Destiny: The Dark Below ReviewDecember 21, 2014
I am approaching the 400 hour mark in Destiny…that’s probably not something I should admit. Needless to say, I was chomping at the bit to play The Dark Below; the first expansion for Destiny last Tuesday. Several Guardians took the wait-and-see approach when it came to the expansion. Fail to deliver, and those Guardians will be lost to the darkness forever. Succeed, and the Hellmouth will be flooded with Guardians descending into its pit for the foreseeable future.
So, did The Dark Below deliver? Well, yes and no. Again, it’s hard to live up to expectations, especially when there is seldom a consensus. Like most AAA title games, 99% of the community just plays the game and genuinely enjoys most of it, and 1% are always crying on forums.
Guardians wanted a more immersive storyline that they could get behind; one that would give them purpose. The story in the expansion revolves around Eris Morn, a guardian who was the only surviving member of a six-person fireteam to escape an encounter on the Moon against the growing threat of the Hive’s god, Crota. There are three new story missions in this expansion that flesh out her story, with additional quests/bounties that Eris has available for at the Tower.
The missions are certainly more immersive, and the new music is just as fantastic as the original game. Still, despite being slightly more challenging, primarily due to the nature of the enemies and how many are in each mission, they are relatively short. One could probably complete all three missions in roughly 30-45 minutes, that’s not a lot of content.
By completing the three story missions, and finishing some additional quests, Guardians gain access to the strike(s) (PlayStation users have an additional strike). Previously, strikes unlocked on any given planet based on a progression through the story on said planet; they were seldom connected. In The Dark Below, the strike – The Will of Crota – is the culmination of the three story missions. This change in storytelling is a welcomed addition, but I still don’t feel it was completely satisfying as it doesn’t fill in any of the craters that the original story left.
Eris will continue to provide daily bounties that can be completed that grant experience while also leveling their vendor status with her. Thus far, she seems to have a few random bounties every day and one that is class specific. I personally find these bounties to be far more cumbersome than the Vanguard and Crucible bounties, but a necessary evil if you want to easily upgrade new gear. There was a litany of forum posts that begged for there to be more vendors that had a purpose in the Tower, so I suppose she fills that role.
A new level 26 strike has been added to the Vanguard playlist – Vanguard Roc. I was hopeful that ascendant material would be granted for completing a random strike at this higher difficulty, but my hopes were dashed. Basically, it’s slightly harder to get the same rewards as two weeks ago. I am not sure if the additional strike(s) are included in the playlist, as I haven’t participated in a Vanguard Roc up to this point.
In fact, I didn’t even finish the three story missions before I joined five members of the infamous clan known as the Dads of Destiny EST PS4 to take on the new raid, Crota’s End. I plan on putting out an article about the raid once I am able to complete it; our valiant group was able to complete about 2/3 of it during our initial outing. The challenges it presents are different than the Vault of Glass, and that’s a good thing. I don’t want to spoil too much here, but every Guardian must carry their own weight, and sometimes more, if they expect to emerge victorious.
In regards to the raid, a shoutout to our leader TrueVanguard, our strategist Rao, our self-reviving sunsinger Bubba, and our Hive blinders and bubble droppers Rollam and MrFixins.
There are three new Crucible maps as well, none of which I have played yet because again…the raid. I’ll have something to say for sure about those maps in a future article because Iron Banner returned this week and I’ll be doing that quite a bit. Apparently, there is also a new Crucible mode in the works called “Inferno”; it’s a game mode that will eliminate radar. I really enjoy the Crucible, but mainly Iron Banner and control. I suppose this new game mode satisfies the 1% on the forums that claim they’d be the best player ever if it wasn’t for supers and radar.
Overall, the new storyline is more interesting, but again, a little too brief. For me, The Dark Below was mostly about the new raid, and it mostly delivered. Bungie has always taken two steps forward and one step back when it comes to just about everything in Destiny (more on this in a future article). But, the fact that the expansion will allow me to keep playing with an awesome community makes it worth my money.