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Destiny: Rise of Iron for Xbox One review: awaken the Lords of Iron

The Lords of Iron fell long ago, now it's time to unveil the secrets of how.

Sick, red corruption twines through the air in thick strands as Heroes to the left and right try to battle it. Everywhere is chaos as we try to fight back against the corruption. We were hundreds strong when we attacked the plaguelands, and now only 9 remain. Siva spins around everything, making it hard to see and harder to fight.

One of us makes it past the bulkhead doors, fighting off a tendril of the corruption. I do the only thing that I can do, closing the doors and trapping the corruption inside with me. It is the only choice left, and I know by doing so I will seal my own fate and that of my fellow Iron Lords.

Even heroes can die, and survival is not always a victory. This is Destiny: Rise of Iron.

Graphics

Rise of Iron gives you a fresh spin on locations you've already visited in Destiny, and delivers on a few new locations as well. You might not think of the Cosmodome as an interesting place to fight through, but you'd be so very long. That's because the new addition of Siva leaves corrupted tendrils of red crawling across the landscape.

The enemies that you'll find have often been using that same corruption in order to splice themselves. That means that while you can easily recognize a vandal, it might not look quite the way that you recall. These touches may seem quite small, but they do a really good job of adding to the overall atmosphere in Rise of Iron.

The new locations all look fantastic as well. From the new social area that opens after you finish the first mission in the story, to the Plaguelands in the ruins of what was once Russia. Each new addition to the game adds a bit of flair that's easy to recognize, and does a great job of elevating the atmosphere of the campaign story.

Story

The story in Rise of Iron follows the heroes that protected the world just after the fall. As Saladin explains, at that time there were no Guardians, there were only Lords of Iron. At the end of a tragic battle, they were sealed with in with the corruption of Siva that they had been trying to defeat. Only Lord Saladin managed to survive, and even then just barely.

The campaign which runs between 2 and 4 hours, depending on how many times you die trying to defeat the same corruption that ended the Lords of Iron. Siva has been unearthed by the Fallen, and now they're splicing themselves with it. This creates much nastier versions of the enemies we've already been shooting for three years.

You'll get plenty of quests from Lord Saladin, and all of these will set you on the path to find and destroy Siva. As you proceed, you'll have to find out what the Fallen are doing, contend with Speiks Prime reborn, and travel to where the Iron Lords lost it all. Along the way you'll find plenty to shoot, with just enough story dashed in to keep things plenty interesting.

Gameplay

Destiny is a game built on using a variety of guns to mow through waves and waves of enemies, and Rise of Iron gives you more of just that. There are plenty of baddies that you need to plow through using whatever weapons you've got on you, all while working through the fairly simple story.

You'll still find the same locations you're used to, plus plenty more new areas to explore as well. A new social area opens up, giving you access to brand new engrams, shaders, accessories and the like. Rise of Iron adds a few new areas of the map to explore and kill your way through, all following the same pattern that we're all already used to.

You'll go to a new area, annihilate everything in sight, rinse, and repeat. There's nothing wrong with that either. It works out really well by integrating the nastier new enemies with a play style we all love. Even better though, for players like me returning from vanilla Destiny, the game no longer feels like a grind. This makes a serious difference too, making things far more enjoyable for players who aren't shooter fans by and large.

The campaign obviously isn't the only addition for content though. Bungie also delivered with several new competitive multiplayer matches, as well as new strike matches. To access the strikes you'll need to play through at least some of the campaign first. That's because there is a minimum recommendation. While you'll probably be able to access them about halfway through the campaign, you really should wait until you are much closer to the recommended light to avoid dying savagely.

If you're a fan of completing everything, Bungie has something for you too. The Rise of Iron record book gives you access to more side quests and in return you can earn some seriously nice Legendary items. You'll recognize it if you played through The Taken King expansion last year.

Players who are entirely new to Destiny, or who haven't yet made it to level 40, aren't left out either. While Rise of Iron is a level 40 campaign, when you pick it up there is an item which will let you automatically jump to level 40. You'll also start out with decent gear for all of your armor and weapons to tide you along until you find some better loot.

Conclusion

Destiny: Rise of Iron is a solid expansion that gives you new story, while keeping the game you know and love intact.

Pros:

  • Good story
  • Awesome new tweaks on enemies
  • Leveling no longer feels like a grind

Cons:

  • Campaign is fairly short
  • Still not a ton of story
  • having to get more light for strikes can be tedious

Rise of Iron is a solid expansion to Destiny that may bring back even the most jaded fans. It's a great addition to a good game, that is fun for both new players and those who've been a Guardian for three years. For those reasons, and many more, we're rating Rise of Iron at 4 out of 5 stars. It's available now on the Microsoft store as a bundle, or you can pick up the expansion at Gamestop.

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Jen is a contributing writer for WindowsCentral. She's an avid gamer, especially when she gets to kill zombies, craft things, or use a bow. She can often be heard yelling about her chainsaw while playing Gears of War 4. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

7 Comments
  • I was dissappointed by the new story. Though the idea is great, it is made quite bad. It is very short (completed the main story in one evening, most side quests on the second evening, and and the new crucible quest on the third evening. Wow. Now all i have left to do is grind out light levels to be able to jump in the raid with friends.). Small things like your ghost making should-be-funny remarks all the time, not what it used to be. The last mission is a joke, just like the original Orxy boss fight, and it is just not credible that hundreds of Iron Lords have not managed to push that fat red self-destruction button in the middle of the SIVA chamber. Also this Shiro guy...no word who he is and where he came from, he has no personality like other vendors or the original three from the vanguard. They should have explained what SIVA is, where it came from, what it did, why they wanted to destroy it after creating it. Only vague hints, they should have shown pictures from the golden age, let Saladin talk and explain some minutes about it. I was really hyped about this expansion, but well, sad to see what they made of all these excellent story ideas, dreaming of what could have been. Well, it's not that bad really, but I wouldn't recommend it for 30$. Hope at least the new Raid will be fun, plan to try it blind with some friends in a week or two...
    Definitely wouldn't give it more than 3 of 5.
  • Edit: double post, sorry
  • Tedious for increasing your LL is being kind. I spent all weekend playing and only went from 308 to 343 Light, achieving 340LL on the first day. Now it's a outright grind. And the Forge is just broken Imo. Can only carry one Key to start the round, and unless you get lucky most of those hanging around don't have one. They need to let you carry more, or make them easy to get like the Silva Keys which just requires you to kill a Brood Mother. But all in all, I liked it. Been playing since day one, with months off the game at times so maybe I'm just not up to speed on how to increase my LL more quickly.
  • But "enjoying" playing is the point. The "feel" and basic mechanics of Destiny are not beaten by any gun play game. They are so solid, and chunky feeling. Playing something like Dragon Age after Destiny makes you feel like you are running in jelly outfitted in a straigh jacket. You also have to know the "tricks" to level. For example you can buy many 350 items. But also knowing 3 of coins (which I didn't for ages) - helps. The game is poor at explaining its little ways of levelling. Reading a lot of Reddit, or finding a pro online buddy helps.  Awesome game if you can get in the right social group.
  • 2 hours of campaignis insulting.​  I did not jump on the Destiny Bandwagon at the begining and I am still not on it. There is by no means enough content in any of their Expansions to justify the money they are charging.  So they if keep the same packaging, I am just going to purchase the final Expansion pack with all the previous ones bundled, like I just did.
  • I loved it, plus the new record book is awesome.
  • I don't get how these types of expansions aren't underwhelming after Witcher 3's Hearts of Stone and Blood and Wine. Or if we talk about shooters, Borderlands 2's Tinny Tina Adventure.