Destiny Expansion II: House of Wolves (PlayStation 4) Review

By David Lovato 31.05.2015

Review for Destiny Expansion II: House of Wolves on PlayStation 4

Following the phenomenal success that was the Halo franchise, Bungie announced they had parted ways with Microsoft to partner with Activision and bring their next franchise, Destiny, to multiple platforms. Destiny was one of the most-hyped games of the generation, but following its release last September, didn't quite seem to live up to all that hype. Several flaws are present that even the game's biggest fans agree are areas for improvement. The first expansion, The Dark Below, didn't change much. Enter Destiny's second expansion: House of Wolves.

Bungie and Activision implied a large, open world full of possibilities, new areas to explore, new weapons, new bounties, new missions, new characters; an ever-evolving world. Many fans were disappointed when the first expansion, called The Dark Below, released and provided almost none of that. There was a new raid, but everything else could be boiled down to one new NPC giving the same few grind-focused missions day after day, and story missions that mostly took place in areas that have always been available in-game. Bungie provided new loot, but ruffled quite a few Guardians' capes by effectively nullifying all current items, leaving them underpowered in the face of the new equipment.

While The Dark Below wasn't a disaster, it was certainly not a large change to the game that released in September of 2014. Bungie promised they were listening to feedback from their base, and from the beginning, House of Wolves shows this. Nearly every complaint players had with The Dark Below—and even some they've had since the game's release—has been addressed and improved upon in some way. The Reef provides a new social space full of NPCs and new activities: Petra Venj doles out the story missions and weekly side-quests. A kind Fallen gentleman named Variks runs the Prison of Elders, an arena where Guardians face waves of enemies before coming to a boss. Victory results in access to the already-popular treasure room, provided a treasure key has already been found while patrolling Earth, The Moon, or Venus. Arena mode is new to the game, pushing players to play on levels higher than themselves and swap out classes and equipment on the fly, or face utter defeat.

Screenshot for Destiny Expansion II: House of Wolves on PlayStation 4

PVP also sees a new mode in the Trials of Osiris. Tickets are required to enter, and each ticket can hold up to nine wins or three losses before locking itself down, after which it can be exchanged for prizes, the more wins the better. Teams of three are tasked with wiping each other out while reviving their teammates, with no other in-game respawn, making it a fast-paced, tactics-focused series of matches. Unfortunately, both the Trials and all but the lowest level arena lack in-game matchmaking, meaning players must put teams together themselves, which can be frustrating at times. Classic PVP is still matchmade, and new maps include locations not found in the game before, like the European Dead Zone and one of Mars' moons. Old equipment isn't immediately useless; gear can be "ascended" for a price, giving the ability to make old items as good as the new loot, most of which is unique in both appearance and use.

Perhaps the best improvement is found in the game's story. While it still lacks cut-scenes and, for the most part, NPC involvement during missions, House of Wolves does feature a much more streamlined, coherent narrative brought to life by energetic voice acting behind creative characters. Enemies behave in new ways, and even some that don't are given visual overhauls to keep them fresh. Also exciting are the numerous hints at the game's future; clues and suggestions are dropped about new planets and future altercations with the various factions in the world. Destiny is full of possibilities again, and House of Wolves just might be the first chapter.

Screenshot for Destiny Expansion II: House of Wolves on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

House of Wolves doesn't reinvent Destiny and might not appeal to people who aren't fans, but those who haven't picked the game up in a while will find a lot of new activities here, and those who play daily will have a lot more options for their continuous grind toward higher levels and coveted loot. The story is finally coming together, and House of Wolves sets the game up for bigger, better things to come.

Developer

Bungie

Publisher

Activision

Genre

First Person Shooter

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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