The lead-up to the release of “Destiny’s House of Wolves” (rated Teen; $59.99) 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 recently, “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, we enter the “House of Wolves” cautiously as we attempt to 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 game 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 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 in the “House of Wolves” expansion, and even though I still have no idea what’s going on in Destiny, the pacing is much better than previous campaigns. The first was A Kell Rising. In it, my Guardian was tasked with fighting through a swarm of Fallen subjects while riding on a Pike, 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 as 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.
After making our way through the prison, my companions and I were able to access the Treasure Room. Presented with three chests, two that I can open each time I complete the prison round, 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.
Tackling the temple
The Temple of Osiris was unlocked and I’ll be tackling that as well as the new Crucible maps and its new Strike, The Shadow Thief. Judging by what I’ve experienced so far in “House of Wolves,” I admit I feel like it’s drawing me in to Destiny more than “The Dark Below” did as I can see myself returning to the Prison of Elders every so often to get new loot for about 20 minutes of work. I’m hoping the Temple of Osiris will scratch my competitive itch, although I tend to gravitate more towards player-versus-environment experiences in Destiny rather than player-versus-player against other Guardians.
What can I say – I’m a team player.