REVIEW: House of Wolves revives Destiny

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A couple weeks ago, I wrote that the future of Destiny as a franchise might rest on its House of Wolves downloadable content release.

Wednesday and Thursday, I spent a good chunk of time in the game and tested each of the corners of the new DLC. Bungie nailed it. At a crucial juncture, as committed players and old Guardians check out what’s new in the game, Destiny’s updates turned it into what it should have been at release.

House of Wolves restored my faith in the title, and there seems to be a consensus on that across reviews and platforms.

After The Dark Below, widely seen as a disappointment with a broken-but-sometimes-fun raid and very little story to it, Bungie needed to show its DLC could expand the game and make the core of the experience better, not just add on the extras. House of Wolves restored my faith in the title, and there seems to be a consensus on that across reviews and platforms.

The new story missions, while brief, are dynamic, challenging and fun. The latest strike, Shadow Thief, feels unlike any of the others in the game. It’s less of a grind and has more replayability, at least at first glance, and while challenging, you can still two-man the Nightfall with a good partner (it took my friend and I three tries).

The Prison of Elders is by far the most fun I’ve had in the game, and again, replayability is high. This isn’t a plug-and-chug system like the raids where if you’ve mastered it once, you’ve mastered it once and for all. Prison brings in variability, buffs and debuffs, and bosses such as one Cabal warlord who has a shield that shifts types mid-fight. The objective portions of the Prison are a bit mundane, but they serve to keep players moving and add some danger to the arena. It works, and it works well. There is no set path for beating the Prison, and my team and I found it challenging but not too reliant on luck (a la Crota’s End Hard Mode). We got through the level 32 version of the Prison without a wipe, but we definitely had our “oh s—“ moments.

The Prison of Elders is by far the most fun I’ve had in the game, and again, replayability is high.

The game is also about 1,000 times more backward-compatible than The Dark Below. My Vex Mythoclast and Gjallahorn do 365 damage, the max amount, thanks to Bungie stepping away from the godawful upgrade system it used in the first DLC. My Crota’s End gear is upgradeable, too, and the new maximum level of 34 seems more attainable than 32 ever did. I hit 33 within a few hours of playing House of Wolves. It felt so rewarding and not at all like the grind that’s come to define Destiny.

I’m not much of a competitive multiplayer guy, but the Trials of Osiris and new PvP elements intrigue me. I’ll be testing those over the weekend and add my thoughts a little later on. No matter what that experience is like, though, House of Wolves was everything it needed to be. It revived the game for burnt-out Guardians like myself and dug the hooks back into me.

And by the way, there’s another female lead on this DLC. She’s a badass, and she throws around a knife every time you approach her. Have fun.

Rating: 10/10
Fangirl Rating: 10/10

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