For the second time in less than 30 days I found myself on a plane to Bellevue, Washington last week. My final destination? Bungie’s studio to get hands on with the new expansion Rise of Iron. The big difference this time was that I was allowed to play through the new campaign in its entirety. Today I’m going to cover some background and the opening mission of Rise of Iron, King of the Mountain and one of the remastered strikes, The Devil’s Lair.
Rise of Iron focuses on the story of the Iron Lords. Narratively Rise of Iron doesn’t push the current story of Destiny too far forward. It does fill in large gaps about Lord Saladin and more of his origins. Bungie chose to focus on telling a story of other events that are happening in this expansive universe.
The story telling has definitely picked up with this expansion. From the opening cinematic throughout the campaign arc there is a cohesive narrative that is explained either through cut scenes or actual game play in the missions. There was never really any of those moments where I was sitting around after a mission scratching my head trying to figure out what just happened. This is a far cry from where Bungie started off with the initial release of the game.
I also found this new narrative to be fairly self-contained. Even if you haven’t played House of Wolves, the Dark Below, or the Taken King you wouldn’t be missing much. As long as you know who Lord Saladin is from the Iron Banner tournaments you’d probably be okay. Even then there is enough exposition to fill you in on the backstory.
Lord Saladin is the last of the Iron Lords. Iron Lords were the group of humans that first encountered the traveler. Because of the power they were granted they believed they were immortal, and invincible. Unfortunately for them they found out that the two were in fact mutually exclusive when they encountered SIVA. The Iron Lords attempted to use this nanotechnology for the betterment of society but they were not capable of controlling it. At a great loss of live to themselves they ended up sealing it away, until now.
After the opening cinematic in King of the Mountain you’ll find yourself attempting to secure the Iron Temple. This was the mountain home of the Iron Lords. Lord Saladin will guide you on your missions over your communications. The amount of NPC voice chatter has seemed to increase with this expansion. Instead of just the ghost talking and maybe one other NPC this time you’ll find your ghost and a handful of NPCs talking to you.
As you race up the mountain to the Iron Temple you’ll catch a ride in a gondola. This is clearly a bad idea but you aren’t left with many options so you do it anyway and find yourself surrounded on cavern walls by fallen. Eventually you’ll be forced to make a jump for it and go the rest of the way on foot, fighting fallen as you go.
Eventually you’ll make your way to the tower and be forced to defend it from an enemy you thought long dead. It’s noticeably different though. It has been reassembled and covered in red bits and bobs. This is the reconstructive effect of SIVA on this fallen leader.
The opening cinematic looked fantastic and sets the mood to kick off the expansion. This mission was well paced and ends with a revealing boss battle. It also sets the stage to open up the new shared space, Felwinter Peak which will be used as a launching pad for the rest of the story.
A New Old Strike
One of the three “new” strikes in this expansion is The Devil’s Lair. You might remember this as the home of Sepiks Prime in Old Russia. He has been reborn as Sepiks Perfected. Destiny didn’t just take the Devil’s Lair and retune it as a “heroic” version for this expansion. They reworked it to fit the story of Rise of Iron. Engulfed in the taint that has spread across the cosmodrome Sepiks resembles his old form with a few new twists. He has a shield you’ll have to figure out how to eliminate before you can actually damage him.
You can get a first look at both the mission King of the Mountain here:
Make sure to check back in later this week for some new information on Felwinter Peak and Archon’s Forge.