Since its release last year, Destiny has proven to be a divisive game among video game fans. Some where immediately turned off due to it’s grind heavy end game content and a lack of cohesive story. On the other hand, the promise of better loot and rock solid gameplay mechanics have created a loyal and vocal community.
I managed to hang in with Destiny for a couple months before the appeal of shiny new games pulled me away for good. Well, that was until E3 happened.
With E3 came the promise of change. Bungie had been keeping a running tally of the things that people didn’t like or were confused by. For many, this started with the lackluster story. Certain confusing game mechanics and UI features were set to get completely overhauled along with weapon balancing. If a full list of updates and changes, make sure to check out my thoughts on The Taken King here.
With a full year now behind us and sweeping changes made through Update 2.0 and The Taken King expansion, it’s time to ask: Is it time to return to Destiny?
Lets kick things off with the narrative side, shall we? Destiny was a game of promise. Featuring a massive new world with an interesting premise where a giant orb called the Traveler settles over Earth creating a golden age for the planet. Things go south as a horde of new enemies led by a mysterious force known as The Darkness rushes in and nearly pushes the Traveler and Earth to the brink.
Honestly, the game seemed like it was going to spin a good yarn. Unfortunately, many would agree this was the weakest element to the game, not utilizing it’s NPC characters or explaining what the hell was going on.
We now know partially why, but you could tell this aspect always hurt Bungie. Progress was slowly made through it’s next two expansions but The Taken King really blows everything out of the water. Story missions are begun and ended with cut scenes and NPC characters like Cayde-6, Eris Morn and Amanda Holliday are given substantial screen time and dialogue. This is where Destiny shines the brightest in my opinion. Characters are finally given personality, the player is kept in the loop at what’s happening, and more than a few times i chuckled at some of the lines between characters like Eris Morn and Cayde-6.
This is really how Destiny should have been from the start. I’m looking forward to see where Bungie goes from here.
Mission structures within Destiny were sadly formulaic as players were fought to make it to an end part of a level then hold out against waves of various enemies. Granted, the shooting felt great, but you essentially knew what was going to happen in each mission. The Taken King does a great job mixing things up, especially once players are introduced to The Dreadnaught, which serves as a brand new location in the game. Destiny is a game about shooting so there’s still plenty of that, but so far in The Taken King, I’ve seen more sections focused on platforming and areas where the game would rather show you things rather than shoot things than I ever did in the base game. It’s wildly refreshing and ultimately improves the experience tenfold.
The Taken King also introduces three new subclasses into the fold including a Sith Lord type Warlock, a dark ranger like Hunter, and a fiery hammer throwing Titan. While I haven’t played the new Titan subclass, I can say that I’m definitely a fan of both the Stormcaller and Nightstalker subclasses. The Warlock gains the ability to basically shoot arc lightning from their hands and I may or may not start cackling like a certain Sith Lord every time I use it. It feels incredibly powerful and the arc related abilities of this subclass are also a ton of fun.
The Nightstalker is a bit of a change of pace for Hunters in my opinion. While Golden Gun and Bladedancer abilities are more offensive focused, the Shadowshot ability is better used as a support weapon. Sure you can one hit kill with it, but it’s unique ability is to tether enemies in place while you and your fireteam wipe the floor with them. It never gets old jumping into the air and launching void arrows down at the ground.
The UI has also gotten a massive overhaul as players can store up to 16 bounties at a time and NPCs actually give out quests now. Outside of the base story missions, certain characters may have other side things for you to do, like Lord Shaxx who hands out Crucible based quests or your class trainer who will present you with subclass specific tasks. These items can easily be seem through the new Quest tab from the pause menu and up to four can be tracked at a time. It’s a subtle thing for sure, but it makes all the difference in the world.
At this point, I think you can see where I’m going. The Taken King is a massive improvement in every category. If you’re someone like me who jumped ship seeking greener pastures, now is the time to give Destiny another shot. The good news is that many of these changes were added into the game through Update 2.0, so The Taken King isn’t even required to see all the new stuff. Granted, I’d still highly recommend buying the latest expansion however as the best content that the game can offer is located there.
The TL;DR version of this story is: yes.