Destiny seemed like the kind of game I could really get into. The big project by former Halo creators looked to be interesting and unique. While I heard many people relate it to Borderlands, which I was never a big fan of, the aesthetic and creative characters intrigued me enough to want to play it (plus any game where warlocks are available will earn my attention). I missed Destiny at launch; however, I found no better reason to play it than The Taken King, the newest expansion to the game and after an entire weekend with the game, my verdict is a resounding meh.
The Taken King is supposed to take place after the events of Destiny’s main story, and the events of The Dark Below expansion pack. After the Guardian killed Crota in The Dark Below, Orox, Crota’s father, comes to exact his revenge. These events will take the Guardians on a new quest to stop his reign of terror against a new threat known as The Taken.
While Destiny’s stories are all very cool, I never really found myself getting very invested in any of the events. Having elements of an MMO makes the story very loose and applicable to all players, no matter what they are. The game also hands you an item that boosts you to level 25, allowing you to do The Taken King quests, so players can essentially get right into The Taken King without having any of the necessary information. I noticed this when I approached The Rift for the first time, the home of the race of characters known as The Awoken. Considering that I was playing as an Awoken, I found it strange that not a single character commented on this and instead treated me as if I were an outsider, as would be the case with every other character.
From there it seemed like the story was just a series of contrived reasons to connect the missions instead of an experience I was getting to be a part of. And considering that almost every mission can be completed solo, it definitely seems like Destiny could have benefited from a more robust single-player experience.
Several changes have come to Destiny in The Taken King. The Light system has been revamped to include weapons. Players are no longer restricted by their armor sets, feeling compelled to grind out levels in order to meet certain missions’ Light requirements.
New sub-classes are available for the Titan, Hunter, and Warlock. The Titan gets the Sunbreaker class, which turns them into a human fireball and gives their hammer throw a lot more distance. Hunters get the void-based Nightstalker class which changes their bow and arrow attack to reflect the Warlock’s black-hole grenade. Warlocks gain access to the Stormcaller, which gives them an intense electric attack which is more close-range, changing the Warlock’s long-distance, tactical style of play.
The quest system has been revamped, now adding a bit of context to each quest. While the inclusion is appreciated, I found myself having a really hard time to care about any of the story elements given how disconnected I felt from all the events.
Destiny’s biggest problem remains in-tact however, and that is its repetition. Every mission felt like a level of Halo: get from point-A to point-B and shoot everything in your way; however, with the RPG elements of Borderlands, this felt more tedious that action-packed. While there were a few genuinely tense moments against bosses, most mission began to blur together and get boring as I ran around scoring instant critical headshot kills with my hand cannon. Also not unlike Borderlands, Destiny’s “grab a new gun/armour every five minutes” remains in-tact, and while I found it interesting how weapons and armour have upgrades that unlock as you gain experience, often times I found myself ditching gear moments after unlocking an upgrade in favor of gear with higher attack/defense ratings.
Destiny still looks beautiful, with The Taken King offering some fascinating new areas. Many missions take place indoors, creating very tense firefights. The overall feeling of grandness remains as areas are still extremely expansive with several ways to explore.
The music in Destiny remains beautiful, setting the tone perfectly from eerie exploration, to intense escapes of space stations under siege of the Taken. Most notable in the sound department is the change in the voice of Ghost, Peter Dinklage being replaced by Nolan North. Initially, I thought Dinklage’s voice would remain until The Taken King, believing the game would contrive a reason to replace him. However, North actually redid every line of dialogue, creating a very different character for Ghost. Gone is Dinklage’s cold and robotic delivery, replaced by a more upbeat, though equally robotic character.
Destiny takes the best parts of Halo and combines them with the worst parts of Borderlands. While the extensive amount of new content is a welcomed addition, it doesn’t take long before it falls into the familiar grind. The Taken King is by no means a bad experience, and its gameplay is certainly fun; however, I found myself getting bored quickly. Hardcore Guardians might fight to see it all; newcomers might not be taken by this king.