Following the overhaul that was The Taken King, there were high hopes for Destiny’s next expansion, Rise of Iron. However, being realistic, The Taken King was a more pricey expansion with huge changes made to the base game. So while it possibly set expectations very high for Rise of Iron, it at least helped set the foundation for what is already now a very finely tuned game.
Rise of Iron’s main story follows the tales of Lord Saladin, whom until now, has only really made appearances with Destiny’s monthly Iron Banner Crucible event, now he tells the story of the originals of the Iron Lords as you now face a new threat known as SIVA. SIVA is a self-replicating nanotechnology, which was meant to help humanity survive in the new world.
However, SIVA became a virus as it took a life of its own and has infected the Plaugelands, a new area on the Cosmodrome, which is now inhabited by Splicers, a mutated form of the Fallen possessed by SIVA. Now under Lord Saladin’s mentorship, he not only tells the tales of the Iron Lords that stood before, but it is now time to create a new generation of the Gold Age protectors and insure life as we know it, survives. By playing through its new campaign, you will be granted with the new social space Felwinter Peak. A stunning location situated on a snowy mountain top, which some added secrets for you to discover.
All in all, while The Taken King’s main story was around 4-6 hours long depending on your play-style, it only took me around a mere 2 hours to finish the Rise of Iron campaign. This in itself was a little disappointing and somewhat unexpected, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t enjoyable, because it most certainly was. The story itself adds lore worth knowing and by the time you reach its premature conclusion, you’ll be feeling every bit the triumphant Iron Lord that the game intends you to be. Yet despite its very short campaign, much of Rise of Iron’s value comes with its added content which more than makes it for its £25 admission fee.
As with any of Destiny’s campaign’s that came before, once you have finished the Rise of Iron’s campaign, this will spawn a whole host of new story questline’s that will lead to Exotic rewards such as the returning Gjallarhorn and the awesome and new Khvostov 7G-0X Auto Rifle, and when you get the quest randomly drop, you get acquire the legendary Exotic that is the Thorn Hand Cannon. There is also a new Exotic Pulse Rifle attached to the new Raid Outbreak Prime (which I’ve yet to acquire). And of course there is various new Exotic gear for each Guardian class, as well as other new Exotic weapons and Legendary items from across the board.
Speaking of Exotics, you can now customise their look with exclusive skins tied to that particular select weapon, though in order to do so, you’ll need the required Weapon Ornament and Silver Dust to make that happen. Also, a change has been made to the use of Artifacts, in which now they can give you game changing perks such as helping nearby Guardian’s Super charge up that little faster, giving you a print with no cool-down period, additional grenades and more.
Another change that I appreciate with Rise of Iron is the Rise of Iron Record book. We’ve seen versions of this stat-tracking book with the recent Years of Triumph for Year Two and the Sparrow Racing League that came before. Unlike the two aforementioned Record books, you get the Rise of Iron Record Book from the get go. Here you can track and hit targets related to Rise of Iron such as its story, Crucible, The Wrath of the Machine Raid, Patrolling the Plaugelands and so forth. Then as you progress and hit said targets, you’ll unlock a host of new Rise of Iron armour (which their cosmetics can be enhanced with burning flames), weaponry, emblems and more. This is not only going to grant satisfaction to your stat-trackers out there, but it also rewards you generously and makes you feel what you’ve achieved so far, worthwhile.
The new Patrol, The Plaugelands, is essentially a SIVA infected Cosmodrome. It will have new areas to explore, as well as being able to visit some areas that you are familiar with, but in its rundown, SIVA infected new form. There is also a new Patrol mission called Quarantine, which is essentially a one-man Public Event, though nearby Guardians can join you to fight off the mini-wave of enemies if they choose. Quite possibly the biggest addition to the Plaugelands Patrol area is the introduction of Archon’s Forge. This is much like the Dreadnaught’s Court of Oryx which requires you to fight off waves of enemies for just rewards (which seem to be far more generous).
