Monday, 5 October 2015

Destiny: the Taken King: Legendary Edition: PS4 Review

Destiny: The Taken King: PS4 Review

Platform: PS4
Released by Activision / Developer - Bungie

When Destiny erupted last year onto the scene, the feeling was very much that it had started something special.

With the alpha and the beta, we got glimpses into the worlds of the Guardians and the Ghosts and the peril facing the world that only you the player could stave off. But, it all worked and the game was embraced by millions, swept up in its western feel and space operatics, all mixed in with a severe case of the first person shoot-em-ups.

Taking place after events of the Dark Below, The Taken King focuses on a more story driven edge to proceedings (something the initial game and its expansions were criticised for) and a good old fashioned revenge plot.

When you took down the Crota baddie of the The Dark Below, you were actually unleashing the Taken King aka Oryx, a rather hefty beast determined to get vengeance for the slaying of his son. and he's not best pleased at what the Guardians have done, heading to this universe to take them down.

The Taken King works well, a side story that simmers with excitement and gloriously executed cut scenes. But it's the gameplay that feels fresher straight out of the box, with more loot, more baddies and more reason to spend your hours grinding away through the game. XP helps you level up quicker now and it's a blessing rather than a curse.

And as Destiny's Year 2 begins, Nolan North's replaced Peter Dinklage as the voice of the ghost - I'm hoping this was more because of scheduling than criticism because I've loved having Tyrion along for the ride (even after the infamous criticisms of the vocals of the first). North brings a kind of humour to the role which makes the dynamic more of a Buck Rogers / Twiki sort of deal and it's amusing - to a point.

The Taken themselves are an interesting bunch of bad guys and may be familiar to anyone who's already played the main campaign, given they're a mix of baddies from the original who've been corrupted by Oryx. And they're a bit more formidable than you'd expect and can't be dealt to simply by unloading clips of ammo in their direction. That's one of the ways this Destiny expansion excels by - it's a sign of the game that has listened to its community and its detractors to pull something together that makes you want to play, rather than feeling an obligation to grind through the levels and repeat.

And it feels smoother too. Destiny Year One was a solid affair, but was prone to moments of outages within the game - this latest patch and version makes the play a more exciting and consistent affair. Sure, there are the crucible matches, the PvP games and the side quests that come up during the fight against Oryx, but they're all solidly executed, given a platform to play out on that works well and clearly.

Drop rates are a big bonus for the Taken King. I've had to start missions with barely anything in my loot haul to simply ensure that I can collect everything I need to during the game - it's deeply rewarding that material flows as seamlessly as it does and it gives you the impetus to collect rather than the obligation to do so. An open world on the Dreadnought owned by Oryx adds much depth too - but you're best being spoiler free with that.

That's a big thing with Destiny: The Taken King - its reasons for playing for pleasure and for fun outweigh the obligations to do so - and as such this is a review in progress. There's so much to explore and so much to do with this expansion pack that it's impossible to list it all here currently.

Bundled with the Dark Below and the House of Wolves, The Taken King's Legendary Collection is an essential purchase and a sign that Year 2 of Destiny is well worth getting on board with. Simply put, this is a game now that's exceeding its ambitions. It's lofty, excellent and certainly a sign that Bungie intends to push this series as far as it can.

(Stay tuned, as there'll be more of this review to come over the coming weeks)


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