NO DINKLEBOT? NO PROBLEM!
Destiny has been going strong since its September 9th release. Regardless of the opinions of reviewers and the player base, one comment has been popping up no matter where you look, “I can’t stop playing.” However, even with the player support, Bungie hasn’t rested on their laurels and this is evident by The Dark Below expansion that was released December 9, 2014.
The new expansion came packaged with quite a few new goodies: a boost to the light level cap up to 32, a new quest giving NPC (Eris Morn), new bounties, emblems, class items, upgrade materials and even new weapons, gear, and pretty much everything else you could imagine. From story missions to strikes, raids to Crucible maps, the DLC has it all, but the question is: is it worth it?
If you’re looking for story, The Dark Below is a bit of a mixed bag. The story has been improved a bit by the inclusion of Eris Morn as she actually talks to you through the missions instead of just giving an opening blurb then tossing you to the wolves. However, the issue is that there are only three new story missions (four if you count the modified Chamber of Night mission). If you’re looking for something with story content in the vein of The Last of Us or a Telltale Games title, you’re not gonna find it here. There’s one thing no one can complain about, Dinklebot’s silence throughout the whole DLC (however strange that is).
The second aspect we’re looking at are the Strikes, mainly The Will of Crota since it’s available to all consoles. The Will of Crota is rough, that’s the best way to put it, especially when it’s the Nightfall mission and one of the modifiers is Arc Burn. For those of you who don’t know, that means that Arc (electricity) damage does bonus damage… and EVERYthing in this strike flings Arc damage like it’s going out of style.
If you’re looking for a challenge out of the strikes, Omnigul (the boss of The Will of Crota) happily presents it to the player in a nicely wrapped bloody bow. Everything up to her is almost a cake walk (without Arc burn), but once you hit the final room you remember every reason why you absolutely hate Wizards in this game. Beyond the fact that Omnigul will summon other Wizards, Knights, Thrall, Exploding Thrall and Acolytes, she herself has a massive pool of health, as well as shields.
Those two things are made worse by the fact that she subscribes to the “run like a coward” method of fighting that all Wizards do. You’ll find yourself whiffing your shots at her to a disappointed degree, and even if you land a hit, she’ll run and hide. Bungie did give her quite a lot of cover to bunker down and regen shields behind in the room you fight her. It’s rather annoying, really. The Will of Crota isn’t the worse, or hardest, thing I’ve ever done in a video game, but it is an uphill climb.
Last but definitely not least, the raid, Crota’s End. As with the Vault of Glass raid, Crota’s End was easily the most enjoyable part of the DLC for me. I dare say that I find it to be the most enjoyable part of the game now as well. Crota’s End took what Bungie learned from the Vault of Glass (using new mechanics, actually requiring teamwork, fixing loot drops) and bumped it up a bit.
You’ll find yourself stressed and loving it in the first phase of the raid when you’re weighed down, can’t jump and have level 30 Thralls assaulting you at all sides. You’ll never feel more epic as when your team is holding the bridge together for you when you’re in the Gatekeeper phase and you’re blazing a trail across with the sword to wreck some face. The best part is of course the penultimate phase when you go toe-to-toe with Crota himself.
There’s no more of waiting for a certain time to wail on the boss with Gjallahorn and expecting to win from just that. The only way to damage Crota is to have someone take a sword to him. If that sounds simple, or easy, you have to keep in mind that you have to kill a Swordbearer for a sword every two “downed phases” and to open up Crota for damage the rest of the team has to first drop his shield. Even more, there will be Knights, Thralls, and at some point Ogres, who consistently attempt to keep you off of their boss.
I’ve heard that people find the raid to be horrendously difficult, however when I went in, I was with an experienced team and things went like clockwork. I believe it only took us 45 minutes or so to complete. Also, if we’re talking loot, it all looks better for this raid. In Vault of Glass, the weapons only looked different in that it had a certain color to it and a light glow. Really, the only weapon that stood out was the exotic Vex Mythoclast. Everything in Crota’s End has a distinctly Hive feel to it. The armor has a husk look to it, as do the weapons, there are skulls, a green glow and everything just looks sexy.
Don’t worry PvP players, you haven’t been neglected. However, I will preface this by saying that I am not an avid PvP player. I do well, but I hate it, so I had my fellow writer Tyler Bartlemus do his best to get into the new maps and give a few thoughts. That said, he was not able to successfully get a match on Skyshock due to the random nature of map choosing.
The first map to mention is Pantheon, which takes place in the Black Garden, the location of the last mission of the game and a place where I personally wanted to see more of. If you like MOBAs, Pantheon is the place to be. It sports three lanes and (as should be expected from the Black Garden) a pleasing aesthetic. The bonus of the three lane design also means that it’s fairly balanced, a boon to any PvP map.
The second new massacre-zone that Bungie took us to is The Couldron, an area on the moon. According to Bartlemus, it can be confusing and chaotic at times. Although there is an abundant amount of cover, there is a lack of variety to the rooms which lends to the aforementioned chaos and confusion.
The conclusion that Bartlemus came to was: “Ultimately, they don’t change things up too much, and are just more of the Crucible that we already know.”
The Verdict: 6.9 out of 10
The Dark Below is the best version of “Okay” possible according to our site’s rating gudlines. Although Eris is a great addition, an absolute breath of fresh air when compared to Dinklebot, there’s really just not enough here. There are only three real new story missions and they revolve more around Eris’ grudge against Omnigul than really explaining things. Omnigul is just an ever-present annoyance at best as we never hear anything in lieu of reasons or motivations from her. We know they want to destroy the Earth, but we still don’t know why. Even the best part of the DLC (the raid) is ruined a bit by a COMPLETE lack of context due to absolutely no voice overs in the actual mission. By no means do I want Dinklebot talking in my ear the whole time, but I wouldn’t have minded Eris giving warnings or reminiscing about lost friends and events that occurred as my fireteam wandered the halls. If you’re a fan of Destiny pick this up as I feel it gives you enough to validate its price. If not… well, you need it to really progress, so there’s that. I can’t not suggest it, but the $20 price tag is rather steep considering what you actually get.
For more information about what the score means, check out our official review scale.
Myles K Farrington is one of the MONG Senior Editors and has recently been planning to move across the country. By “planning” he means that he has no idea how to do this and is hoping it all kinda falls into place. Keep up with him over on IGN and Twitter as well!