maybe Bungie could have plugged some of the loopholes on the way.

Not only in the Rise of Iron incredibly low on physical missions, each one is very short. The handful of missions, although brilliant in themselves, do not add much needed game time to Destiny, and actually, if I were a returning player after a long break, I’d feel short changed for £40 worth of DLC. But it’s not the ‘story’ missions that make up the bulk of a Destiny expansion; straight after completing the story, a host of new side missions open up to enable players get the new Iron Gjallarhorn and Khvostov exotic weapons, and to entice them into the new Crucible mode Supremacy.  It’s the side quests and time-locked missions that really make it worth the money.

Fighting through the Plaguelands, a new, reskinned area of the Cosmodrome on Earth is fun, but there’s a distinct lack of discovery. Everything feels very similar to vanilla Destiny’s main area, although there are a few nice secret areas. The Archon’s Forge, Rise of Iron’s answer to The Court of Oryx, is a nice challenge, although there are too many of Plagueland’s Patrol missions that require you to pass through there, even if you don’t have a key.

The release of RoI didn’t quite go as expected however. Despite having a year since the release of The Taken King (TTK) expansion, developers Bungie have done nothing to sort out their server problems. Apparently, Bungie did not think “we’re releasing a new and popular game, better increase our player capacity”, and drove right on into the absolute mess that was the RoI release.

At the time of release for any new DLC, Bungie takes the servers offline to activate the new expansion. However, when they came back online, many players found they could not access the new content due to the “tapir” error. Bungie, being the fun-loving, quirky company that they are, decided to name their error codes after animals instead of generic numbers, but this has led to a few new phrases being coined during Destiny’s lifespan – such as being “Babooned” (kicked from a game), and “Bucking” (being kicked from Xbox Live/PSN).

The “tapir” error however, means Destiny is down for maintenance; of course it wasn’t, having had a new expansion just released. This error prevented over 300,000 players from logging into the game for the first hour – we know the numbers because Bungie decided to form a queue system to enter the game.

Now, changing a game without telling the players about it can make some people pretty frustrated. Forming a queue system without prior warning, and having that queue system boot players who got to the front of the line all the way to the back caused some real anger in the community (or not if you’re British and used to queuing).

In a way though, it’s quite nice that Rise of Iron brings Destiny back to where it all started. The Khvostov is a hark back to the first weapon your Guardian picks up in the original game, and The Plaguelands see old areas chopped and changed, but still recognisable. Destiny is coming to the end of its lifespan, and soon Destiny 2 will be released; Rise of Iron is all about acknowledging the incredible past that Destiny now has, and moving on into the new game.

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