Published on October 3rd, 2016 | by Cactus
REVIEW: Destiny: Rise of Iron
Summary: Destiny is back in this latest expansion. When the Fallen expand their territory out of the Cosmodrome and into the forbidden Plaguelands, the ancient order of Iron Lords arise in order to combat the horrors that have been unleashed. Is Rise of Iron a game changer, or should the Iron Lords remain hidden?
Concept: Rise of Iron is the latest and final expansion for Destiny, in which the Fallen (a race of aliens serving the Darkness) begin to plunder long-abandoned areas of Old Russia in search of SIVA; a powerful piece of technology that the Fallen hope to use against the Traveller. In action, they awaken Lord Saladin, the last of the Iron Lords and the sole survivor of a previous war against SIVA. Saladin recruits the Guardians in order to stop the Fallen and drive SIVA back underground. Much like Taken King before it, Rise of Iron contains a whole new area for missions and patrols, as well as a new social hub. However, unlike Taken King, one of the major issues, this time is drive. The build up and anticipation of fighting Oryx, the Taken King, was built up over the main game and the Dark Below expansion. While the Fallen have been a high profile threat since launch, SIVA and the Iron Lords feel underdeveloped. While from a story point of view this is logical, something with more gravitas would have been more appreciated for the final piece of the Destiny pie.
Iron Lord weapons certainly give the Fallen a run for their money…
Graphics: The new enemies and designs in Rise of Iron are great. The modified ‘Splicer Fallen’ have a very nice artistic styling to them which allows them to be distinguished from the regular Fallen, but yet still retain enough of the original essence for their origins to be apparent. SIVA, in game, is a piece of technology the Fallen use to enhance themselves and become cybernetic beings. However, the design of the modifications is entirely original. These Fallen look bizarre and frightening, with some having long blades in place of arms or legs. It would have been easy to make them look generic, or similar to other Fallen with mechanical limbs such as Varkis, but the appearance of the Splicers is incredibly iconic. The new environment is similar to the Cosmodrome, but blanketed in thick snow. In juxtaposition to the snow are the long coils of SIVA which run across the land. SIVA itself looks to be a combination of organic and mechanic material, with it’s striking red cables like veins pulsing across the landscape. Everything does just as you would want in an expansion; it stands out and feels new, but also feels as though it belongs in the pre-established world.
Gameplay: First and foremost, it’s still great to shoot things in Destiny. Bungie clearly knows their games greatest strength, and indeed there is a lot of shooting in Rise of Iron. With it’s 5 main campaign levels taking about 2-3 hours to complete, the package may seem a little lacking, but the new postgame content far by makes up for it. After completion, I found myself jumping from one new level to the next, running errands for the Iron Lords for the rest of my week. Furthermore, the levels themselves are all quite good and varied, though the variation definitely tends towards the later ones. Each Destiny expansion has it’s own particular flair and feel with its levels, and Rise of Iron is no exception.
‘Sorry mate, had to go charge my legs!’
Sounds: Like Taken King before it, Rise of Iron is also accompanied by an entirely new score. The new pieces work well with the action, and like all of Bungie’s music, is incredibly well written and performed. One interesting thing of note was the subtle, yet noticeable use of electric guitars which harkened back their iconic usage in Halo 2. While Martin O’Donnell has been absent from the company for several years, his colleague Michael Salvatori has continued their work and made music well worth commending. With new motifs for SIVA and the Iron Lords, continues to demonstrate howgood game music really can be.
Changes: Any Destiny expansion would not be complete without a few changes to the game. For the unfamiliar, on launch Destiny was far from perfect, or arguably even playable at particular levels. When the herald known only as ‘The Taken King’ arrived, many of the games more ravenous issues were fixed, and Rise of Iron does a fine job of fixing up the few remaining problems. For one, acquiring exotic weapons is now far more reliable. In my playthrough I obtained 2 such weapons, including the almighty Gjallarhorn. While in the past hunting for better gear could turn into an absolute nightmare, Rise of Iron’s new additions helps abate the Destiny grid fest.
The Plaguelands: Your ultimate holiday location.
Awesomeness: From its release, I’ve been a fan of Destiny. While the storytelling and gameplay have improved over time, I’m still of the impression that the game has a lot of work to be done before it can be perfected. Taken King and House of Wolves before it were both incredibly good at helping the universe of Destiny grow and improve. I don’t think that Rise of Iron sustains that legacy. What you are doing, and why you are doing it impacts a game greatly, and Rise of Iron could have done a lot more to support its levels in this way. That’s not to say that the levels aren’t good; level design and enemy AI has been Bungie’s strong suit since Marathon back in 1995, it’s just one hoped that the swan song of Destiny 1 would provide more resolution that Rise of Iron does.
Final Words: In writing it has been hard not to compare Rise of Iron with Taken King. Taken King had such an impact on the game that anything after it would seem weaker by comparison. That said, Rise of Iron is still worth your time, if only just for an excuse to play more Destiny. This isn’t the best piece of DLC, or even of Destiny, but what Rise of Iron has to offer is definitely worth your time.
Score out of 5 bugs