Destiny: The Taken King is the latest expansion for the massively successful Destiny, which launched last year, that adds a host of new content and changes to the online shooter. Being a fan of Destiny and wanting to see just how much the game would change with The Taken King, I jumped right in with an open mind.
I’ve put as much time into The Taken King as I could, alongside a full-time job, to come to a conclusion as to if the expansion really does add to the Destiny experience. I will note however, that I was not able to do the raid, nor finish every quest line in time for this review. Regardless, I have put a good amount of time into the game’s latest expansion and think I’ve come to a conclusion.
With a lot to cover and nowhere near enough time, let’s just right in and ask the question if Destiny: The Taken King is really worth it.
Before anything though let us deal with the elephant in the room which is of course the price model of Destiny: The Taken King. See, the trouble is that without The Taken King a player will find themselves locked out of a lot of content. Most of the year two changes are available to all, and I’ll touch on those later as well, but most if not all the content is locked without owning The Taken King.
For this reason if you want to enjoy Destiny to it’s full potential you should look at upgrading to The Taken King, and there are a number of options available. The Legendary Edition of the game retails for £49.99 and includes the base game, Destiny’s two expansions and The Taken King. The digital download for The Taken King however retails on the PlayStation store for £39.99 which as you can guess is a bit mixed up. Now take into account that you also need to own the two expansions for Destiny as well, each of which cost £19.99 or £34.99 together, to really make the most of the new content, you’re going to have to spend a lot.
If however you’re like me and you did not already own the expansions for Destiny then the picking up the Legendary Edition of The Taken King is a great value for money, if you can bare to spend £50 on a game you already own… If however you already picked up the expansions then I’m sorry to say your being royally screwed over. That aside let us look more at what The Taken King has to offer and forget about the stupid price model.
The Taken King introduces a lot of new gameplay changes and elements that help to take Destiny in the right direction towards being a much better game. The new questline system, large vault space and blueprint system are just a few. There are so many changes that have been made that Destiny feels and behaves like a different game now, all thanks to the year two update. Loot is by far one of the biggest changes as everything has been rebalanced and drop rates have been changed. In a few hours of playing The Taken King I swear I had more loot drops now than my whole time playing year-one of Destiny which is a good and a bad thing.
On one hand it’s good because who doesn’t love loot, on the other hand it’s bad because there was just so much. The new balancing is also a double edge sword because now there is a lot of awesome, better gear to get hold of, but you also find your top gear from year one is next to useless. The endless grind for better gear is still a big problem in The Taken King but it is something that feels less like a grind and more like normal progression now thanks to the changes that have been made.
Visually speaking The Taken King is as good-looking now as Destiny was when it first came out. There really is not much to say on it due to just how little has changed but the new particle effects and backdrops are as beautiful as any other part of Destiny. The new Dreadnaught is a bit of a let down though due to it being a Hive ship so of course, most of it is in darkness. Regardless, the remaining elements of The Taken King are great.
The main questline in The Taken King is by far the best thing that Destiny has done to date. Taking you from the moon of Phobos through some new areas on the Moon and Earth before making an explosive landing on the Dreadnaught. Throughout all of it you’ll find that Destiny has stepped up to a new level in delivery a memorable gaming experience to you as your find bigger set pieces and more action packed missions. Sure you will be going back to the same places and only exploring a few new ones but you will also find yourself wanting to push forward as the story and world grows more and more to push you forward.
The only real downside was that the ending to the main questline felt a bit sudden and out-of-place but I’m sure that is just to allow it to set up the next addon that Destiny will surely get in the coming months. That aside however the story missions and bigger moments in The Taken King were some of the best I had experienced in recent times and would go as far as to say that they were bigger and better than some of the Call of Duty games. That opening mission on Phobos is a stand out moment that really sets the bar high.
One of the best things that Destiny does within The Taken King is giving characters we have come to already know and somewhat love, more life. Your encounter a lot more audio logs and cutscenes featuring many characters from the tower that help bring the static world of Destiny to life. One of my favorite moments was when I needed to sneak past some Hive only to have Eris Morn and Cayde-6 have a small debate in my ear as I’m meanwhile trying not to get killed.
