Monday, October 26, 2015

Destiny: The Taken King Review - Wake Up, Guardian!

Score: 9.0 / 10
Destiny: The Taken King
Xbox One - Playstation 4
Developer: Bungie
Publisher: Activision
Release Date: September 15th, 2015

  • Plenty of quests and items for the asking price
  • The Taken are a much more formidable foe
  • The new raid is challenging, and requires true teamwork
  • Plethora of new weapons and items to try out and obtain
  • Intriguing story in which Nathan Fillion steals the show
  • Old armor cannot be upgraded to Year 2 standards
  • Not all quests are as engaging as the main story 
  • Old subclasses pale in comparison to the new subclasses
As I finished the last story mission for Destiny, I stared at a screen loaded with quests. A slew of tasks left to accomplish, a raid to undertake, and new PvP maps beckoned me back to my console again and again. New weekly rewards and hidden secrets to each mission would be revealed in the weeks to come, with difficult challenges rewarding brand new exotic weapons. Through all the new gear, subclasses, and weaponry I had to take a step back to really take it all in; this is not the same game I played earlier this year. Bungie has managed to use the year of mistakes to forge a game that both new players and veterans alike can enjoy.

 The only weakness is an exhaust port on the...wait

The most obvious addition is that of a central story. The Grimoire is still around with more detailed, and often overlooked lore, but the focal point of your journey begins with the new story missions. Pre rendered cinematics offer an explosive opening as the Taken King decimates a powerful ally and sets his sights on you. You are tasked with his end, a journey that is not as lonesome as before, with a healthy amount of banter between the ever present class trainers who take the stage with Eris Morn in quelling the threat. The chatter is lively and helps give purpose to your tasks, but it is Nathan Fillion's performance as Cayde-6 that really steals the show. Every mission you partake you understand its significance, providing a more driving purpose than the previous story missions.

Bungie has given Destiny a much needed facelift in terms of pacing and presentation in the missions. From the initial frightening encounter with The Taken to the daunting size of the Dreadnaught, you find yourself exploring corners and taking in the breathtaking new sights and set pieces. The single player missions feels more involved, with enemies that require more than just aiming down the sights and pulling the trigger, and even a stealth segment appears briefly for one mission. You return to old raid locations, explore new areas of the Dreadnaught, and even discover new areas from old planets. Though the latter missions after the main story return to the old style of laundry list play, you never know what to expect on your journey to Oryx's throne.

This place smells like a Waffle House sink

Once you hit level 40 it is the thrill of getting new gear that will keep you coming back. The lottery system keeps players intrigued, and it has been reworked to become more efficient in making tasks more rewarding. Armor is plentiful in missions, rewards from the team focused strikes, and even awarded at the end of PvP matches. Whatever you do in Destiny, you are getting something for it. Legendary Marks will be your focus, and you will find plentiful opportunities available to gear up for the end-game content.

The primary focus of the expansion is the raid, and in that, Bungie has delivered ten fold. King's Fall is a light level 290 raid, and it is far from being a pushover. The encounters in that mode require not only perfection, but high amounts of communication and teamwork. One boss requires a team to split into two players grabbing an ogre's gaze, and four others to damage the boss by knocking down and standing in pools of water while being set upon by exploding Thrall. Where the past two raids could be overcome with a few players carrying the team, this one demands that everyone pull their weight. The platforming segments can prove slightly frustrating after finishing the raid and returning, but the complexity and difficulty of the boss fights makes up for that.

 This is awkward...sorry bout your son.

PvP players will also find solace in the new maps and re balanced gameplay. Gone are the days of cursing the devastating "Thorn" gun as it chips away your health, as the game is still exploring a multitude of weaponry. Snipers, shotguns, and hand cannons; there are a multitude of new weapons that are rocking the PvP verse as players explore the rebalanced settings of each weapon. The new maps are also a joy to explore, with wide open courtyards and close quarters segments of the Dreadnaught; Iron Banner alone has showcased the multitude of new favorite pathways and firefight grounds. Out of the eight new maps, Crossroads stands out the most, with teleporters, launchers, and both open and tight quarters; it had a very "Halo" feel to it all. The only issue...Sunbreakers. Even playing as one, I felt very very overpowered as my hammer sought out targets across the map, though Bungie is addressing the balancing concerns as it moves forward with Trials of Osiris.

Taken King is a hefty price for an expansion, but if you are just getting into Destiny or have been playing for a year, the new combinations are worth it in the end. As we speak, I am still running around trying to get the new exotics through their long quest lines and working to get an exotic sword. There is always something to do in Destiny, and that list is growing longer as weeks continue. It may not be perfect, it may not be groundbreaking, but Destiny is indeed a fun journey with friends by your side.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Destiny Emotes are Making Cruicible Hilarious

Just a few samples of the hilarity that is following the release of new purchasable Emotes.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Halo 5 Launch Trailer Brings the Action

Halo 5 is still a few weeks away, but the latest launch trailer showcases an action packed campaign. Chief going rogue, Blue Team on the offensive, insane action that rivals Red vs Blue cinematics, and the classic firefights we have come to know and love all make an appearance.

Halo 5 is set to release Tuesday, October 27th on Xbox One.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Star Wars: Battlefront Beta to Last Until Tuesday

If you had a chance to enter the Beta this past weekend, then you have gotten a taste of the Star Wars goodness to come later this year. Gigantic AT-ATs lumbering toward your objectives, authentic Star Wars sound effects that bring you back to your childhood, and the impending fear as Darth Vader charges you across the battlefield.

The Beta was suppose to end sooner, but is extending an extra day to test servers under high frequency to Tuesday, October 13th.

The Beta is currently open on Xbox One, PS4, and PC for download. If you miss this chance, you will have to wait until the retail version which will be released this November 17th.

[1] - Forbes - 'Star Wars: Battlefront' Beta Ends Tomorrow -