Destiny's previous expansion, The Taken King, was a bit of a relief.
It helped to simplify the more frustrating progression elements, meaning, for example, that when you finally obtained a much-sought after piece of gear (one that you had killed countless sentient beings for) you could start using it right away, rather than having to collect yet more piles of stuff – or, worse, repeat the very same mission all over again – in order to it level up.
On this firmer ground developer Bungie releases Rise of Iron, heralding the start of Year Three of its ambitious online-multiplayer sci-fi-shooter. On initial impressions, Rise of Iron appears to be exactly the cloudburst of new content fans have been craving, without stepping too heavily on the toes of what's come before. As always, most important is the addition of new gear, story missions, strikes and a six-player raid.
Having seen off many a megademon in the first two years, this time around the threat is from the SIVA nanotech-virus, a new enemy-type, this time introduced by our own side (through the “proto-Guardians” called Iron Lords). This opens up a new area of Destiny’s lore, giving the opening missions a renewed freshness; it genuinely feels like a new chapter in the story.
There are also a handful of new game elements, including private matches for player-vs-player, and an arena-based mode called Supremacy, which is essentially the same as Call of Duty’s Kill Confirmed mode, in which you must retrieve an item from the corpse of your victim.
More excitingly for Destiny fanboys like me is the return of an old friend, The Gjallarhorn. Year One's iconic rocket launcher, is being made available to all players, either via a pre-order promo (in “Iron black”) or via an in game quest.
The quests system gave added longevity to the second year of the game, providing further opportunities to prove yourself either through attrition or skill in order to obtain exotic weapons and armour. Players will be glad to set about this new collection with a full-powered Gjallarhorn back in hand.