Confession time: I have to hold up my hands and admit that when it comes to the lore of Destiny, I live in a perpetual state of ignorance.
While I know that Bungie’s FPS shooter is set in the distant future after a cataclysmic war nearly wiped out humankind and that players take on the role of Guardians charged with earth’s last stand, I don’t now the ins and outs of how the different factions in the game are related to each other.
This is probably because I never really took to Destiny beyond the brief period I played it shortly after it launched last year.
While Destiny certainly looked the part – Bungie’s new universe looks positively swoon-worthy in both its design and scope – its story failed to grab me and the fact that it was an MMO meant I just didn’t have the time to give it a chance.
So I don’t know who The Taken King is, or who his son was, or why a being that seems to be composed of pure evil and shimmering lights should have any paternal sense of loss. I can report, however, that the expansion for Destiny that bears his moniker bears all the strengths and weaknesses of Bungie’s MMO/FPS hybrid in that its mechanics, presentation and soundtrack are brilliant and its dialogue is clunkingly bad.
The plot for The Taken King revolves around an entity named Oryx, the father of Crota – who Destiny fans will remember was the raid boss in the game’s last expansion, The Dark Below. Apparently he’s rather upset that the Guardians splattered his son and he’s decided to take revenge. As you do…
As the demo at GamesCom opened, players found themselves trundling through a moon base filled with the corpses of aliens and the odd pool of glowing, swirling black light.
As we made our way through the station, we occasionally come across a Cabal troop struggling in a field briefly, before it was sucked into one of the pools of light dotted about the place.
The centre piece of the demo was a boss battle with The Taken King himself, although we’re guessing that the difficulty for this encounter will be tweaked before launch; we were able to take Oryx down in short order with two blasts from a rocket launch and a couple of headshots. As boss battles go it was pretty thin – especially since once Oryx was destroyed all of the minions he was spawning disappeared along with him.
The demo ended with a couple of ominous pronouncements about what the arrival of Oryx means for the Guardians, but unless you’re a hardcore fan of Destiny, it’ll be of little interest.
However, if you are a regular Destiny player you may also be interested to hear that The Taken King adds a sub-class ability to each of the three available classes already offered in the game. Titans can now deploy a power called Sun Breaker, which encases them in flame and produces a molten axe, which can be use both as a melee weapon and a thrown projectile. Incidentally, that fire axe causes heaps of damage to anything it hits.
Warlocks, for their part, will receive the Storm Caller power, which hurls out an electrical attack in every direction around them – useful, if you happen to be surrounded by a bunch of bad guys. Finally, the Hunter class has been gifted the Night Stalker power, which shrouds the character in purple shadows and arms them with a bow made of dark energy.
Alongside that new Guardian goodness, The Taken King expansion pack will reportedly also include some new PvP maps for the Crucible and some new Strike Missions. Hopefully, Bungie and Activision won’t reveal anything that’ll provoke the ire of Destiny’s fanbase before The Taken King’s September release.
Based on its showing at GamesCom, The Taken King is bound to appeal to the game’s players as it pretty much offers more of the same; more loot, more weapons, more environments and a couple of new powers.
Hell, it’s Destiny: about two thirds of the people reading this have already pre-ordered The Taken King and the rest of you don’t care.