[Review] The Taken King

I was one of the people that was originally really excited about Destiny when it was announced. Bungie, the team that brought us Halo was going to be making a shooter/MMO hybrid? What could be better than that? I took part in the beta, I pre-ordered, went to the midnight release, and played the original game for…maybe a month and a half before I got really bored with it. However, after seeing some trailers and reading up on how the game was going to be changing and I started to get interested again. A couple of days before The Taken King expansion released, I installed the game again and immediately noticed the changes in the best way possible. Is it for everybody? No game ever is, but I can at least say that I’m having fun with Destiny for the first time in a long time.

For starters, now you don’t have to pray for good gear to boost you to the level cap of. Instead, you can do it naturally through experience that is gained by killing enemies and completing bounties and quests. You are given a variety of active quests by the Vanguards to complete, Cayde- 6 (voiced by Nathan Fillion) being my favorite because he’s a bit of a jerk but hilarious at the same time. These quests are often tied to story missions and usually reap great rewards to help boost your stats as a Guardian. Trying to complete my Striker for my Titan class by being forced into the Crucible, Destiny’s player vs. player mode, is incredibly frustrating, I appreciate that the game is having you try the other game modes out rather than being able to do them all in one sitting in the story missions.

The story of The Taken King is much stronger than the sparse amounts of story that were available at release as well. This time around there are fully animated cutscenes that bring life to the universe of the Guardians and actually got me invested and caring about what was happening. Story missions are varied from intense firefights, to some mild platforming, and even incorporating a really fun stealth mission. Going against Oryx himself isn’t much of a challenge (as I beat him solo without really breaking much of a sweat) but the tone leading up to the battle is overall greater than anything else Destiny has thrown at me.

The Taken King doesn’t feel like nearly as much of a grind as the original version did, as more enemies drop gear at a substantially increased rate and all of it levels as you do, meaning you’ll be swapping out a lot as you keep finding better and better pieces for your build. The new Taken faction of enemies will keep you on your toes and they aren’t different races than you’re used to fighting, they all have different and more aggressive attack patterns, such as Taken Captains that will lob an orb or dark energy at you that, when hit, slow you down and drastically reduce your vision. While I’ve still only found one exotic weapon, I have a hard time letting it go because of its class, despite the fact that uncommon level two gear has much better stats. On top of all of the new weapons, you can now get the ability to wield a sword once you complete the quest for it as one of your heavy weapons, so be ready to slice and dice your way to victory.

I still have a long way to go before I want to take a break from The Taken King, but for now I’m still enjoying it because I actually want to play it, rather than obligation. I haven’t gotten to try the raid yet because I don’t have a party for it, but with luck I will be able to get there eventually. While the game isn’t perfect now by any means, it’s MUCH better than it originally was. I would actually recommend giving it a shot now, and if you gave up on it like I did a while ago I would say to give it another chance. My only main question is why they didn’t release the game as it stands now in the first place.

Verdict: 8.5/10

Image courtesy of Bungie.

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