Destiny's new Rise of Iron expansion is finally here, inviting Guardians back to Bungie's MMO/FPS hybrid for another, potentially final, adventure. After nearly a week with all of that new content, we feel like we're barely scratching the surface of what this new DLC has to offer. In other words, it's a great excuse for Hunters, Titans, and Warlocks to make their triumphant return or, if you're new to the series, it's a perfect time to jump in headfirst and gobble up all that Destiny has to offer. Here's our rundown of five things that make Rise of Iron worth visiting.
The Plaguelands Are Massive And Diverse
Like with the previous expansion, The Taken King, Bungie has given us a new region to explore that has so much character and interconnecting systems that it practically becomes a living being. The Plaguelands are a section of the Earth map that has been ravaged by Siva, a sort of biological technology that warps the landscape, machinery and lifeforms it manages to infect.
Like The Dreadnaught before it, the Plaguelands are kind of like a big puzzle box. There's quite a bit of verticality to this new map, as well as diverse regions of fire, ice, and metal that make it a bit easier to remember what is where. Certain areas are locked behind doors that require keys you'll find on the map. There are plenty of new public events, some of which cannot be started without even more items you'll discover while blasting through the map. In other words, the Plaguelands reward exploration and offer all sorts of secrets that players are still trying to fully map out, which means there are loads of reasons to keep coming back for more. We've enjoyed our time in The Plaguelands so far and look forward to uncovering even more of its inner workings as we dig further in.
You Can Get Lost In Archon's Forge
Sometimes, you just want to shoot things. Bungie realizes this, which is why they've introduced a new arena buried in The Plaguelands called Archon's Forge. Once you have the correct item to jump into the Forge, you can pretty much hang out for as long as you want. Players can make "offerings" to summon various waves of baddies, which you can then blast your way through while collecting loot aplenty. You don't need to join a Fireteam, you don't need to worry about major bosses and you even get occasional assistance in the form of those rad, fiery axes. I imagine there are items that will unlock even greater challenges in the Forge but, spending a straight hour there during one play session, I tackled a nice mix of waves that never really got too difficult. But it turns out that this is something Destiny absolutely needed. Sometimes we just want to run around and shoot things and typically patrols are the only way to achieve that goal. The Forge keeps the action concentrated in a fun arena with fantastic music. We can see dropping in just to play the Forge for a bit in order to unwind after a long day, making it a perfect addition to Rise of Iron.
Lots Of New Bosses
Rise of Iron only adds one new Strike and one new Raid, but it also does a nice job of remixing a couple of older Strikes, injecting Destiny with some variety and fun new ways to make big baddies go boom. The Wretched Eye is this expansion's sole new Strike and, while it doesn't introduce any major new ideas, it's a solid addition to the roster. The road to the boss fight is full of twists and turns, plunging into a complex that's easy to get lost in if you aren't paying attention. There are a couple of fun shootouts along the way and the final showdown offers an arena and a combination of enemies that force Guardians to keep moving and seek out the most important target.
Also added are Sepkus Perfected and Siva Phogoth, remixes of two old Strikes. The maps are slightly different and the enemies you face will be of the Splicer variety, introduced in Rise of Iron. What I like most is that the new versions of these boss encounters offer some new abilities and special environmental hazards have been placed that make it more difficult to fall back on old tactics. All of these new Strikes also offer special loot crates at the end of the mission, making for a far more rewarding experience and a guaranteed way to get some sweet new loot.
And then there is, of course, that new Raid. Our Light level isn't quite high enough to take on The Machine, so that's an entirely new, massive chunk of gameplay we're still eager to discover. Combine that with the new Strikes and Destiny's latest expansion is giving you plenty of big baddies to shoot at.
New Multiplayer Options
One of Destiny's greatest strengths is its diversity. There's oodles to do solo or with a team in the game, and there's also a robust competitive mode for Guardians who want to shoot other players rather than minions of the darkness. Rise of Iron adds to those player vs. player offerings with a collection of four new maps, all of which boast that trademark Bungie attention to design and detail.
But while it's nice to have some new arenas to blast through, the real treat here is the inclusion of a new game mode and, at long last, the ability to create private matches. Private matchmaking is self-explanatory and that new mode, Supremacy, is basically Kill Confirmed from Call of Duty.
In Supremacy variants, mowing down your enemies isn't enough to earn you a win. When a Guardian dies, they drop an engram on the battlefield. If you don't pick that engram up, the kill doesn't count. What this does is keep players from getting too comfortable in sniper perches or hiding around a blind corner. It's also fun to deny another player their kill by swiping engrams or killing them before they can make it to their prize. Again, it's a nice bit of extra variety and we're having a great time with the new mode.
It Improves The Rest Of The Game
Rise of Iron is full of new missions, exotic quests, loot to collect and much, much more. It might not be as grand in scale as The Taken King, but it's a close second as far as Destiny's expansions go. There's plenty of new content here to keep you coming back, but we also appreciate what this means for some old content that's been added to the game over the past two years.
Some of Destiny's challenges are steep uphill battles that, when they were new, were a bit rough for some Guardians to try and tackle. After you've collected some new gear and weapons and leveled up a bit, Rise of Iron opens up doors that may have been closed to some players in the past. Were those higher levels of the Prison of Elders too overwhelming six months ago? Having trouble taking on challenges with Antiquated Runes in the Dreadnaught? Unable to fight your way through previous Raids?
We recommend going back and trying those activities again now that Rise of Iron has arrived. If something was giving you trouble in the past, chances are that your new gear will help you tough it out this time around.