Friday, 13 November 2015

Destiny: The Taken King Legendary Edition

The slobbering praise Destiny largely received upon release always confused and frustrated me. Here was a very pretty, but unforgivably empty, game. There was an attempt to mask the paucity of levels with an irritating need to grind in order to progress, resulting in playing the same levels over and over or abandoning the campaign for PvP until you were strong enough. Even reaching the maximum level was stupidly overcomplicated. The story, such as it was, was threadbare and poorly expressed. Despite how it was advertised, playing the campaign solo is guaranteed unless you have friends with their own copies of the game; entirely intentional, I'm sure. Consider this an apologetic re-release that fixes many – but not all – of the problems.


Developed by Bungie and out now on Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Xbox One and Xbox 360 comes Destiny: The Taken King Legendary Edition. As well as the extra content that the Taken King download brings, players both old and new benefit from the updates. As well as incorporating the various weapon balances already implemented, and the long-erased possibility of a rare item that needs 'decoding' turning out to be crap, levelling has been simplified – and is all the better for it. The cap has been raised from 30 to 40; whereas previously passing 20 involved an armour stat system that only hardcore players fully understood, you can now get all the way to 40 just by earning XP (what a novel idea!). 


The Taken King Legendary Edition package also includes an item that can instantly send one of your characters to level 25, and gifts you a few half-decent weapons and pieces of armour. This is a godsend for new players; it not only means the new stages become unlocked, but tedious grinding is in this way almost completely bypassed. You'll also suddenly have loads of missions to choose from. As well as the first Taken King content, all of the base game content will be open to you, and the missions included in the previous two expansions. Here, finally, Destiny provides a whole game's worth of content.

There was never anything wrong with the core controls and shooting mechanics; it's from the team with years of experience on the Halo series, after all. There's still too much emphasis on character level strength, with persistence (i.e grinding) rewarded more than skill to an extent. The upshot for new players jumping to level 25 is that the player-enemy balance is reasonable on the most recent content; but the further back you go, the easier things get. Conversely, the missions that open up after the main Taken King line is complete generally kick off the grind-mission-grind cycle again.

Destiny finally remembers that it has a story. The new missions have lots more narration, some well-designed set pieces, and Peter Dinklage's monotone delivery as your 'Ghost' companion replaced with the omnipresent Nolan North's more energetic delivery. Nathan Fillion puts in a superb performance as one of the peripheral characters, but his talents are wasted in a game where (a) the rest of the acting is best described as “okay”, and (b) the script is best described as “a bit shit”.

You're still essentially mugging aliens, as new weapons and armour are dropped randomly by enemies as well as offered as rewards for completing missions. You'll be swapping equipment round regularly in a constant attempt to improve your offence and defence. Speaking of which, level advantages remain sensibly disabled in PvP, and the new maps and modes are just as excellently designed as the old ones. There's still a case to be made for weapon rebalancing though, especially as not everybody will have access to the same equipment.


If you've yet to play Destiny, this is most definitely the version to get. Best enjoyed with friends, it's now a cool FPS with less annoying mechanics, a decent amount of content, and a great atmosphere.

A great way to discover new species and obliterate them. 4/5.

★★★★☆

Luke Kemp


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