Have you ever watched a show and felt that the new subplot added was for no reason other than to kill time? That’s pretty much the definition of filler and what Rise of Iron is to Destiny.
Before I begin it’s important to note that Rise of Iron wasn’t even supposed to exist. This year we were going to get Destiny 2 which would promise to introduce a plethora of changes that basically revamps the game. Due to internal struggles at Bungie Destiny 2 was delayed and fans were instead given Rise of Iron as a means of holding us out. Rise of Iron includes a new patrol area, Raid, Social Hub, and of course weapons and gear. From the outset this doesn’t sound too bad but as you dig deeper you slowly begin to see some holes.
Rise of Iron focuses on Lord Saladin. He has summoned you to his temple on the snowy mountains of Old Russia where you’re told that Fallen have begun splicing themselves with SIVA technology—an ancient synthetic being once thought to be good. The campaign lasts for 90 minutes until you thrown into the vicious cycle of Destiny grinding quests. These range from your typical “kill xx amount of enemies” to “finding secret lost artifacts”. The quest to build the popular Gjallarhorn is probably the highlight as you venture to different parts including the Last City of Earth.
From the PVP’s Crucible side we get a new mode called Supremacy where it’s basically COD’s Kill Confirmed. Perhaps the biggest update is the ability to host private matches which should definitely please those seeking to make Destiny tournaments.
As previously mentioned, Rise of Iron was sort of a last minute expansion and it shows. The campaign is short, the new patrol area (Plague Lands) is basically an extended Old Russia with more snow, and even the new Raid, which was supposed to be part of the House of Wolves expansion, has managed to be retrofitted for Rise of Iron. Destiny players who are hungry for new content will find it a bit lacking. However new players who have never touched the game will find a lot of value in the $60 complete package which includes all the expansions (good luck finding someone to play old raids with). However the biggest shock was a lack of a PC port. This could have been the most opportune moment for Bungie to recruit PC players before Destiny 2 hits but now it seems they’ll be stuck with playing a sequel to a game they know very little about (unless Destiny 2 manages to be a reboot).
But with that said, I won’t lie. There were some great moments I had with Rise of Iron. The final campaign mission (which I won’t spoil) has the best final boss I’ve experienced in Destiny so far. The social hub and its secret climbing mountain stays true to Bungie’s weird yet satisfying level design. Giving some of your current gear a new look can be nice even though getting materials can be somewhat a pain. Completing random achievements now reward you with loot boxes. Enemies, for better or worse, now spawn in hordes as the expansion is no longer held back by last gen ports. In short it manages to bring out the best and worst of Destiny at the same time living me with a very conflicting feeling.
Last year’s Taken King was a real hit, it fixed a lot of Destiny’s glaring issues while introducing a good chunk of content. Rise of Iron is safe. It does very little other than to update Destiny and keep fans playing. It’s a pit stop to what will hopefully be an amazing sequel.