The Hunt Is Over!
By: Anthony Zangrillo (PSN: bigz93)
Edited by: Mohamed Mohamed
(Reviewed on PS4)
Destiny’s latest patch has fixed a few of the irksome glitches that I discuss within the review. Notably, prison keys drop upon the completion of certain bounties, and chests have a higher chance of dropping a key. Furthermore, the annoying Quadron the Gatekeeper can actually be defeated without resorting to a spam Gjallarhorn rockets strategy because the jail breaker buff for taking out Quodron’s Eye has been greatly increased. I adjusted my score accordingly, yet there are still nagging issues with this game (no checkpoints in Prison and unfair matchmaking in Trials).
Destiny’s latest expansion House of Wolves slightly improves on its overall presentation, yet the main narrative still lacks meaningful character development. While this is nothing new for the franchise, Bungie has opted for a new challenging horde-mode conflict The Prison of Elders to compensate for the lack of a new raid. This would be a worthy addition for the ranks of guardians, if an average gamer could actually beat the prison in a reasonable time without putting every single waking second into collecting loot drops. Also, House of Wolves marks the beginning of a grueling 3-on-3 competitive tournament The Trials of Osiris. Overall, House of Wolves is an even bigger disappointment than the last expansion The Dark Below, and Destiny is an utter disgrace to its MMO namesake. Many Destiny gamers have been waiting for a reason to drop the game and its addictive mindset, and these wolves may be the breaking point for most of the Destiny community to never return to the reef or tower.
First of all, this expansion includes a meager five story missions, which mostly retread areas already explored in the original campaign. Admittedly, Bungie does unlock additional areas, which usually signal the start of a major conflict. As a result, the pacing and tone of these missions is much better than the Dark Below. The simple premise of a hunt for Fallen leaders allows the game to easily further the plot while presenting a formidable antagonist. Bungie tries to take an interesting approach by mixing another enemy type the Vex into the storyline, even providing a showdown with the famous oracles from Vault of Glass. Still, the inclusion of the Vex barely works, and “the twist” at the end could’ve been further teased and developed. Ultimately, I still could care less about my character. Furthermore, Bungie’s decision to not even have another cut scene (aside from the commercial) featuring The Queen is a huge mistake, considering the loads of money this game is making.
New enemies spring up throughout the missions, including exploding and sniper shanks, a spider walker with a fresh coat of paint, and time grenades, which slow down everything in its wake. While it is nice to see some new tweaks to familiar faces, not enough innovations are included in the expansion.
On to the core of the expansion, The Prison of Elders presents a challenging new five-round survival mode that will test even veteran players on higher difficulties. Bungie understands the conflict in not providing matchmaking for the raids and has reached a compromise. Level 28 Prison of Elders allows matchmaking, while higher difficulties do not. Still, the need for three players rather than six presents a few less barriers for friends to play together without diving into the risky Destiny forums.
However, the Prison is far from an enjoyable experience for a bunch of garbage rewards. In my first play through of the level 28 Prison, my veteran team sped through the game, as we saw the potential of this fascinating mode. We speculated that the unique limitations varied the gameplay just enough for legions of guardians to venture back to the warden’s halls. We have never been more wrong about this game. At first, the new elements reminded me of the nightfall and its randomly mixed bag of enhancements and downgrades, yet upon reaching higher difficulties, I wanted to delete my account and never return to this unsatisfying game universe.
The warden demands completion of frustrating “objectives” that basically requires the co-operation of every single class-type. At times, a round may actually consist of a boss battle against a familiar inmate. While most would think that these battles require great skill and a cunning strategy, in reality, a victory can only be attained through overpowered weapons and cheap tactics (similar to some aspect of the previous Crota raid). For example, taking refuge on a side balcony and unloading every last bit of ammo on a barely formidable target can easily kill some bosses. However, other hit-point giants may require constant motion to conquer the boss’s ever-changing elemental shield flanked by a swarm of overpowered minions. In the end, I can tolerate these dull conflicts, but the idea of this battle being “fun” would be a stretch.
So, Bungie tried to increase the strategy of the game by including “little” obstacles for guardians to overcome. Too bad the company released a buggy and ultimately impossible challenge for most of the players. When most of the YouTube videos of a battle consist of expert players spamming the best rockets in the game and BARELY winning, Bungie should realize there is a problem with their content. On top of all this, checkpoints do not exist in the Prison, a community shock as the raids always consisted of checkpoints for even the smallest of victories. After an hour of struggling through the final phase of an unfair boss on level 34, my veteran team decided to quit and lose all of the progress that we had made. Destiny has finally pushed their grind feature way too far, and I hope that most of their community wakes up from their loot-deprived comas.
At least the rewards from this challenging mode must be worth the effort. Not quite. Barely anything is given for beating the Prison on easy mode, and the higher difficulties only give armor with a higher light level and some new boring weapons. While the first time I used a treasure key, an exotic (the game’s rarest weapon) dropped, that stroke of fortune is not always guaranteed. Plus, you are not even guaranteed a key for beating the prison. Rather Bungie will force players to “farm” the new ether chests, which have a shockingly low rate of dropping.
On to another disaster, the Trials of Osiris is a neat concept in theory, yet totally falls apart in execution. Success in the Trials requires teamwork and skill, yet making armor and weapon levels matter, only favors the hardcore community. This resilient segment constantly spams the same overused weapons, mistaking luck for actual skill. To make matters worse, Bungie has completely tapped out in regards to making a fair fight, as almost no semblance of matchmaking exists in this horrific mode. Albeit, the rewards in this mode are definitely worth the effort, as some players will be skilled (or crazy) enough to flawlessly go 9-0 and reach a new social area The Lighthouse, where a bevvy of amazing awards awaits them. The fact that you need to attain that ridiculous stat just to reach a social area is on an entire new level of sadism.
How are players expected to reach the level cap if the required objectives are so uninviting to lower players? Paradoxically, each expansion has basically pushed the reset button on power, and House of Wolves is no different, as the new upgrade currency Etheric Light is nearly impossible to get. If you are one of the fortunate gamers to have not fallen for the season pass trap, heed this former guardian’s advice and stay far away from any game associated with the Destiny brand.
Score: 6/10 (Updated)