The range of dialog that you’ll hear throughout The Taken King is welcomed and was very much-needed. There are even some random bits of dialog that you can hear from your Ghost by stopping and scanning select objects in the world. It is a small touch but it really aids in bringing Destiny to life and making me want to invest more time into my experience with these characters. I started to care about what was happening to them and the world around me and that is always a good thing.
Along with the countless amounts of new loot, story missions and other content there are a few new Strike missions for you to enjoy in The Taken King. Each of the new Strikes does something that makes them stand out and become more memorable than just waiting at a door and shooting a boss. The shield brothers Strike really stands out as the boss fight that sees you take on two unique bosses one by one before dealing with both at the same time. It was the first Strike where I’ve generally left like I needed to keep on my toes and work with my fireteam if we were going to succeed. The sunless cell is another Strike that mixes up the standard Destiny gameplay flow but setting the final encounter in a room with next to no light with a boss who can kill you in one hit. It isn’t unfair, it’s rather enjoyable and solid, in terms of experience.
The new enemy that you’ll face in The Taken King are the Taken which is a race made up of all the other races but with some creepy and brilliant changes. Oryx, being the Hive overload that he is, captures people and turns them into Taken so they can act out his bidding which means that for players the encounters are more varied. For example, you might be on the Dreadnaught dealing with a mix of Hive and Cabal only for a few Fallen, Cabal and Hive Taken to wrap into the fight.
The great thing about the Taken is how each of the familiar enemies have a unique twist on them all at the same time as looking and moving in creepy ways. Vex Goblin’s can now shield a fellow Taken and Minotaur are more powerful and invisible at the same time. The Thrall in Taken form are one of the most scary enemies in Destiny at the moment. Even if you’re exploring the same area or playing the same strike for the tenth time your find that the Taken really help to keep Destiny feeling fresh and new. It still suffers from feeling repetitive as you shoot the same enemies in the same locations, however.
The biggest new additions to Destiny are the three new subclasses. Sunbreaker for the Titan, Stormcaller for the Warlock and Nightstalker for the Hunter. Each of these new subclasses has a number of different options available as you would expect along with new supers.
Playing as a Titan it was a lot of fun to finally have super that gave me some long-range damage. Unleashing a flaming hammer made me feel like Thor, only with fire, and gave me the chance to take down a whole team if unleashed at the right moment. In fact, each of the new subclasses felt really great to play and were a lot of fun at the same time. I do have to complain about the Nightstalker however as once again it does feel like the Hunter class feels somewhat overpowered compared to the others. That however is very much a personal, subjective view as I’m sure each of the classes have been carefully balanced but we can still have our least favorite, right.
The crucible has had a facelift as well with a number of new maps and a new game mode as well. The new maps, including Sector 618 and Bannerfall mark some of the better maps added in The Taken King. Maps such as Crossroads, which features teleporters and ‘man cancons’ is rather disappointing. It just goes to show though that not everything Destiny does is perfect, in fact far from it. My time spent in the crucible was fun as always with a good number of rewards picked up along the way.
There is a lot going on in Destiny: The Taken King, so much so that we could be here forever and given the history that Destiny has it is hard to put a final verdict on The Taken King. On the one hand it is a great expansion that adds a huge amount of new loot, content and fun to be had. From the new Strikes through to the story missions and quests that await you. The Taken King has a lot to offer and really starts Destiny year two off with a bang.
On the other hand however is an overpriced additional to a game that some players may feel cheated on or let down with. The price point alone will be a reason for many to turn away from The Taken King and is completely understandable. I honestly feel that with Take Taken King you do get a good amount of content to keep you ticking over till the next addon is released for Destiny. At the same time I do think that if Destiny was wasn’t your thing, then you’re not missing out because at its core The Taken King is just more of the same. Regardless, if you were thinking about joining Destiny then now is the best time to with the Legendary Edition.
This review was written based on the PS4 version of Destiny: The Taken King provided by Activision.