Destiny - The Dark Below (Expansion 1 )
There seems to be two groups of people that play Destiny. The ones that hate everything about it, then there are people like us at Cinelinx that love it, but would overall like some minor improvements. The Dark Below will just further bridge these people apart because it increases the level of awesome with the things the core game did right, but still doesn’t fix the minor issues that players hate.
When I first heard about The Dark Below being an expansion, I thought “awesome, more story, more fun!” Sadly that isn’t what we get. The Dark Below mostly revolves around the Hive and some new story aspects and bosses with them. There isn’t really an “added story” to the core story, but a new story all together. That’s not to say it isn’t awesome, it’s just not what I expected.
Instead The Tower basically gets a new guest by the name Eris which will send you on quests to fight the darkness. With her are several items you can earn along with bounties made just for the DLC. This works similar to the Iron Banner areas, you earn a high rank in the DLC areas and then return and buy special gadgets. (We will get to those later)
Lucky us our little Guardian robot pal doesn’t really have a whole lot to say in the DLC. This means that we don’t have “fight off waves will I scan this rock” missions, which is fantastic. Instead the story missions through you into chambers where you fight off insane amounts of enemies, and hope you don’t die in the process. I found these exciting and way more fun than the main games missions. In one of the last areas you are completely unable to run back where you came from, so you are forced into the area and are constantly fending off waves of enemies. It seriously gets super intense. I played alone and by the time I completed the mission I was pushing 300 kills!
The DLC mixes up standard enemies you’ve seen before, but blends them so nicely that you are constantly staying alert and peeking corners hoping that something doesn’t run at you. The sound effects, visuals, all of it these new areas really step everything up a notch. I absolutely love when I’m nearly dead and all I hear is growling from enemies running towards me. It made me jump a few times too!
These missions take some time, but we are not talking about shooting one big boss for 10 minutes with no reward. We are talking waves upon waves of enemies, especially if you play alone. By the time you complete it you actually feel good about yourself and it feels really rewarding. I will say these new missions are what Destiny should have thrown at us from the very beginning!
Strike wise if you are playing on PlayStation you get two new ones. The standard one, Will of Crota, feels very basic and it even revisits an area you’ve probably seen before. Most of the strike is easy, but the final battle revisits what I was talking about above with an intense battle. The PlayStation Exclusive, The Undying Mind, feels new because it visits an area we haven’t already seen before revolving around The Black Garden. The only problem I had here was that it ended much sooner than expects. It was a fun thrill, but it was a bit short. Those that played Vault of Glass one too many times may be tired of playing Vex enemies as well.
I play Destiny for PvP though, I really enjoy the Crucible so I couldn’t wait to jump into that aspect. This is an early review of that, and I will return. You get three new maps, Cauldron, Skyshock, and Pantheon. I keep getting thrown into Skyshock, and personally it’s the only map of the three I can’t stand. It’s back on Earth, and at first it looks identical to the Earth map PS owners already have. This got me excited until I realized the map was much larger and more dynamic. Which would be cool, but that means more sniping and similar tactics. That’s why I don’t like it. The map is well designed for players that enjoy that, but I’m more of a run and gun style player so this is boring to me. I’ve been stuck on this map 3 times already, and all 3 matches utilized the entire allowed time on the clock. That’s how slow sniping is.
The other two maps are glorious though! Cauldron is really inspired by Halo, I won’t lie, and yet it’s my favorite map. It’s beautiful to look at, and it’s even more fun to play! Pantheon is more of a arena style map and was fun for a free for all style game, but overall wasn’t too bad by any means.
Last, but not least, you have a Raid. This I have to return too as I get some Cinelinx friends to help me with it. I wish Bungie would allow public searches for Raids already! However based on community feedback, the Raid seems to be the best part of the entire DLC with new variations and fun.
I promised a return to items, and here it is. The game loads in some new weapons and gear, but it also changes a few things. Upgrading exotic gear now has a reliance on Xur, which only appears on weekends starting Friday. You are basically playing luck of the draw just to hope you get to level up faster. Good? Bad? Guess it depends if you are capable of playing at specific times. Other things are improvements to the overall game. Added weapons for advanced gear, more resources to utilize, more of a point to strange coins, and other odds and ends that add to the game.
Overall, the expansion is supposed to make your character stronger and because of that everything is pushed forwards. This made playing with an older character feel weak. I was a level 26, but I found it simply impossible to finish the last story mission without leveling up more. Also, I was getting dominated in Crucible which is why I’m waiting to level more before I fully review that. All I have to say is expect to level up when you get the new expansion.
Overall, while not what I was expecting, I can say I’m enjoying the expansion. I feel it could have used a little more for the price, but overall vastly improved the core game. If you enjoyed the core game, you will love the expansion. If the faults in the game annoyed you, the expansion won’t fix anything. If you want the expansion just for Crucible, you will be let down. If you want it for quests, I highly suggest putting a team together to play the Raid to get your full money worth! However if you enjoy both portions of the game, it’s a decent addition.
(More to come, along with gameplay video!)