‘The Dark Below’ expansion for ‘Destiny’

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First Posted: 12/15/2014

If you’ve been playing “Destiny” since its release, but are looking for a breath of fresh air, look no further than “The Dark Below.”

That fresh breath of air will still feel sort of familiar once the newness wears off.

“The Dark Below” is the first downloadable expansion for “Destiny.” Story wise, the game introduces Eris Morn, a mysterious woman focused on preventing the Hive Lord Crota from taking over Earth.

Unfortunately, like the main game, we’re not treated to much more than that. There are a handful of new story missions that lead up to an anti-climactic conclusion, and that’s it.

Part of me is disappointed at the game’s continued lack of focus on the story. The planets, and the characters (good and bad) that inhabit them, continue to play it safe. Given how ambitious the game is in other facets, it’s a shame the story continues to be left out of the equation.

Granted, a lot of players have forgiven Bungie for that, and I’m still in that crowd. I can’t help but feel myself wanting more knowledge of the universe I visit so frequently.

“The Dark Below” provides a slew of new content to keep both veterans and new players occupied. New weapons, armor and gear have been added, along with some new arenas for competitive multiplayer matches.

So much, in fact, it’s a little overwhelming.

All of my gear is practically obsolete thanks to the update, but thanks to some vanguard marks I earned over time, I was able to upgrade pretty quickly. There are tons of other legendary and exotic weapons and gear ready for the taking, and that alone has given the game new life for me.

The new strikes are welcomed additions. Bungie included two new strikes, “Will of Crota” and “The Undying Mind”, the latter being exclusive to PlayStation until at least the fall of next year.

The great thing about the new strikes is they are absolutely frantic. Even the new story missions crank up the difficulty in a way that makes gameplay action-packed from beginning to end.

That difficulty, however, didn’t transition well for some of the new daily bounties given by Eris Morn. Some of the new bounties are frustratingly hard with rewards that don’t justify the difficulty. They’re manageable enough once you figure out a tactic, and having a second person watching your back doesn’t hurt.

Some of the bounties require killing so many enemies without dying, or the counter resets. Getting more than halfway done with the bounty, only to have to restart due to an unfortunate death, is beyond frustrating.

Bungie also rolled out a new way to upgrade exotic weapons. Exotic weapons can be traded in to the weekend merchant, Xur, who gives you the weapon back with a higher damage rating. That, however means that players have to go back and re-level the items to get all the perks back.

Honestly, I’d be okay with this system if getting ‘strange coins’ wasn’t like pulling teeth. Xur charges seven strange coins, along with up to 8,000 glimmer, to upgrade the weapons. It seems like the weapons and armor upgrade a little faster, which is great, but the price is a little steep.

There is just enough here to merit giving “The Dark Below” a try. The new weapons and armor alone give the grinding new reasons and the strikes are a blast. The missions carry a new sense of difficulty, but do little to shed light on the universe’s story or the new threat at hand. I haven’t played the new raid yet, but all indications point that it too adds layers.

If you’re a hardcore “Destiny” fan, then definitely give “The Dark Below” your full attention. Otherwise, there might not be enough meat in this downloadable content pack.