As the clock crept past 3 a.m., my Ghost and I enjoyed a beautiful moment of reflection as we stood over the corpses of some Fallen Vandals. I had just completed the “We Found a Rifle” mission and I realized that after more than two years with Destiny, I was not asked to hack any terminal or to kill any enemies. Instead, I was asked to take in the view.

Destiny’s “Rise of Iron” is the game’s fourth expansion, with new aliens, new co-op content and new loot to grind for. If you are like me and were looking for an excuse to get back into the daily grind that is Destiny, then you’re in luck. The expansion, similar to its first story boss (spoilers), Sepiks Perfected, finally feels like it has reached its stride.

I’ll admit, the road to this expansion was not an easy one. At one point or another everything about this game was broken –– but in our third year with Destiny we see what this game’s potential really is. “Destiny: Rise of Iron” is well worth $30 when you look at what you get in return: new story missions, a new patrol area, a new raid and most importantly new weapons and armor.

“When you think about everything we’ve seen, everything we’ve done,” my Ghost (now voiced by Nolan North) said. “I’ll always remember our first day together.”

The words, for the first time in a Destiny mission, made me stop and reflect. When I think of Destiny now, I see the culmination of my experiences over the course of the last two years: staying up till 4 a.m. to see what Xur (the Destiny equivalent of Santa Claus) had in stock , completing my nightfall strikes every week, getting to the lighthouse in Trials of Osiris every weekend and finally defeating the Vault of Glass raid for the first time without any guides. This is a model that works. Destiny has players invested in the world and calls them back on a weekly basis.

As for the expansion itself, “Rise of Iron” includes a short but sweet set of story missions that finally tell the players what happened to the Iron Lords, the precursors to today’s guardians. The narrative is told mainly through the voice of Lord Saladin – the last of the Iron Lords – who is voiced by Keith Ferguson, and although the voice acting is monotone, the story concludes with a memorable boss fight. One thing that struck me though while I was fighting the expansion’s new enemy type was that the story seemed the be pulled directly from Bungie’s other famous sci-fi first person shooter, Halo 2. Buy this expansion, play it and tell me that the main enemy is not “The Flood.”

The new raid, “Wrath of the Machine,” is by far the hardest raid in Destiny. Without spoiling anything, the raid’s new and interesting team-based mechanics turn what could easily be kill checkpoints into heart-pounding challenges unlike anything Destiny players have ever seen.

On the whole, “Destiny: Rise of Iron” is definitely a step in the right direction. For $30, you can expect a lot more than 30 hours of new and satisfying content. If you’ve never played Destiny before, than picking up the main game and all of the DLC to date for $60 is exceptional. While much of “Rise of Iron” is about reflection, the expansion is hopefully an example of the DLC we will see down the line. If this is the new Destiny, sign me up.


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