I’ve been playing the first major expansion ‘The Taken King’ for the extremely popular video game ‘Destiny’ for a week now (or two weeks if you count Bungie’s week-long preview of the expansion’s player-versus-player maps) and my personal viewpoint is simple: it is beyond phenomenal! After patches and updates and a pair of downloadable content packs that felt more like an extra twenty minutes, ‘The Taken King’ feels more like a sequel than it probably means to be. It is the game that ‘Destiny’ should have been when it launched a year ago.
The expansion is huge and players all over are in agreement. From new abilities for old enemies to quest chains to a massive explorable zone rife with secret chambers, hidden bosses, and mysterious chests, ‘The Taken King’ includes quite a bit of the things fans have been clamoring for since the start. The retooled leveling system is simply perfect with attack and defense now tied to the weapons and armor you have equipped. Some were worried that with Bungie leaving most Year One gear behind, this would take away all the good they’d done and player characters would go back to all looking alike, equipping the same high attack weapons and the same high defense armor. With the ability to infuse gear into each other to raise the attack and defense statistics of whatever items you choose, this simply isn’t the case. While you’ll still see the occasional player wearing the same exotic piece of armor or carrying the same exotic weapon as you, it is fewer and further between than what even I initially suspected.
The menus have even gotten a sleek new look with a new tab specifically designed for quests, bounties, and your faction status. From this menu, you can check out all the new quests you’ve picked up and some of the old ones too. You can view in-depth what is required for you to complete each quest and then decipher where and how to go about it. For bounties, you can turn them in right from the menu without the need to return to the Tower to do so anymore. One of the most aesthetically pleasing items that Bungie added to the game for me personally was the physical appearance of loot dropping from enemies as opposed to simply popping up in some post-mission completion report. There’s very little difference between the two when you get down to it, but the feeling is ten times as better when you see that purple or exotic engram drop. Simply put – it’s just cool.
The new subclasses for each type of Guardian are awesome as well. Whether playing as a Stormcaller, Sunbreaker, or Nightstalker, each class feels just as unique as the other and they mesh well with any of the other subclasses. I noticed in particular a strong synergy when my friend, who mains a Stormcaller, activated his Super (Stormtrance), an ability that mimics the infamous lightning from Star Wars, after I tethered a bunch of enemies to each other using my own Super, an ability known as Shadowshot. The devastation that befell our enemies was a truly terrifying sight to behold. I almost felt bad for those little pieces of code we call our foes.
Finally, on Friday, Bungie released King’s Fall, the third raid they’ve released for the game so far. While I haven’t participated myself, I did get a chance to watch the gameplay footage of the first team in the world to complete the raid. It looks to be the most entertaining raid so far and it was so exciting to watch not only the King’s Fall World First team, but others as well. I can’t wait to grab a few more people and take my fireteam out to play as well. It will be tough, but we’ve done tough before.
If you’ve been on the fence about picking up ‘The Taken King’ because you were disappointed by everything ‘Destiny’ has given us in the first year, I’d like to ask you to give the game a second chance if you ever liked it at all. The price may seem steep at $40, but it’s well spent and certainly comparable to the mass of sequels that other companies pump out on a yearly basis. If you’re still not convinced after this article, check out some gameplay of your own or see if a friend will let you come over and preview the excitement for yourself. You won’t regret it.
Until next time, Guardians, see you starside.