The news of the unfortunate delay for Destiny’s much awaited sequel inevitably brought about some frustration for the fans. However in its wake, it brought about the release of a new DLC, the ‘Rise of Iron’. Can this slew of new content light up the player-base once more, and even encourage new players to finally take the plunge?
On paper at least, there seems like a lot of new content to explore and work through. A new social area, campaign, strike, multiplayer mode, multiplayer maps, patrol mode area and of course a brand spanking new raid. In reality however, it does seem to run dry a little too quickly. The fact that you can complete the ‘story’ in just a couple short hours alone did not give it a great start if I’m honest.
Plagued with mystery, you’ll start off with some furtive and evasive dialogue from our dear friend, Lord Saladin who tasks you with a few short missions before spilling the beans on ‘Siva’. Essentially boiling down to nano-infused fallen, these enhanced enemies will generally provide much more of a challenge in comparison to their standard forms. The siva’d-up servitors especially will prove to become much more of a threat than you’re used to. However despite how much more menacing and intricate they look; in terms of fighting them, it’s no real difference to how you’d approach the normal variants, besides some retaliation attacks anyway.
After you’ve worked through the relatively short campaign, you’re more or less left to your own devices. Some side missions will become available and you’re free to explore the new patrol zone, the Plaguelands. Accessible through earth, and taking place almost alongside the Cosmodrome, you’ll find a Siva-infested, wasteland tundra. You’ll find the usual public events and patrol missions, including a new variation called ‘Quarantine’ that’s arguably the most fun to complete, alongside some (well hidden) Siva Clusters. Remember the calcified fragments from The Taken King DLC? Well they’ve spiritually returned here in the Rise of Iron; much like before, it’s probably wise to take some time out to try and collect them! Alongside these, there are also other things to find amongst your travels such as splicer keys and Archon’s Forge offerings, of which are used in the new and updated version of the Court of Oryx.
Splicer keys are more than plentiful; however that’s not so much the case with regards to the Archons Forge offerings. In the many, many hours I spent exploring the Plaguelands and completing its surrounding missions, I came across perhaps 7 or 8 of these ‘Court of Oryx’ style keys. In that time, I’ve unfortunately met up with a focused group of Archon’s Forge enthusiasts less than a handful of times. The random chance for a loot reward at the end doesn’t always encourage you either. To such a degree that, in fact on one occasion, on the cusp of completing an event on my own, two random players shot through the arena, clearly on a mission and not contributing. Both received legendary items. I got a (useless) blue quality chest engram.
That brings me to the loot system, and the corresponding jump in maximum light level. Before Rise of Iron, the cap was of course at level 335, now it’s possible to (eventually) achieve the lofty heights of 385-400. Whilst of course getting to higher and higher levels is one of the main draws to the game, the way of going about it could’ve been handled a little better. For a start, the blue and green engram drop rates seem to have been drastically increased. However, the problem with this being that, unless you get lucky whilst decrypting them and get rewarded with a legendary item, they’ll only decrypt up to a maximum of 340 light, meaning they’re pretty much useless after a few hours. Running the heroic strike playlist, decrypting exotic engrams, receiving faction packages and completing end-game activities are the only ways to get past 365. So if you feel like there’s a slump in your progression around 350 light, keep at it with those strikes, and keep equipping your highest level gear.
On top of all the new PvE content included, there’s of course, something extra for all the PvP fans out there. Three new maps (four if you’re on PS4) are included on top of the new game type, ‘Supremacy’. If you’ve stumbled across Call of Duty’s ‘Kill Confirmed’ mode, you’ll know what to expect. Players you kill, drop a crest that you have to pick up in order to score points for your team, of course you can also deny the enemy their kills too, provided you can get to them. For those who aren’t a fan of the current state of shotguns in the Crucible, it’s obvious that this particular mode won’t change your mind!
I’ve had the most incredibly mixed signals with rise of iron, I’ve enjoyed some truly fantastic team-based action, and yet I’ve also suffered through some entirely infuriating solo play. Sadly it’s the solo ‘adventures’ that have mostly stuck in my mind. There aren’t an abundance of quests, a lot of the content feels reused and for me, the less said about the PvP the better. However there’s a lot of great stuff too, legendary marks are much more plentiful; being able to choose what category of faction rewards you receive, helps you hunt loot more specifically too. Some of the missions really stand out, especially the final Gjallarhorn quest that’s home to a set piece straight out of Halo, not to mention the epic final battle during the main campaign. The new social area looks fantastic (whilst also holding a few secrets) and the general art design of the Plaguelands is astounding, mixing the futuristic Siva technology with the neglected landscape gives off a great overall effect.
It’s easy to say that there are both good and bad points to the Rise of Iron DLC, admittedly a lot of the gripes I have, are more to do with the base game itself rather than the new content. A few more irritants I have fall under the minor category, for example, please put the grimoires viewable in game! And instead of having players levels (almost always level 40) next to their name, wouldn’t it be more helpful to display the light level instead? Either way, the Rise of Iron is overall a great expansion for the already solid player base. The raid is probably the best so far (despite the slight spoilers in the trailer), the higher cap on light gives players something to grind for and the new environments look fantastic. Simply a must for fans of Destiny.