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Destiny: Rise of Iron Review: Renewed Focus

/ Sep 28th, 2016 No Comments

Destiny: Rise of Iron Review

Destiny is a game that ignites passions within gamers. Regardless if these passions inspire love from players enraptured by the daily and weekly events or venom from players disillusioned by the grind, Destiny is a defining game of this console cycle.

It fosters close social interactions common to MMOs with better story presentation and more engaging gameplay. A dedicated Fireteam can use raids and strike playlists as a pretense to enjoy each other’s company.

Confusing Destiny for its content alone misses the point of what makes it such an inviting experience. In some respects, Destiny lives beyond its content. That is what makes Destiny’s new major expansion, Rise of Iron, so interesting.

Rise of Iron delivers exciting new content without losing sight of the game’s focus, making it the most cohesive expansion to Destiny thus far.

Hungry Like the Wolf

Long before the Guardians carried out the Traveler’s will, the Iron Lords protected the last bastion of humanity. Their greatest threat was a scourge called SIVA. Most of their ancient order sacrificed themselves to seal the threat of SIVA from the world. Only Lord Saladin was left to carry the memory of his fallen brothers and sisters, and continue the Iron Lord’s watch should SIVA ever rear its head again.

Now, the ancient threat has been revived by the Fallen. Lord Saladin recruits the Guardians to help finish what the Iron Lords started, so it is up to them to take out the Devil Splicers and stop the SIVA threat from making it off Earth.

Destiny: Rise of Iron Review

The prologue starts Rise of Iron on a high note.

The major drawback of vanilla Destiny’s narrative was its lack of focus. Telling a hero’s story on top of building a universe stretched the narrative thin. Rise of Iron benefits from the groundwork laid by vanilla Destiny. In contrast, the expansion tells a story with a singular purpose and a satisfying conclusion.

Telling a relatively simple story can make it seem like Rise of Iron is disposable, but it has a deep connection to the lore of Destiny and the game’s previously established plots. Rise of Iron illuminates those prior events with more details, and it fills in some backstory on what happened before the Guardians took up the Traveler’s mission.

Destiny: Rise of Iron Review

Lord Saladin is a character full of pathos, and this gives Rise of Iron an emotional core.

Vanilla Destiny had a fine story, but it didn’t deliver enough heart-pumping tension, and its story beats felt ancillary. Rise of Iron manages to deliver those important moments of tension. The story never feels disjointed because you are acting with a specific purpose to redeem the Iron Lords and stop the threat of SIVA.

In the Cut with the Wolf Pack

Not much can be said about the actual combat and gameplay. If you have played Destiny, you know what you’re in for. Rise of Iron doesn’t change what Destiny is about. It just gives you more content.

Obviously, the story missions make up a bulk of what is new in Rise of Iron. In the story, Guardians venture into the Plaguelands and take on the Devil Splicers, which are the Fallen fused with SIVA. The Plaguelands give a new perspective on the Cosmodrome by having some familiar environments overtaken with SIVA tendrils, and there is a whole new area to get to know.

The story missions are hyper focused without any filler. It moves at a quick pace without wasting a moment. There is no backtracking to pad out your time. You’ll also be left in awe at the final mission of the game, which is pretty awesome.

Destiny: Rise of Iron Review

The Cosmodrome is given new life thanks to the Plaguelands.

Both The Wretched Eye and Sepiks Perfected are fantastic new strikes. Sepiks Perfected is a cool twist on “The Devil’s Lair,” giving one of the more tried and true Destiny strikes a brand new feel. The Wretched Eye may be one of the best Destiny strikes ever.

Archon’s Forge is a new arena-style challenge for Guardians to dig into after completing the story missions. It is activated with keys dropped by enemies. The rarity of the key is determined by the tier you face off against. It goes up to five tiers, with the fifth tier being only for the toughest of Guardians. Success in Archon’s Forge is about multiple Fireteams working to wipe out the Devil Splicers.

Rise of Iron brings new maps to the Crucible and a new mode. “Skyline” and “Last Exit” are fun new maps to try out. “Supremacy” is a new mode where Guardians face off in teams to gain the most marks. In this Kill Confirmed-like mode, marks are gained by killing an opponent. The marks you gain determine your score. You’ll always drop a mark upon dying, but an ally can deny the opposing team a mark by picking it up. Supremacy is a unique new way to get competitive in the Crucible.

Destiny: Rise of Iron Review

Devil Splicers are a little more fearsome than normal Fallen.

Outside of the story missions, the two new strikes are super cool. There are plenty of daily patrols and exotic quest missions, a new record book, and a challenging arena in Archon’s Forge. This isn’t to mention the new Crucible mode and maps, and the new Raid and a new raid loot system.

There is a good amount of content to dig into in Rise of Iron.


Rise of Iron isn’t an inconsequential or slight amount of content, even if you can mainline much of it quickly. The story is one of the best Destiny tales so far.

Going in expecting the base content to be massive will naturally leave you disappointed. What is important is that the expansion delivers a great backdrop and new missions to continue daily excursions into Destiny with your Fireteam.

Destiny: Rise of Iron was reviewed on PlayStation 4 using a code for the game provided by the publisher.


Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
Kalvin Martinez

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Gaming Illustrated RATING



Destiny remains the same. It has fun first-person gameplay with cool powers and guns. The new content adds exciting strikes and PvP content to extend your enjoyment of the game.


Moving to current-gen only has helped add some visual flair to Rise of Iron, but the visuals live and die by how much you enjoy the look of SIVA and the Devil Splicers.


Destiny's undying strength is its exemplary sound design. It remains in tact here with excellent wolf cries throughout Felwinter Peak.


Rise of Iron has a great cinematic approach to storytelling that works well with the gameplay. It is one of the most focus Destiny stories.

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