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The Dark Below – Expansion Pack 1 for Destiny (Xbox One) Impressions


Posted December 19, 2014 by

Final Fiendish Feelings?

The Dark Below, the first expansion pack for Bungie’s mixed-reviews first-person shooter Destiny, was released on Tuesday, December 9, 2014.  It is available for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 for a stand-alone price of $19.99, or is included if you purchased the more expensive special editions of the game.  You can also purchase the Destiny Expansion pass, which is currently priced at $34.99, a savings of $5 if you were to planned to purchase the two expansions.

Expansion packs are sometimes a hard thing to review.  There are a lot of factors that come into play, that weight the experience and value for the price, as it really all depends on how much you currently enjoy playing Destiny. Rather than throwing a score at it after recommending that you should or should not buy it, I’m going to give some facts and details, then some shared experiences between my son and I, then give my recommendation to try and help you, dear reader, determine if it’s worth your money.

Destiny’s first Expansion, The Dark Below builds off of the existing core Destiny experience, adding in a few obvious things: multiplayer maps, strikes, etc., as well as expanding the level cap from 30 to 32 — woah, don’t go so crazy, Bungie!

The Dark Below - Expansion Pack 1 for Destiny (Xbox One) Impressions

Let’s begin with the story missions and quests.  A new character Eris is available in the Tower that gives you access to brand new quests and missions.  Of course, new quests also mean new loot drops and gear.  Can you defeat Crota, a god summoned by the Hive to destroy the Earth?

For the Destiny player’s who are more interested in the player-versus-player element of Destiny, The Dark Below introduces three new Crucible maps.  The Caldron takes place in an abandoned Hive ritual site, Skyshock is a new outdoor Earth environment that offers a good mix of vehicle and traditional FPS combat, and Pantheon takes place in an ancient temple in the Black Garden.

There is only one new Raid, called Crota’s End, which I wasn’t able to try.  Depending on which system you’re playing The Dark Below on, you will either have only one new Strike or you will have two.  Both the Xbox and PlayStation will have the Will of Crota Strike, but Sony has the exclusives rights to the second Strike, The Undying Mind until Fall of 2015 – no date has been specified.

The Dark Below - Expansion Pack 1 for Destiny (Xbox One) Impressions

There is also a new Sparrow for players to use, called the EV-30 Tumbler, which allows you to do some BMX freestyle tricks, using the D-Pad while in the air, there are also certain bonuses to the EV-30 Thumbler that can be access by using the right trigger to roll your stabilizers and the left thumbstick to roll it.

That’s pretty much what to expect with The Dark Below.

One of my son’s is a huge Destiny fan, and was beyond excited to play The Dark Below, and based on his impressions, he definitely feels that it’s worth every penny.  I tend to agree with him, it is worth the money – but I have one caveat – it’s only going to be worthwhile to those who really enjoy Destiny.  I know this sounds like a total B.S. answer, but it’s true.  If you’ve enjoyed playing through the various strikes, raids, and story missions and you’d like to unlock new content, levels, and progress past Level 30, I think you’ll really enjoy Destiny.

If you’ve never liked Destiny, then you’ll probably turn your nose up at it, as another way for Activision to get more of your money.

That being said, it is a shame that Xbox One and 360 owners will not see the full benefits of from The Dark Below, due to Sony’s exclusive deal on some content until Fall of 2015.  This deal seems a little aggressive — even Microsoft’s exclusivity deals with premium Call of Duty downloadable content was only 30 days or so, and not practically 9 months.  Here to hoping that Destiny’s extra Strike content is still relevant this time next year!

I do hope that the level cap increases without being required to purchase extra expansions, but considering the time it takes to get a character to level 30, this stuff is certainly catered more to the diehard Destiny fans.

The Dark Below - Expansion Pack 1 for Destiny (Xbox One) Impressions

A release date for the second Destiny expansion pack, House of Wolves, is anticipated for early March 2015 at a price of $19.99.  No further details have been shared about it at this time, but check back with us!

Troy Benedict



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