Destiny received a lot of flak for its first expansion, The Dark Below, for having a lackluster raid and not fixing the randomness of gear drops, and engrams, as well as continuing to make the game a persistent grind. Now, with House Of Wolves it seems that Bungie has learned from their mistakes and created a wider variety of ways to collect the higher level gear required to do Destiny’s toughest challenges. It even feels like House Of Wolves is the most game-changing expansion ever created.
House Of Wolves has added a new area in The Reef dubbed ‘Vestian Outpost’ where players will mingle with the Queen of the Reef’s minions taking on missions to rid the galaxy of The House Of Wolves. These new enemies are essentially a cult of Fallen who are utilizing Vex technology to gain power. The story missions turn out to be a pretty lengthy endeavor and could take you around two to three hours to complete, or more if you are by yourself and under leveled. Just like the The Dark Below, the story content recycles much of the same environments players have grown accustomed to already, so don’t expect new areas. However, there is still engaging content that serves to continue the ongoing lore and backstory within the world of Destiny.
A new strike is also available, The Shadow Thief which puts players against a Fallen mercenary named Taniks, the Scarred. The base difficulty is around level twenty-eight for the missions and the strike. The expansion doesn’t open up really until you complete the entire story. However, by doing so you do unlock the new pistol along the way, the Vestian Dynasty. It is a great little secondary weapon and quite powerful. It fires as fast as you can click the trigger, unlike other pistols in the game, and comes with a hefty clip size and arc damage. It quickly became a favorite weapon of mine and is extremely powerful in The Crucible.
In House Of Wolves, gear is a lot easier to obtain, be it armor or weapons. Players are given more choice than ever when it comes to earning gear, the only thing that is limited is the ability to ascend said gear. Right off the bat players who have stored exotic shards can ascend their exotic weapon and armor piece to that of the current maximum for each, armor being the highest in the game at forty-two light. Everything else though can now be bought through your class vanguard, crucible quartermaster or procured during Prison Of Elders, or random drop via engram. It is an interesting and seemingly streamlined system that by simply purchasing all the armor you need, you can get to around level thirty-two. Then by participating in the Prison Of Elders you will garner these Etheric Light pieces as well as armor cores which you can trade to Variks at the Vestian Outpost. In general, it feels like it makes the game a little bit easier to reach that level cap of thirty-four, almost too easy. It becomes a trivial expereince for those who have done run after run of weekly raids to garner armor just to level up to max level in The Dark Below.
After you complete the story to House Of Wolves you will likely spend most of your time in the new Prison Of Elders. This new mode acts as an arena of sorts, where your fireteam will take on waves of enemies, with some objectives thrown in, like defusing or destroying mines to keep players on their toes. After four major rounds against the four different species of enemies it culminates in a boss battle. Once the intense, and sometimes be very difficult firefight comes to an end players are dropped into a treasure room that is just as ridiculous as your wildest imaginations; filled with gold and a large extravagant chest accompanied by two smaller ones. In order to open the large chest players must have acquired a key, which can be found during one of the many House Of Wolves random events that occur on the various planets, or they can be dropped within the treasure room by the smaller chests as well. Overall, the Prison of Elders is an intense and satisfying experience that does well to replace the lack of a raid in House Of Wolves. Varying difficulties and rewards depend on the Prison level you undertake only make for a continuously replayable experience that remains rewarding.
House Of Wolves has added four new maps to The Crucible that offer a great deal of variety, but the real draw is the new endgame for PvP, the Trials Of Osiris. To participate on this weekly event, you must have a trials passage coin which you can purchase at the Vestian Outpost from Brother Vance. You also acquire one for completing the House Of Wolves story. Just like the Iron Banner, all armor and weapon level advantages are enabled, but there is no matchmaking. Players are required to go in with a full fireteam of three players. This is great for those who enjoy the competitiveness of The Iron Banner and believe they have a strong gear set to take on others. They will take on another fireteam and depending on how you fare you will be rewarded with legendary gear exclusive to the Trials of Osiris. You can only lose a total of three times per coin, after that you cash out at Brother Vance and either collect your reward, or go away empty handed. This is great, as it makes the entire experience nail-biting and edgy to where every kill and death counts. The Trials Of Osiris offers an intense experience that PvP fans of the Iron Banner will love.
In the end, Destiny’s second expansion with House Of Wolves manages to fix and mend a lot of issues players had with the game prior to its release. However, by doing so it seems to wrap it up in a nice bow to the point that it may be a little too easy to reach max level. There is no new experience to keep players engaged in the game besides a level thirty-five Prison Of Elders and The Crucible which will just offer more of the same for those who have already experienced what they have to offer. They serve as highlights to the House Of Wolves experience. As far as an expansion goes, it is leaps and bounds better than The Dark Below.
Destiny: House of Wolves
- Available On: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
- Published By: Activision
- Developed By: Bungie
- Genre: First-Person Shooter
- US Release Date: May 19th, 2015
- Reviewed On: PS4
- Quote: "House Of Wolves manages to be a well-rounded expansion with a lot to offer and content to experience. Even if that comes at the trade of having max level so easily accessible and the same recycled story environments."