When Destiny launched just over a year ago, many found it pretty underwhelming. Bungie had promised alot, and though it was an enjoyable game, it didn't quite live up to the hype. The worlds weren't as open as we'd been led to believe, customization was pretty limited, the story only really got players to around half the maximum level, and the bosses weren't especially exciting.
Two expansions, The Dark Below and The House of Wolves, definitely added more to the game, but it was arguable whether either was truly worth the price. As a result, some people were understandably worried that The Taken King would follow the same pattern of "exposition dump, kill things, exposition dump."
Oryx is a King of many things-Hive, Taken, and Darkness-but he's also the King of Story. For the first time since release, players found themselves wrapped in an intriguing narrative with an actually intimidating villain. Certain characters were developed more, including Mara Sol, Queen of the Awoken, her brother, Uldren, and Eris Morn.
The shining star of the DLC, however, is Hunter Vanguard Cayde-6, voiced by Nathan Fillion. Though his humor, sarcasm, and cavalier attitude were slightly hinted at during the campaign, he becomes fully fleshed out in The Taken King. Fillion's acting is impeccable, and his dialogue actually becomes something players look forward to, instead of mashing the A button to skip as fast as possible. His repartee with Eris is particularly amusing.
Of course, there's more than just witty dialogue and new missions. Three new subclasses have been added: Nightstalker for Hunters, Sunbreaker for Titans, and Stormcaller for Warlocks. Damn, are they fun.
Nightstalkers gain the ability to fire a Void Bow, which can impact either an enemy or the environment. It fires out tethers of Void Light, which anchor and damage any nearby enemies. Upgrades can extend the duration of the tethers, cause enemies to explode upon death (which can set off an extremely satisfying chain reaction), and even allow you to fire three shots instead of the standard single. Most importantly, this class is actually beneficial to teammates, as opposed to the Hunter's other two subclasses.
The Sunbreaker class is pretty hot. They get access to what's called the Hammer of Sol. It's pretty much what it sounds like. Imagine Thor's hammer, but it's on fire and it explodes with the fury of the Sun in your enemies' crispy faces. If that doesn't cook them as well done as the player would prefer, they could always rely on thermite grenades (imagine a napalm strike in a can), or their melee, which, at its highest level, recharages instantly if they land a killing blow. And let's be honest... there are very, very few creatures who can tank a firepunch to the face.
Guardians are the protectors of the Light, and Vanguards have researched it and the Void extensively. However, if they player chooses the Stormcaller class, they may just start feeling the power of the dark side. As they raise their hands and lightning arcs towards their enemies, it's extremely clear what Bungie was going for. It may not be the most original power in the game, but damn, is it satisfying. Oh, and it's really effective at destroying one's enemies, too.
Speaking of enemies, the new Taken faction is fantastic. They look cool, they're intimidating and powerful, and they're more than just reskinned Vex, Fallen, and Cabal. They have unique abilities that none of the others had, and take more strategy than simply aiming for the weak spot. They tend to come at you in larger numbers than the other factions, and the tight spaces in locations like the Dreadnaught make this particularly dangerous.
All in all, The Taken King shows us a good portion of Destiny's full potential. The only downside is the price tag of $40, which feels a bit hefty considering it feels more like something that should have been in the main game than DLC, but overall, it's worth it. Copies of Destiny that include The Taken King as well as The House of Wolves and The Dark Below are available for the standard $60. If you don't have Destiny, now would be a great time to jump in.