Destiny The Taken King Review

One year after the original release of Bungie’s Destiny and gamers can enter a new era with the expansion Destiny The Taken King which comes at a cost of a full priced game and includes the original Destiny, The Dark Below and House of Wolves expansions making it the definitive game for those who want to experience it for the first time. Basically approaching the Taken King you’ll be from one of two camps. A seasoned vet who has already played through the game and its expansions over the course of the year or a complete newcomer looking to see what all the fuss is about. This raises an important question for seasoned pros, is the expansion worth the price of entry especially if you’ve seen enough of the game already or haven’t played for a while.

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Before answering this, for newcomers it’s a no brainer really as there’s a full and expansive game on offer here which provides hours of single player, co-op or competitive play content especially if you begin the campaign from the very beginning at level 1. Working through the original story with the newly voiced supporting “Ghost” character (performed by Nolan North who replaces Peter Dinklage) and you’re in for a solid experience. However, once the main story is bested the additional missions granted by the two expansions provide even more bang for your buck with new bosses to fight, extra items to strive for and an abundance of side quests to complete.

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The core experience of jumping down to various planets in our solar system and simply shooting everything in sight remains the staple diet here as this is the essence of the game in a nutshell. The lure being to find better more powerful gear for your character so that you can repeat the process over and over. Whilst this might sound rather repetitive – which at face value it is – due to some top quality gunplay, a neat variety of weapons, teaming up with other players and character super powers means it doesn’t get old and keeps you on your toes as you tackle bigger and more challenging missions. So for newcomers there’s simply enough here to warrant the price tag and introduction to the game and that’s not including the competitive multiplayer options as well which work wonderfully in tandem with the rest of the package.

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The Taken King then adds more of the same to the core game with around 12 new story missions, except this time there’s new areas to fight in rather than the rehashes we saw in the two previous expansions and “The Taken” enemies to take down which if we’re being brutally honest are mostly revisions of existing enemies rather than actual new blood. That said, the new story comes alongside additional strike and raid missions and a new patrol area in the Dreadnaught ship around the new planet Saturn. The Taken King is certainly appealing to long term players and if you’re a beginner and wanting to experience the new content only, then there’s a singular option to level up one character to meet the level requirements to jump in immediately.

As a story, The Taken King is engaging with its powerful nemesis but offers more of the same we’ve seen in the other missions. There’s a few edgy moments where a time limit is thrust upon players and a plentiful supply of boss and sub-bosses to fight but essentially it’s the same objectives of go here, scan with the ghost, or shoot down X character requirements. The pull here is how the new levelling up system has been reworked where the main cap of level 40 is buffed by equipping better gear which contains the “light” stat – increased light equals a more powerful character and is drawn from the stats of all equipped items including ghosts which now can be found or purchased. It’s an interesting system which means players are constantly looking at the gear they acquire but what’s really neat is how the rare drops have been revised where no longer are Legendary purple drops the be all and end all of your searches. Blue drops now play a greater role and can often have stats which surpass legendary loot. This is a much better system all round and means there’s reason to be excited for every drop that occurs.

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Back on Earth in the Tower, or at the Reef there’s reasons to now interact with most of the vendors there with improvements to their inventories and even some new quest-lines for the Gunsmith which is welcome. Before many of these characters could be ignored, so it’s great there’s more reason to stop by now. The quest system has also been revamped and allows players the option to track quests with the Ghost making it easier to see where you stand and what needs to be accomplished to progress. The Taken King’s revamped approach is certainly a lot better than the original vision and means players have an easier time of understanding progression.

In terms of visuals and audio, the game retains its varied locales and impressive looks complimented by a revised sound track. However, some of the electronic music is an acquired taste especially during the boss encounters. It’s a top quality production on all levels and means there’s not a lot to fault here.

Players can sink as many hours into the game in the quest for new and better gear. Whilst it is possible to complete all of the story missions quite quickly, the end game of levelling up and performing on-going quests provides many more days,weeks and months of potential play. As mentioned, the competitive Crucible multiplayer holds its own and the option to team up with friends to tackle the tough as nails raid missions means the post story content will keep players coming back for more. As a package there’s enough to do here that’s well worth the price of entry.

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Destiny The Taken King adds to an already accomplished game when you put all of its pieces of content together in one package. For newcomers there’s an exciting and vast game on offer which is easy to get into, well polished and overall fun to play if you’re a fan of first person shooting. If there’s any reason to be negative about the whole experience aside from the repetitive nature of the core gameplay and that has to be the online connectivity. It can be problematic at times where being disconnected during a mission is painful to say the least. Whilst this is perhaps subjective, it’s still worth noting. It’s also a shame there’s no offline mode of sorts where players can experience a solo version should the servers go down or in the absence of no Internet connection. Whilst Destiny is very much a shared experience, players can still tackle most of the story content alone if they choose. In a nutshell, Destiny The Taken King is well worth the purchase for newcomers with all the content on offer and in reality is a must buy for anyone who’s already well invested in the game. Whilst the price tag might seem steep for those who already completed the two expansions ($39.99 as standalone DLC) there’s enough here to justify the price. Destiny just got better and if you’ve not been taken in before, The Taken King should prove to be an enjoyable worthwhile investment.

Score 9/10

Review code Supplied By Microsoft Xbox

Written by: Rob Cram

Rob Cram has hundreds of video game reviews, thousands of articles under his belt with years of experience in gaming and tech. He aims to remain fair and free from publisher/developer influence. With his extensive knowledge, feels his gaming opinions are valid and worth sharing. Agreement with his views are entirely optional. He might have a bias towards cyberpunk.

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