Destiny was supposed to be the greatest thing to happen to shooters since sliced bread. It wasn’t. The game featured a notoriously weak story and several critical gameplay bugs, including a loot system that would make Scrooge McDuck wince. The first expansion to the game, called The Dark Below, was a failure and was almost universally panned by gamers and critics alike. To put it mildly, House of Wolves, the second expansion to Destiny, didn’t have too much going for it from the outset. Thankfully, it takes a few steps in the right direction. House of Wolves improves upon The Dark Below, and even though the story and loot problems are still there, there are lots of good things players can look forward to – an entertaining campaign, improved upgrade trees for gear and plenty of fun stuff to do once you’ve reached the endgame. If you’ve got some friends along for the ride, even better.
House of Wolves increases the level cap, and it wants players to get there quickly and easily. To this end, the game drops a lot of legendary gear earlier than it otherwise would. The result? You don’t have to spend endless frustrating hours perform Bounty quests and gaining experience points. You’ll still have to grind it out for weapons, but not as much as before. Unfortunately – there’s a catch. All of these benefits only apply to gear that is exclusive to the add-on. You’ll still have to contend with the miserly loot system for other items. Players who have completed a difficult Nightfall Strike only to watch in horror as the game drops 10 Strange Coins know what I mean. There is an in-game item called Etheric Light which upgrades your existing gear to the new limit, but the game won’t give it away easily. Especially if you’re mainly focusing on the campaign mode.
The Game Play:
There are lots of interesting set pieces which bring new twists and turns to the gameplay. The new Heavy Pike vehicle, for example, packs a tremendous punch. It features mine launchers mounted on its sides. When you’re facing a deadly enemy head on while a mob converges on you from both sides, the Heavy Pike is the vehicle you want to have handy. There’s also a fantastic new unlockable strike called The Shadow Thief, the latter part of which has you going up against Taniks and a boss fight which will take you almost the entire way around the map.
The story isn’t too much better in House of Wolves, so clearly Destiny has still a long way to go before the developers start crafting a compelling narrative. The only takeaway from the plot here is that Variks and Petra Venj, characters who were rather underserved in the previous games, are more fleshed out.
Another gameplay dynamic that House of Wolves brings to the Destiny mix is Prison of Elders, which pits you against waves of enemies. This mode is fun, but it could have done with a little more variety when it comes to the objectives. For example, when you’re alternating between standing over mines and shooting at them, it’s difficult to stay invested. Once you get to the higher levels, Prison of Elders gets a lot of fun because you’ll come up against some fun bosses. You’ll have to work perfectly with your team to bring down these enemies. One of the bosses will require you to stay airborne while he unleashes a fiery storm on the ground. There are no new raids in House of Wolves, but content like this is a lot of fun in and of itself. Once again, the loot system puts a damper on the experience because the drops are of much lesser quality than you would gain from PvP battles.
If you are a hardcore PvPer, House of Wolves has a lot of goodies in store for you. There’s a new mode called House of Osiris, which pits team of 3 against each other in battles which reward the winners generously. It’s an elimination ladder, and once you lose thrice, you have to exit the mode. If you’re knocked out within a round, you’ll have to stay down and hope one of your teammates revives you. If you win 9 battles in a row, the rewards are fantastic.
House of Wolves does a few things right – it fixes the appalling leveling mechanics of The Dark Below, gives you a better campaign and high-level activities to partake in provided you have a good team. If you’re flying solo, you won’t find too much joy here. Regardless, it’s a welcome change for Destiny and fans can only hope that future expansions follow this trend.
Game Review Score: 7.0 Out of 10
Section: Playstation 4 Reivews