Destiny: Rise of Iron Review

It’s been a year since the last time guardians have been able to explore somewhere new in the world of Destiny.  Destiny: Rise of Iron breathes some much needed life into Bungie’s open world shooter.  With new quests, loot to find, and places to explore, is it enough to bring back players that left due to a lack of content through Destiny’s second year, as well as keep active players entertained?  In the short form, yes.  The real question is – for how long?

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In Destiny: Rise of Iron, guardians are faced with the newest threat – SIVA.  SIVA is a self replicating nano-virus that has the ability to alter the structure of anything and anyone.  The story revolves around Lord Saladin and the fate of the other Iron Lords – and the origins of this latest threat.  The Fallen House of Devils have gone digging in the Plaguelands – the new area adjacent to the Cosmodrome – and have found the SIVA tech.  Despite SIVA not being totally controllable – or totally understood – the House of Devils splice their own DNA with Siva to become something new – Fallen Splicers.  These enemies do still look similar to the familiar Fallen, but act in a totally different matter. They are more aggressive, and many more have teleport abilities now, keeping you on your toes.

The Splicers are a welcome change of pace, and help make firefights more intense Rise of Iron ups the ante when it comes to those moments of action, with more and tougher enemies creating some nail biting scenarios.  Now more than ever getting caught in the crossfire, out in the open, is a recipe for Respawn – you’ll need to use the new map areas intelligently to create bottlenecks on the battlefield to your advantage.

Quests are still being discovered and Bungie probably has time gated some so there is doubtless more to come, but the main story quest can be finished in 2 to 3 hours.  This was a bit of a let down as it seems there’s so much we could learn about the Iron Lords, and yet it all seems forced through rather too quickly.  Exotic weapon quests seem more brief this time ’round, too, as the first day saw us armed with both the exotic Khostov 7G-0X as well as the rejuvenated Gjallarhorn. The year three Thorn might take a little longer, depending on your PVP skills, but this isn’t anything new.  The quests revealed so far seem a bit of a let down.

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The Plaguelands – a new Earth area in which most of Rise of Iron takes place, is definitely larger than the Dreadnaught from The Taken King, and like the Dreadnaught is packed full of secrets to discover. Splicer keys – yet another new resource or currency – drop from enemies and unlock doors that allow you to explore even farther, potentially uncovering secret quests and weapons.  Enemies are encountered more frequently and in greater numbers, while public events seem more challenging and frequent, adding a challenging edge to the often stale patrols. With constant Splicer reinforcements, and ferocious Hive emerging from caves, you will have plenty of reasons to dump ammo.

Archon’s Forge is Rise of Iron’s answer to The Taken King‘s Court of Oryx, and is a lot of fun.  Guardians place a SIVA offering to draw forth tough enemies to fight – different offerings producing different enemies. Unfortunately, SIVA offerings don’t drop frequently, and you can only carry one at a time, meaning you can’t just run it like crazy as you did in the Court.

With all the enemies, events, and places to discover, this is the first time we really enjoyed just playing around on patrols.  But obviously, patrols don’t allow you to increase your light level very much to do harder content, so what do you do?

Rise of Iron has a great system in place making blue ‘rare’ engrams more important and valuable than ever before.  The Heroic SIVA Crisis Strike playlist drops rare engrams up to light level 365 – and with that light level it’s possible to participate in almost all of the content available.  Destiny’s smart loot system is still in place, which bases the light level on drops on your current light level.  Speaking of rewards – faction packages and exotic engrams all drop up to 385 items, which is a nice way to keep pushing forward.

Where Rise of Iron falls short is (currently) the lack of ways to break the 365 barrier.  Relying on ranking up factions, the chance of exotic engrams dropping (as well as exotic tier rewards), and the new raid Wrath of the Machine are the only real reliable source to go above light level 365.  Iron Banner and Trials of Osiris are sure to drop max level gear as well, but we need to wait for those to come back around.  It appears Bungie wants to slow down progression this way, but it relies too much on RNG, and is time consuming for those who don’t have Raid connections.

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For those looking to get their raid teams back together though, Wrath of the Machine delivers in a big way.  Seasoned veterans of the Destiny raid experience know the drill; grab your best sniper, a ton of Nightstalker hunters and Defender titans and get to work.  Wrath is nothing like that though.  Yes, it is really nice to have Defenders and Nightstalkers but there are so many enemies in every fight you encounter in this raid.  Stormcallers and Voidwalkers are saviors when things get intense thanks to their abilities to clear a room quickly.  Many of fights are also close quarters with major enemies rushing you, so  Shotguns are a great tool when getting overwhelmed in these fights. The famed days of machine guns being the only option in heavy slot are gone as well., as rocket launchers can clear groups instantly and put massive damage on a boss,. Oh, and did we also mention… Gjallarhorn!

If you need a full walkthrough on how to complete Wrath of the Machine, check out our full walkthrough (spoilers, obviously!) As with any Destiny raid, there are mechanics to be discovered and learned – but in Wrath of the Machine, the biggest challenge is often simply making sure you don’t eat to many bullets and die.  There are also so many secrets, and every chest has a chance to drop an exotic item. Each boss fight gives you access to a chest for a second chance at that boss loot pool, so if you wanted the fusion rifle but you got the shotgun, you can use a Siva Cache key for an additional reward giving you another chance.  You can also use SIVA key offerings to reroll the perks on the raid armor pieces to help get that perfect set of gear.

All in all we believe this is easily the most fun raid experience Bungie has given Guardians.

Destiny: Rise of Iron needed to be near perfect after so much criticism about the lack of content over the last year.  So many players were playing the same content over and over, or just left the game.  There is still so much more to discover but it is a great time to come back to Destiny, as many of the Xbox One UK team have.  So far, Rise of Iron offers enough new content to reward the patience of those who have stuck with Bungie’s magnum opus, and thank returning Guardians.

Grab your weapons guardians and go enjoy destroying the SIVA threat.

 

What do you think of Rise of Iron?  What has been your favorite part of Rise of Iron?  Let us know in the comment section below!

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Breathes some new and much needed life into Bungie's open world shooter
  • 8/10
    Overall - 8/10
8/10

Summary

Destiny: Rise of Iron is the much anticipated expansion that Guardians of all types have been waiting for. Its strong emphasis on endgame content provides plenty to do, but may cause some struggles for casual players. With its new areas to explore and hidden secrets, this is the breath of fresh air that Destiny needed.

Robert Rodkey

A husband and father with a love for gaming and gaming industry. Got my Bachelors degree in Game Design and Simulation and play anything I can get my hands on but currently addicted to Destiny. Whatever else you heard about me, don't believe it... unless it's good. Gamertag: aCerealMurderer

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