Review: Destiny: The Taken King Expansion (PS4)
Destiny has come a long way in a year. Its initial release saw lots of mixed reviews and the reception was even more mixed (for the record, I loved it). Despite the mix, it was a game that received lots of attention and lots of people bought it and played it regardless. It’s the one game that I constantly see people on my friend’s list playing, so Bungie clearly got something very right.
If the main game received a mixed response then the DLC could only be considered a little underwhelming. Again, people still played it, but it was short, had the same story issues and the same levelling up and rewards problems of the main game. It didn’t really feel like the DLC added much apart from some story fluff and more reasons to shoot things (not always a bad thing).
But The Taken King is no simple DLC. It’s Destiny’s first major expansion coming just over a year after the initial release. It comes just after a massive update to the game bringing us Destiny 2.0 as well as The Taken King story expansion. Do Bungie stick to the word ‘expansion’ or is this just a bit more DLC?
It’s Not Just DLC
First of all you have to know a bit about the update. It changes so much of the game that you might not even recognise it anymore. The most important aspect of the update is the way you level up. No longer is your level reliant on finding gear with light levels, praying that you stumble upon something decent to use. Now it’s all about them stats, so more attack and defence means a higher level, while light still has a part to play in your stats. Having this more conventional way of increasing your level immediately makes the game feel like less of a chore and far more fun.
With that in mind, The Taken King expansion is really quite special. It requires you to be at level 25 and for those that don’t want to go through the initial game do have the opportunity to fast track to level 25 for ONE of your characters so you can jump straight into the expansion. I say that, but the truth is there is some follow-on in the story, particularly from the original content and from The Dark Below DLC.
Wait, there’s a story here?
The Taken King story starts off by explaining how, after you killed Crota, his father, Oryx comes a calling intent on revenge for his son’s death. It’s never easy losing a kid so you can understand Oryx’s rage and his desire to wipe out all the guardians for their misdeeds.
Oryx enters the atmosphere on his Dreadnaught, a completely new area for you to explore in the Destiny Universe. It’s very different to the other areas we have seen so far and it feels like this really powerful, almost glorious ship which you need to infiltrate to defeat Oryx before he can wipe out humanity.
The story is far more fleshed out than the original Destiny content, so those that felt insulted by the mess of a story can ease their fears as The Taken King is full of explanations, character, brilliant cutscenes and a wealth of information brought to you through Eris Morn, not Dinklebot (Nolanbot) and the real star, Cayde. Cayde instructs you through the missions and the addition of his humour is simply brilliant and added to the enjoyment of the expansion. I lost count the amount of times he made me laugh through the story.
Quite Taken with ramped up Gameplay
The gameplay is very much what we have come to know and love of Destiny. It has some of the most solid shooting blended with ultra cool weapons and other gear. There’s nothing quite like getting drops of decent armour and weapons to kit out your guardian. On that note, the drops are far more forgiving than before thanks to the update. You will receive improved gear more often than not and engrams are no longer a complete waste of time. Mixing and matching your weaponry and discovering those delightful Exotics, Legendary weapons and of course some of those rares never lose its appeal.
Another addition thanks to the update and The Taken King is the ability to track your quests. The quest page is now dedicated to showing you exactly what you need to do next in each of your quests, in turn making it far more streamlined and accessible. This goes for bounties too of which you can hold more and track them and complete them easier than before, with great reward in doing so.
What really adds to the gameplay in The Taken King is the enemies. There are some intense battles with some great new enemies including some of the coolest boss battles the game has seen thus far. It’s also not just about that “horde mode” feeling the original provided and the missions really do change things up, from escaping the dreadnaught to doing stealth missions, there’s just so much variety to enjoy.
The enemy of my enemy
This is made even better with the Taken Enemies. Essentially they are your original enemies, only modified and far more dangerous. Oryx’s power comes from his ability to control anything and anyone who gets in his way. He takes The Fallen, The Cabal and any other enemies he wants and makes them far more dangerous. It might seem like you are fighting the same enemies, but it’s a whole new challenge, particularly with the way they can teleport and attack you, so you need to be constantly on your guard.
The Taken King has everything going for it. It’s improved the story of Destiny tenfold with some brilliant, epic moments. These moments are made better with the unbelievable music backing it up and the some crisp, glorious graphics we’ve come to expect from the Destiny universe.
There is plenty of concern around The Taken King price, but for me it’s worth it. It’s essentially a “sequel” to the original and with the massive update makes it worthwhile for anyone who loves Destiny, and even more so for anyone who wants to get (back) into it. It’s perhaps not quite as long as the original game but it is almost as long, particularly if you play solo, though co-op is always preferable.
Destiny wants you back!
Between the main missions, additional Raid (and more to come), the strike missions, the rewards, the new weapons, new exotics, new characters, new balanced gunplay, new areas and enemies, the new music, new multiplayer arenas and options and of course a whole new Ghost there is just so much going on in Destiny that you simply cannot ignore it or what Bungie are doing with it.
The Taken King was non-stop action and fun from the first minute to the last and even though I have played hours and hours of it already, I know that when I have a break from anything else it will be more Destiny that I will be turning to. The Taken King is a sublime addition to the Destiny world and a must for any fans of the game. Get it, you won’t be sorry. The Destiny you thought you knew has changed.