After two weeks of building excitement for Destiny’s first DLC called “Dark Below,” its 12/9 release was marked by some binge playing, random glitches, and one very impressive rocket launcher as a reward. Here are our first impressions of the various pros and cons of Dark Below.
First, Here Are the Pros
The new Crucible worlds are absolutely fantastic. Skyshock in particular is a top level gaming environment for simulated warfare actions. It’s an open field, with only a few places for genuine cover, along with a few limited building environments. Not only do you need to be aware of snipers and vehicles, but the weird guy who uses a scout rifle instead of a sniper rifle because there isn’t the same glint that can be seen by other players.
The Will of Croata has an impressive level of difficulty. Thankfully the screams of the primary boss you’ve got to eliminate allow you to know that you’re about to have a bazillion wizards and knights at Level 26 about to descend upon you. If you haven’t fulfilled the bounties from Eris to get there, the Vanguard random strikes will take you there as well.
Weapons without modifiers go above 300. That’s good news for a defense player like myself. I can sit back, be ready for the bad guys, and have them come into my trigger line. It does take a little time to get the upgrades needed to get above 300, but that’s Bungie’s way of making sure that the weapons aren’t complete game changers.
The addition of the extra Thralls adds for a nice challenge. At one point, I had 17 Thralls surrounding me on a solo mission. Completely unexpected, but still pretty nice to see. The difficult levels were a little lacking on some other missions, even with all of the modifiers active.
Then Here Are the Cons
The Dark Below bounty system is not much fun. You have to go complete a quest. Then you need to come back and turn in the bounty to Eris to get your next quest. Although you can complete the 3 Cosmodrome building patrols on one effort, trying to find that one bad guy in a dark room in the corner takes awhile – assuming you don’t look for YouTube help to find the location.
It’s still pretty glitchy – even by Destiny standards. At one point, I had to sit and wait for 5 minutes to get the next part of the world to load during the Will of Croata. In the past, this probably would have just kicked me to orbit or given me a Weasel error and blown me off the server, so props for it not doing that. Sitting in a gaming chair for 5 minutes with impatient kids who want to see the next part of the strike, however, is still not the best gaming experience that could be provided.
What’s up with the Cryptarch? Dude has given me four exotic items since the beginning of the DLC, but none of them have been for my class. It’s nice to have the extra exotic shards that are now required from them, but still… cool armor doesn’t look cool when you can’t even get a screen preview of it.
The Cauldron could use some tweaking. It’s supposed to be a close quarters Crucible environment, but there are a lot of open spaces and awkward transitions. If you’ve got Void weapons, you’ve got a clear advantage over other players on this one.
Overall the impressions of Dark Below have been rather good. The new quests have brought some extra life into the game, having the level cap raised to 32 is a good addition, and there is plenty of extra game play to be had. Now if only I can find 7 or 8 hours to go through the new Raid with my Fireteam…