Well September has come and gone, and Destiny Rise of Iron has now been with us for a little more than a month. After having a little time to return to space wizardry, we are now getting back into the swing of being Guardians, exploding alien heads, and complaining about a game we’ve probably played more than any other. If you’ve stayed away from this DLC so far to wait and see how it is received read on for some details of the good, the bad, and the dusty.
Loot and Progression
For starters, loot and progression have not changed as much as in past updates. The Light cap has gone up, but Light levels work pretty much the same as they did before Rise of Iron dropped. Infusion also sticks with the more recent system that the light level of the item infused is almost always the level that the item to be infused will achieve. In rare circumstances, you even get a little bonus of an additional single digit increase in Light as well. Character levels are still capped at 40, and the time when they matter will still feel distantly in the rear view mirror for most Guardians, so much so that you might even forget you have a character level.
Loot, as ever in Destiny, is plentiful. At first “Green” is the new “Purple” and you’ll rapidly find gear upgrades with dropped off of every alien foot soldier you defeat. After a few days of focused playing you’ll likely start slowing your rise in Light level, and by then the grind will feel pretty similar to the April Update. Welcome back to the treadmill, Guardian.
Pro Tip Infusion can get a little expensive during the grind to the first soft cap, so make a point of running the Daily Heroic and Daily Crucible to bank some extra Legendary Marks. There are of course plenty of other ways to get them, including other activities and sharding old gear – but running the Dailies is one of the faster ways to build your Legendary Mark bank.
Campaign and PvE
Let me say up front that PvE is definitely far from broken in Rise of Iron. It has pretty much everything you remember from the last time you played Destiny – patrols, bounties, quests, and a campaign spattered with a few cut scenes and plenty of new dialog. The thing is, there is so much you remember from previous installments, because it doesn’t feel like there is enough that is new. The campaign missions actually introduce a fairly interesting nemesis, but despite some significant foreshadowing the end result feels rushed, too short, and ultimately hollow.
Of particular offense, to me, in this expansion, is a long string of fourth-wall-breaking references and jokes which poke fun at the games re-use of assets and mechanics. I should probably be more bothered that content is being recycled in the first place, but for some reason what makes it ten times worse is hear the same tone deaf jokes repeated by NPCs or my ghost over and over as I grind through the same events and areas. With the precedent of previous DLCs and the price point for Rise of Iron, Bungie has started to solidify what can be expected from mid-cycle DLC updates in the PvE department. It won’t be enough to turn away super fans like myself, but I’ll offer no defense to those that feel like it isn’t enough to justify the purchase by itself.