I’d be lying if I said I’d played Destiny at launch, or even at all in 2014. The game came out to middling reviews, and while it maintained an impressive fan base, there were disgruntled rumblings from fans and critics alike that Bungie simply weren’t providing enough content within Destiny.
Has all that changed with The Taken King? Possibly, and while it’s certainly got a lot of bang for its buck, you can’t help feeling that if this truly is the game that Bungie wanted to make originally, then they’ve kept us waiting a hell of a long time. Some of the most hardcore Destiny players could’ve spent up to £100 to get here since day one, and that simply isn’t good enough.
With all that bearing down on it, The Taken King actually manages to push back rather well. The key here is that this time around, Bungie have finally put together a lot of content for players to experience, instead of charging fans premium rates through past DLC, only to provide a few hours of story content.
The Taken King pack quite a campaign, all in all. The story is far more fleshed out this time, and you actually have background knowledge to go off of, with The Dark Below, which makes a change from the main Destiny experience. The characters themselves are also far more detailed this time, with Nathan Fillion in particular giving a great performance as Cade throughout the expansion.
With all this going for it plot-wise, The Taken King really doesn’t need to change all that much with it’s combat system in order to be a success. I’ve always contended that Destiny was great groundwork for a game – it has really robust shooting mechanics – but it failed to capitalise on that. This time, with all the story and characters to back the action up, The Taken King really comes together as more of a finished product than anything Destiny related has done before.
While all the Guardian mentors in the tower may have expanded roles, the big bad villain of the piece, Oryx, somewhat falls flat. This is most likely to do with the reduced on screen time that we see him in, and also the fact that he has only a number of lines throughout. However it’s Bungie’s insistence on storing exposition in it’s website that is the cause here. It turns out Oryx is a transgender male, which is fantastic news considering he’s the titular character of the game, but Bungie never choose to reveal this information within the game, instead hiding it away on their website.
It’s Bungie’s fault, therefore, that Oryx really doesn’t come off as that much of either a serious threat, or a particularly deep character. He has one motivation only: to get revenge for the death of his son Crota in the Dark Below. In continuing to lock plot pieces behind a wall on their website, Bungie degrade many characters that would otherwise be a hell of a lot more interesting throughout both Destiny and The Taken King.
For the hardcore players, the amount of Strikes and the addition of a new Raid should satisfy just about anyone. I count around 5 new Strikes all in all, and this doesn’t include the fact that previous Strikes have now been modified to include The Taken enemies, which gives the entire system a whole new dynamic. The new Raid, King’s Fall, is also incredibly well done, delivering on both big action set pieces as well as forcing the entire team to work cohesively as one unit.
Destiny: The Taken King gives more of a heart to a game that was sorely lacking in emotional depth from a year ago up until now. It provides a solid new plot, despite an underwhelming villain, and uses all this to back up a combat system that’s still great. The Taken King is finally the Destiny experience we were promised by Bungie, and it’s truly a welcome addition.