My name is Esat, and I’m a recovering Destiny addict. Oh no, look, I’ve just relapsed. Again.

Before jumping into the latest expansion for Bungie’s Space Magic Monster Shooting Simulator (as the Stuff team affectionately calls it), my Destiny playtime was sat at 683 hours.

That’s almost exactly four entire weeks of non-stop space-slapping ugly aliens in the face - and looking fabulous in my Warlock robes while doing it, thank you very much.

The reason I’m sharing this guilty secret with you? So you know where I’m coming from. Until June, I’d exclusively played Destiny, pretty much since its launch two years ago. I finally weaned off it when I moved out and real life got in the way this summer.

With no new content giving me a reason to stick around, I was done. For a while, anyway.

I knew that Rise of Iron was always going to drag me back in - like many faithful Destiny players who have moved onto other pastures. But does it offer enough to keep us day one Guardians here for a fair while longer?

Let’s find out.

HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF

Let’s get this out of the way: Rise of Iron’s main story missions are disappointingly short. It took three hours, tops, to blitz through them - and that’s including the time I spent faffing in the tower, checking out the new vendor gear.

Granted, this expansion is cheaper than The Taken King, but you could feel a little miffed when you compare it to The Witcher 3’s massive yet similarly-priced DLC.

Thankfully the campaign itself is engaging. The storyline isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s very well executed, and the visuals, environment and music are, as always, truly stunning.

I often found myself taking a break from shooting just to stare at the impressive sweeping vistas, and I really love the Game of Thrones-esque wolf symbolism running throughout.

The new ‘Splicer’ enemies are a little disappointing, though. They’re reskinned versions of existing Fallen creatures, complete with Darth Maul-approved red and black outfits, and fresh, swanky-looking armour, but their actual combat styles aren’t massively different.

It’s the polar opposite of the last expansion’s Taken enemies, which had drastically different abilities on top of a fresh new look. In Rise of Iron, everything seems pretty familiar.

Sure, Dregs now throw tracking grenades and Vandals shoot slightly different projectiles, but you don’t really have to change tactics to deal with them.

The new Plaguelands patrol area is a bit of a mixed bag, too. The Taken King’s Dreadnaught was a brand new, exciting area, but here you just get a snowy, slightly tweaked version of Old Russia - the area Destiny players will have explored every inch of.

We’re not treated to a new planet, or even a different place on Earth. Not quite the breath of fresh air you might have hoped for, then.

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FORGING AHEAD

Still, there’s more to Rise of Iron than giant red liquorice stalks. The Archon’s Forge area is an excellent example of open-world level design, with flowing lava lakes that’ll leave you mesmerised - until a pack of Dregs with serious attitude problems show up to ruin your day.

It’s here where you can team up with other players to farm gear, in what is essentially a series of miniature boss fights, complete with waves of lower-level enemies to make your life more difficult.

Think of it as a tweaked version of The Taken King’s Court of Oryx arena, albeit in a different location and with a Fallen theme.

You present the offerings randomly dropped by enemies in The Plaguelands to call forth a boss, with fights varying from easy to controller-throwingly difficult.

Wander in as four other players are already diligently grinding out round after round, and you’ll grab yourself some sweet loot in no time. Head there alone and you’ll soon be staring at the respawn screen.

Rounds are varied, hectic, and very fun, with a lot more colour than the gloomy halls of the Prison of Elders.

It’s annoying you need a key to open the door as well as an offering to summon the boss, though. On my first go, I waited too long after placing my offering - the gate sealed up, and I was missing my own party. I had to use up my only key to open the gate.

You need these keys if you die and respawn too, because it’ll kick you out of the Forge area, back to that pesky gate again. Your teammates can revive you, if they’re not too busy dying themselves, but it’s an extra layer of frustrating complication in an activity already reliant on getting lucky enough to have other people with you in the same instance.

Personally I agree with the reddit brigade - scrap the gate, scrap the keys. Let’s all just have some fun, eh?

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ENTER THE CRUCIBLE

Destiny’s fast-paced competitive gametypes always keep me coming back long after I’ve exhausted the campaign content, and Rise of Iron’s selection of new maps will probably do the same.

There’s a new game mode to get your head around, too - Supremacy.

This is, quite literally, Call of Duty’s Kill Confirmed gametype, but with killstreaks exchanged for Guardian supers. Essentially, the aim is to kill your enemies, then pick up the orbs they drop to confirm the kill. Enemy players can steal your orbs though, so you have to be nimble to net both the kill and the orb, for extra points.

Playing it in a free-for-all Rumble match is, for me at least, extremely stressful, and while it’s fun, I personally prefer to just kill anything that moves on the opposite team without having to worry about anything else. Perhaps I’m just a man of simple pleasures.

I’m really looking forward to the start of the new Iron Banner tournament, which has yet to be confirmed, but until then, apart from the Supremacy game mode, Crucible remains relatively unchanged. That means it’s still worth grinding out for drops and exotic engrams using your Three of Coins.

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Destiny: Rise of Iron verdict

Made it this far, but didn’t understand half the things I’ve been blabbing on about? Either you’ve never played Destiny, or left its iron grip long ago.

Let’s be realistic, though. You’re probably reading this because, like me, you’ve been a fan of Bungie’s universe for a long time, and you’re after a reason to come back.

If that sounds about right, then it’s definitely time to pick up Rise of Iron. There’s more than enough here to reel you back in, with plenty of fresh quests and gear to keep your Destiny addiction ticking over for a few more months.

Destiny remains, for me at least, one of the most polished shooters I’ve ever played.

The gunplay is just exquisite - every other shooter I’ve picked up in the past two years has felt lumbering and clunky in comparison. It always feels amazing to come back again after you think you’ve seen it all, just to rain death down from the heavens with bullets and magical powers.

I’ve yet to boost my light level high enough to try out the raid - but if Bungie’s past efforts are anything to go by, we’re in for a treat. Expect a review update once I’ve triumphantly crawled out of the red liquorice, covered in the blood of my enemies, and draped in glory.

See you then, Guardian.

Stuff says... 

Destiny: Rise of Iron review

A polished, must-buy update for the Destiny faithful that will keep you grinding for several more months
S$TBC
Good Stuff 
New environment is gorgeous, with a killer soundtrack to boot
Questlines are exciting and engaging, with plenty of rewards
Gameplay remains superbly polished
Bad Stuff 
Main campaign feels too short
Where are our new planets/locations?
Some missions and enemies feel like simple reskins