The start of Year Two for Destiny begins with the newest expansion from Bungie, The Taken King, and it is exactly how we’ve wanted the game to be for a very long time. Many of the issues that players had with Destiny’s first year on the market have been either completely addressed or improved upon in massive ways.
But rather than release a standalone downloadable expansion, Bungie decided to give a full retail release as a celebration for the start of what they are calling Year Two. This means a lot for players who have supported Destiny since the beginning. If you were one of many people who avoided playing Destiny however, then now is the best time for you to get back into playing with everyone.
The story content for The Taken King is the best that the game has seen to date. Not only are the cinematics throughout the campaign more frequent and action-packed, but really put an emphasis on the effects of the events on the whole galaxy. Nolan North replaces Peter Dinklage as your trusty Shell-bot companion, as well as other characters that appear, and helps give more life to Destiny’s story.
All of the missions you complete have a more relevant importance to the plot that unfolds, rather than just being something to breeze through before going into the Crucible. The music, the visuals, and the excitement of the story based missions in The Taken King are things that Destiny players deserved well over a year ago.
The Taken King fundamentally changes a lot of important parts within Destiny. Previous expansions, such as the House of Wolves and The Dark Below, added additional content that gave players more stuff to do outside of the main campaign and competitive multiplayer. The Taken King does the same, but also tweaks the way players level up and grow as they complete more activities and find more loot.
The level cap is now increased to 40 and the light level for guardians is tweaked to be an average of the total strength of all your weapons and armor. This makes reaching the level cap a bit easier than before, but also makes implementing the overall strength and build of your character beyond the level cap easier as well.
What Destiny players will be most concerned about are the changes to many of the weapons. Older weapons, aptly named Year One weapons, are almost rendered obsolete compared to the new arsenal from The Taken King. Unless your favorite weapon was transferred over, the majority of Year One weapons will not be as good as anything you find while playing through The Taken King missions. This can be a turnoff for a player who played for many hours to obtain specific weapons and armor, but this evens out the landscape of players who dive into The Taken King.
The Taken King’s end-game content is full of new quest and Strikes that will keep players busy for a very long time. Although a lot of the end-game content does require you to finish up the original Destiny campaign, there are plenty of things to do once you reach this point. Even more so, Destiny players will have a new Raid to overcome on September 18th that features the final boss of The Taken King, the dreaded Oryx. The new quest can be found from various NPC characters in both the Tower and The Reef hub areas.
All of the new quests are much easier to keep track of and offer a variety of rewards that are invaluable depending on your character build. Much like other MMO games; you will find yourself playing through missions multiple times in order to get better drops, increase your equipment levels, and work towards completing longer quests. Even when you think you’ve done everything you can in The Taken King, you will actually have many more things to do.
Destiny: The Taken King is the game we’ve wanted Bungie’s game to be from the very start. The story is a lot more profound to pay attention to and sports a better presentation than anything before. The changes to the customization of your characters and how they level up are fantastic and suited for both new and veteran players. While the game may require you to gather a few friends to overcome some of the tougher challenges, you will still get massive amounts of content and enjoyment when you put time into playing Destiny: The Taken King.
After a whole year later, Destiny is one of the best experiences you can have on your console. If you haven’t started playing with everyone else, you definitely need to change that right now.
This review was based on a digital copy of Destiny: The Taken King for the PlayStation 4 provided by Activision.