DLC Review – Destiny: The Taken King (Xbox One)

Destiny, is just plain old fun. In the 500+ hours I have put into it, each time I geared up with my Hunter to tackle whatever challenge myself and my team-mates would face, it was always fun. Conquering a Raid Boss, finishing up a difficult nightfall mission, or exploring every dark corner looking for a loot chest or collectible item, there is always something to do. Much of progressing in Destiny means retreading on the same activities and missions dozens and dozens of times, and this can lead to the game wearing on you. Months before the first expansion, I had to give Destiny a break.

Destiny is a constantly evolving game if you played through until right now. Regular game mechanic changes, revisions and weapon buffs or nerfs, kept us all in a state of mystery if that force to be reckoned with rifle in your hand would be just as effective that day, or worse the next. It’s no secret that Destiny for the most part was a very unfinished game, troubled with development woes and high profile people leaving Bungie months before its release. Maybe that’s why The Taken King is the very content needed to show us all that maybe Bungie finally knows what it is doing.

The first two expansions, House of Wolves and The Dark Below were basically on par with what Destiny had already been doing. While light on story and the action tense, each expansion pack brought very minimal changes to Destiny while still giving us some fun content to explore. It’s also worth mentioning that the House of Wolves didn’t include a Raid level, Destiny’s high tier six player missions. It did, however; include the Prison of Elders, a wave after wave mode that in Destiny as of today is useless to even attempt as the rewards are pitiful. The rewards are lacklustre because The Taken King implements Year Two gear with way higher stats, and the rewards given out with this event are only Year One.

The Taken King pretty much fixes nearly all issues that had been plaguing the game until now. Fan feedback has been very instrumental in getting Destiny to where it is today, and that’s a good thing. The Taken King took a look at nearly every faucet of Destiny and fixed it, tweaked it, or made it just simply better than it had been before. I know plenty of people that were done with Destiny, and they are back playing it in full force.

Storage within the game has been a huge issue since day one as the game launched with very minimal collectible space. People who wanted to collect their favourite guns and armour pieces were caught having to pick and choose what they stored in the games digital vault. Their prayers had been answered when Bungie revealed that the vault space would be more than doubled, and that items like player emblems and armour shaders wouldn’t need to be stored in the vault, but rather in stationary terminals. This was also true with exotics, the games high tier items. You could dismantle any exotic and provided you had the in game funds, simply rebuild them at any time.

Loot has been a hit or miss mechanic in the game thus far. You could do mission and get a sweet new gun or piece of armour, or get nothing in a span of a dozen missions. People ended up finding areas dubbed “loot caves” that allowed endless supplies of enemies to be farmed for increased loot drops. Eventually Loot caves were altered to not shower us with so much loot and players had to find their next method of finding treasure. The Taken King gives us new ways to find loot, and for the most part, It works. Almost every mission, strike or raid attempt had me find a new piece of gear I could either equip, break down into new currency, or feed to my existing gun using a new mechanic called Infusion. In the newest Raid, King’s Fall, I had the arms, rocket launcher and the Pulse rifle drop by the time we took Oryx down. Loot has been changed in The Taken King, and for the better. Originally, you had various types of currency to buy weapons and gear with, but The Taken King simplifies this with a universal currency called Legendary Marks and these are spendable at either PVE or PVP vendors.

The way at which Destiny gives us its story, up until now, was severely lacking. We would get some voice over during its loading screens, some while we traversed the same areas again and again, and the odd cut-scene here and there. It felt as though a lot of the story had been cut, or just flat out missing. One character from year one Destiny, whom we still don’t know anything about, sums it up perfectly. “I don’t even have time to explain why I don’t have time to explain.” This was Destiny’s story telling in a nutshell. With The Taken King, story is right front and centre. We get great character moments with Cayde-6 played by fan favourite Nathan Fillion, whom in his role here is both charming and funny. Eris Morn, from the Dark Below has much more material to work with that she did in her own expansion. Pretty much every character introduced, except for the one I had just previously quoted, has something minor or major to do in this story. The Taken King even manages to finish up a few plot threads left from The House of Wolves.

At the end of Raid in The Dark Below, you killed Crota. It was a satisfying battle for sure, and it also took notice of his Father, Oryx, The Taken King. Set for revenge, he plagues each and every play space of Destiny with his forces and is set upon taking you down. The enemies you combat are known as the Taken. They consist of all the enemy types you have faced before in regular Destiny, but drastically different ghost like versions. Whether they phase shift from side to side, blind you with dark attacks, split into two if you leave them alive long enough, or have a second enemy charging a shield around them, the Taken can be very unpredictable, which is a huge improvement over the enemies before.

During the story you will storm Oryx’s ship, visit the funeral of Crota, and eventually take down ol’ daddy dearest. I had more fun with The Taken King and its story and characters than I did with anything released so far for Destiny. Putting Nathan Fillion at the centre of this adventure with his Cayde-6 character was a smart choice. He brings a light-hearted and comedic touch to the story, and his interactions with nearly every character in the story feels real. “No one likes a bad idea until it works.” was a line I chuckle at each time I hear it. And much like every form of content in Destiny, you’ll hear it dozens of times.

To give the new expansion some much needed life with your own abilities as a Guardian, you are each given a new subclass to decimate enemies with. The Hunter gets the void equipped Nightstalker, armed with a bow that can hurt enemies as well as slow them down. Sunbreaker is given to the Titan as a solar based throwing hammer attack similar to the Golden gun ability of the Hunter. Rounding out the pack is the Warlock, given the Stormcaller class that pretty much turns you into the Emperor from Star Wars. The new subclasses each work well in their own way, but at times can feel very overpowered.

I also keep managing to find new content even once you inevitably take down Oryx. New missions springs up from almost every source, and secret quests reveal themselves when you meet an equally secret requirement. The amount of content in this pack is staggering, as Bungie themselves have stated they hid months of secrets into The Taken King. The new patrol space, The Dreadnaught is filled to the brim with said secrets, and I am sure that months will go by before even close to half of them have been found.

The Taken King is the best Destiny has given us. Its new mechanics and storage and loot systems are very much what it needed. The story has never been better, and even the new voice for your companion, ghost, has been a great improvement. I thought I was done putting a few more hundred hours of my time into Destiny, but that is simply not the case. With the new raid and the Court of Oryx to fill my time until they revamp the Prison of Elders for year two, Destiny has given its players a new reason to set out with their Guardians and take down evil once again.

I should also point out that not having The Taken King does limit the amount of interaction you can have with your friends that do. Weekly story, strikes and nightfalls that rely on the new content are blocked from users lacking the current expansion. If you feel that you are going to be investing a lot of your time with Destiny, then that $40 purchase should really be considered.

The Taken King is available for Xbox 360/One and PS3/PS4 through each of the digital store fronts for $40, or available with all the current Destiny content thus far both online and in stores for $70-80 depending on your platform.

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