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Destiny: House of Wolves Review: Leader of the Pack

The second expansion for Destiny, the House of Wolves, released this week to a cautiously-excited fanbase considering how much of a let down The Dark Below was. Bungie hopes to make up for it by adding an exuberant amount of content in House of Wolves, but is it too little too late? Our review.

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The lead-up to the release of Destiny’s House of Wolves expansion has been met with mostly cautious excitement considering The Dark Below felt like it was a tacked on experience to the original game. The galaxy-expanding adventure we all thought Bungie would take us on in The Dark Below never happened, and this week, The House of Wolves was released. Based on all of the information Bungie revealed over the past few weeks, it appears to be the experience we all were hoping Destiny’s first expansion would be. But as Guardians are now once bitten, twice shy, we take a step back into the Traveler’s Light to take on the House of Wolves so we may earn the riches and favor of The Queen.

Bark At The Moon

The House of Wolves expansion is made up of a new social space called the Vestian Outpost within The Reef, new story missions, four new Crucible maps, a new Crucible elimination gametype called the Trials of Osiris, a new Strike, and a new co-op arena activity called the Prison of Elders. I haven’t played Destiny in quite some time, so I had to level up my Guardian to around 26 over the weekend in order to feel comfortable taking on the House of Wolves. But once it released, I went head first into its story missions.

There are a total of five story missions to take on in the House of Wolves expansion, and even though I still have no idea what’s going on in Destiny, the pacing was much better than previous campaigns. The first was A Kell Rising. In it, my Guardian was tasked with fighting through a swarm of Fallen while riding on a Pike, which I then was confronted by a Spider Tank. Instead of taking shelter and attempting to dissect it with my Guardian’s weapons, I chose to continue attacking it with my Pike using the same strategy all Guardians should be familiar with: attack its legs until it’s stunned and proceed to attack it’s exposed weak point. I was able to overtake the Spider Tank, but I found I wouldn’t be so lucky in later missions as I found them to be challenging, even when selecting a level that was well within my Guardian’s range.

For The Horde!

Once I complete the House of Wolves five story missions, the Queen thanked me for my efforts and promised me riches beyond my wildest dreams. What I was presented with was a key and a one-way ticket to the Prison of Elders, because nothing in Destiny is ever acquired easily.

The Prison of Elders introduces a horde-style game mode within an arena. Just like with Strikes, I’m teamed up with two other Guardians as we work our way through four rounds fighting the Fallen, Hive, Vex, and Cabal. Each round consists of three waves to which the prison empties itself of all enemies of a particular faction. I found the first wave to be a nice introduction to each new round, but the second and third waves greatly increase in difficulty, especially if you’re not using weapons that can deactivate an enemy’s shield.

Once I made it through the prison, my companions and I are able to access the Treasure Room. I’m presented with three chests, two that I can open each time I complete the prison, while one large chest can only be opened if I’m in possession of a Treasure Key, which can be earned in a variety of ways. Fortunately for me, the key the Queen gave me happened to be the key needed for this large chest, and the loot that came out of it was quite bountiful.

No Raid? No Problem!

Destiny players were up in arms over the fact there wouldn’t be a new Raid in House of Wolves. While I enjoy a good Raid every so often, the amount of additional content more than makes up for it. One such addition is the Trials of Osiris, and it’s exactly what competitive Destiny players have been looking for, although it’s a shame it’s only available on the weekends. This special event is a multiplayer variant that plays like Elimination mode in Crucible with teams of three facing off against each other. There’s no respawning and only a single map playable over any weekend, which means your team is going to have to know the map very well and work together in order to succeed. If you lose three matches, you’re no longer able to take part in the trials, but you can begin earning rewards with as little as two wins. I do admit that I don’t dabble in the competitive side of Destiny as much as I do everything else, so I didn’t do that well during this weekend’s Trials of Osiris, but I did get a real sense of just how competitive the trials can get, especially when new loot is at stake.

Another addition is a new Strike called The Shadow Thief, which may not be as spectacular as others, it still offers some great pacing and an actual feeling of progression. In it, you’re tasked with pursuing a Fallen leader called Taniks through a series of battles that take place on the Moon, but then leads to a Fallen battle ship. As you’re hunting Taniks down, he pops up from time to time to hound your team with any inflicted damage to him carrying over to the final battle, which makes it feel like you’re actually progressing through the Strike. This is definitely a departure from how other Strikes flow and one I hope Bungie offers more of.

Hungry Like The Wolf

Destiny has had many ups and downs since its release, but the House of Wolves expansion feels like Bungie is finally giving us the experience we’ve been wanting. Guardians can now feel like they’re making progress in Destiny’s confusing galaxy with the addition of a new social location, a new story that introduces us to a new PvE arena, a new progressive Strike, and something serious PvP players can sink their teeth into. I dare to say Destiny actually feels fun now, although I wish there weren’t months where it felt like more of a grind than anything.


This review is based on a PlayStation 4 season pass code provided by the publisher. Destiny is available in retail stores, PSN, and Xbox Marketplace for $59.99. The game is rated T.

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