I played a lot of Bungie’s Destiny when it was released in September. In the days and weeks after its release, I spent dozens of hours exploring the universe, leveling my Hunter to 27 and diving into the Crucible frequently. Although I’ve been playing other things over the last few weeks, my mind keeps going back to the game, thinking about my nearly-finished exotic bounty and the legendary gear I’m this close to upgrading. I’ve been itching to go back, and this week’s release of the first Destiny expansion, the ominously titled The Dark Below, is the perfect opportunity to don my sweet Knucklehead Radar helmet again.
The Dark Below is far more than just a few new quests though, as it features everything a Destiny fan could possible want: all-new weapons and gear, new story missions told through a never-before-seen character, a challenging cooperative Strike, a tough (level 30!) new six-player Raid, and three new competitive multiplayer arenas in the Crucible. As if that wasn’t enough, players can now raise their Light level to 32, which will come in really handy for the aforementioned Raid.
What’s more, the team at Bungie worked hard to not only ensure all of this new content fit snugly into the game’s existing framework, but also to be discovered more organically in-game. The narrative thread that runs through The Dark Below revolves around the Hive’s attempts to summon their dark god Crota (yes, he of the Sword) and your counter-attempts to keep that from happening.
Like many things in Destiny, it begins in the Tower, where you’ll meet a new character – Eris Morn. After her strike team was wiped out by Hive forces she spent years living in their tunnels, watching and listening all the while. Now she’s back and she’s pretty pissed. Naturally, it’s up to the Guardians (that’s you!) to make everything right.
While you could access the game’s map to select missions in whatever order you’d like, getting them as bounties from Eris not only gives the proceedings a more orderly air, but also results in you getting Murmur, a pretty awesome Legendary fusion rifle, for your troubles. In the three story missions, your focus will be to keep Crota from being summoned. After that, over the course of the Will of Crota Strike, you’ll be tasked with wiping out Crota’s forces on the moon and taking out Omnigul, his most trusted Wizard. Finally, there’s the Crota’s End Raid, in which you and five other Guardians will be taking the fight to Crota on his turf.
Telling the story this way really helps to expand the already deep narrative universe Bungie’s created, allowing for more to learn and experience in between all of the combat. When the talking stops and the shooting starts, however, the gunplay is just as tight and intense as always. To that end, you’ll be coming across a bunch of new Legendary weapons and pieces of armor after the expansion launches… even if you didn’t buy it. If you want the new Exotics, however, you’ll need to pony up for The Dark Below or a Destiny Expansion Pass.
In addition to everything listed above, there’s one more surprise awaiting you in The Dark Below: a trick Sparrow. After seeing what the Destiny community did with the standard Sparrows, Bungie decided to up the ante by introducing one specifically with tricks in mind. As someone who enjoyed driving in reverse and generally acting like a madman on my Sparrow, I couldn’t be happier with these new models. Did I mention the flames painted on the sides?
My all-too-brief time with Destiny teasingly scratched the itch I’ve been feeling recently, and that’s without even playing the three new multiplayer maps or the “Crota’s End” Raid. I can already tell I’m going to be spending a lot more time exploring what else lurks in The Dark Below.