‘Destiny: The Taken King’ gives players what they wanted

By Grant Meyer l @GrantMeyerDe l Daily Egyptian

“Destiny” has seen the Light.

“Destiny” was the hyped sci-fi first-person shooter game released in Sept. 2014 from Bungie — the creators of Halo. When it launched, it was met with mixed reviews. The game was fun, but it had many issues and fundamental design flaws.

Its third major expansion, “Destiny: The Taken King,” fixes much and proves what “Destiny” is capable of. 

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Bungie listened to its fans because the vast majority of problems presented in the original game have been fixed. It will not convince anyone who dislikes the core “Destiny” design and grind to return but if a player had issues before, and know they like its style, it might be time to try it again.

Story is the best improvement. Previously the game had little to no story or memorable characters. Finally, players have a reason to care about the various characters in the game, with Nathan Fillion’s character Cayde-6 stealing the show. Allies are entertaining to interact with; Ghost companion now has a little personality and the villain Oryx is threatening.

Speaking of Oryx, his Taken army is a great new enemy to fight. Initially, their concept seems lazy because they are mind-controlled versions of previous enemies, but this is quickly abated when the player starts fighting them. Every single Taken enemy has its own ability and drastically alters battles, keeping the experience fresh.

“Destiny’s” core gameplay was always its strongest attribute and is arguably the best in the first-person shooter genre, so not much needed to be changed. That said, players do get some new elements to play with. All of the three classes get a third subclass, or specialization with different abilities, which give the player a new way to play their class. Titans hurl flaming hammers, Warlocks can zap with electricity and Hunters can fire shadowy arrows.

Titan Class’s Hammer of Sol Ability:

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Raids are the most challenging aspect of the game where six players have to coordinate to defeat the game’s most difficult foes. The new raid King’s Fall is extremely well put together and contains some of the most extensive mechanics so far. Teamwork is more important than ever to complete this activity.

On the multiplayer side, players get new maps and game modes to compete on. The new maps are designed well and fun to play, but many of them use themes players have seen before. While not a huge issue, I wish Bungie would be more varied with its maps’ aesthetic designs.

Rift and Mayhem are two new multiplayer games modes. Rift is a fantastic capture the flag-like game mode, where an objective spawns in the middle of the map and needs to be grabbed and brought to the opposing teams rift. Mayhem is the second mode which increases the rate in which special abilities and grenades can be used creating pleasurable chaos.

Player vs. Player Triple Kill:

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The new gear and progression system is a mixed bag. Some aspects are better than before, but there are more issues than fixes.

Problems stem from the randomness of the items players find and equip. Almost every piece of gear obtained is randomized in quality, statistics and bonuses. This makes it difficult to plan out gear with a player’s desired statistics. 

It causes further issues when this random gear is superior to gear purchase from vendors, which in turn minimizes the in-game currency. Even the best gear in the game from the raid is affected by randomness. 

One caveat is a player can infuse a stronger item into a weaker one if they prefer the perks and statistics of the weaker item. This destroys the stronger item but increases the strength of the weaker one. Infusion makes the system a little more manageable, but doesn’t solve its problems.

Ultimately, this system relies too heavily on randomness and it can be hard to plan out how to progress a character. Fortunately, players will have so much fun playing the game this will not be an issue. 

Overall, “Destiny: The Taken King” is a vast improvement of the original. Bungie took the foundation of its great gameplay and combined it with improved versions of every other aspect to create a fantastic game and experience.

Stars: 4.5 out of 5 

Grant Meyer can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @GrantMeyerDE.

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