Rise of Iron also features two new Strikes, well one new and one remastered. The new Strike called The Wretched Eye will see you plunge down into the depths of the Plaugelands as you fight off nests of the Hive, which will later lead you to an end encounter with Kovik, the Splicer Priest and his friend. The other Strike included is Sepiks Perfected, which is a re-envisioned Sepiks Prime, which you may remember from the vanilla Destiny. This in terms of mechanics is pretty much identical, other than it has a SIVA re-skin.
With Rise of Iron you will also be gifted with a new Crucible mode, called Supremacy. Anyone that has played Call of Duty’s Kill Confirmed will be very familiar with this particular multiplayer mode. As you kill Guardians, they will drop Engrams and as they drop, the opposing players must pick them up in order to score points for their team and ultimately win the game. Players on your team will also have the opportunity to pick-up team mates Engrams to deny the opposing team from scoring points.
One thing that I would say is that much like Rift, playing Supremacy with a Fireteam is highly important and if you do go into a game with randoms, you better hope and pray that the Blueberries know how to play this mode efficiently. Four new Crucible maps will also be added to your multiplayer experience, albeit one of them called Icarus situated on Mercury is a PlayStation exclusive map. The other maps include Last Exit (Mercury), Skyline (Mars) and finally Floating Gardens (Venus).
Change has also been made to Destiny’s monthly Crucible Event with Iron Banner. For starters the Bounties have had a complete overhaul. Now we only have four weekly Bounties and no more Daily Bounties. The way in which you earn XP has also changed, now over the four Bounties you earn Iron Banner XP simply by getting kills (weapons and abilities), assists and simply just by playing. Each Bounty has a higher point reward for each category, for example you will earn more points by winning, then losing (naturally) and kills with your heavy weapon will earn you more points than with your primary. There is also no longer an XP buff for later in the Iron Banner week. Previously if you played towards the end of the event, you would earn more XP, but now you earn the same amount of XP no matter which day you play on.
Finally we have the new Raid; The Wrath of the Machine. So far I’ve only had one run through attempt and at this time the Hard Mode version of the Raid has now dropped. But without giving too much away, while Wrath of the Machine is the shortest Raid to date, it’s got some fantastic combat sections and it’s arguably the most visually impressive Raid yet. The recommended Light Level for the Normal difficulty is 370.
If you want to attempt the Hard Raid (which has a suggest Light Level of 385), just like myself, I’d recommend getting in as much practices as possible on Normal. Getting a Fireteam together has always been an issue with Raids for many since Destiny began. I included, despite being part of an awesome clan, it’s not always as straight forward getting a team together, especially for family folk with outside commitments. I can suggest great websites such as DestinyLFG.com or the100.io and there’s even the Facebook page in relation to IGN’s Fireteam Chat if you want to get chatting with like-minded Guardians and improve your chances of getting involved with an active clan.
It would be quite unfair to expect the same kind of story level that we had in The Taken King with Rise of Iron, especially given the difference in each expansions asking price. However, if you can look past Rise of Iron’s very short campaign (if you can really call it that), once again you have content that is not only worth its price of admission at launch, but it should keep you very busy for the months ahead. Will it be enough content to keep you busy until Destiny 2 drops? Only time will tell. But what you do have is an intriguing new lore to the Destiny universe and enough shared experiences to give even the hardened Guardians their Destiny-fix for quite some time. Also knowing Bungie, I’m sure they’ll have plenty of surprises in-store for us all before Destiny 2 eventually drops sometime next year. Guardian out.
+ Soundtrack does a great job in making you feel triumphant
+ Wrath of the Machine is visually the most impressive Raid
+ Welcomed changes to how Iron Banner now works
+ Supremacy is a lot of fun (when playing as a well oiled team)
+ Archons Forge is a great alternative to Court of Oryx
+ Campaign is only about 2 hours long