The Dark Below feels like an early misstep for Destiny
Short on content, and long on grinding, The Dark Below fails to meaningfully enhance the Destiny experience.
The Dark Below is thin on content, and it fails to expand the scope of Destiny in any meaningful way.
Destiny gets darker with its new add-on, but the game itself isn't better for it.
For now, there's an easy test to judge whether or not you should pick up The Dark Below: did you play Destiny from launch all the way up until the first expansion? If so, you'll want to get it as soon as possible. If your enthusiasm has faltered over the past few months and you never really got into the first raid, you can wait or pick up the Season Pass at a later date after more incremental improvements have been made.
Destiny: The Dark Below is a combination of all of the worst parts of the original game. It offers little value to all except the most dedicated of players and revisits the same overused locations that we've seen a dozen times.
A disappointing add-on to a game already losing its lustre. House of Wolves needs to be better than this, or Bungie may find themselves in trouble.
In the end The Dark Below has some great ideas and adds to an already solid game, but what it adds does not seem to be worth 20 dollars. It is unfortunate that a game with such great gameplay is hindered by its own weight and becomes diluted by its own ambitions. The lack of new content is inexcusable and it will be interesting to see how well it holds up until the next expansion, House of Wolves.
On a fundamental level, The Dark Below fails to justify its expensive price point for anyone who isn't a hardcore Destiny fan. While the story missions are enjoyable and the Strikes are some of the best, there just isn't enough new content here to reinvigorate Bungie's project for more than a few hours at most.
The lure of a new Raid and higher level cap gives renewed purpose to Bungie's excellent social shooter. But by so thoughtlessly wiping away the hard work players put in with the previous end-game, we're now a little reluctant to do the same hard work again this time around. Hopefully, March's expansion will be approached more carefully to restore some confidence.
As a dedicated Destiny player, I have been happy with the new content included in The Dark Below, but find myself hoping for a bit more variation in future content. I can't imagine that anyone other than the hardcore fanbase will find value in this expansion.
An expansion that could have confirmed Destiny's greatness only leaves you feeling underwhelmed. If you want more Destiny, here's more Destiny, and it's still a lot of fun. There's more loot to collect, more weapons and armour to try out, and a handful of new strikes and activities to try with your Destiny friends. When we've played the new Raid there's a chance that it might all seem incredibly worthwhile. For now, however, the main reason to buy The Dark Below is that it gives you more reason to keep plugging away and a handful of new activities, not because it adds anything that new or substantial to the game.
The challenge in recommending The Dark Below at this price point to anyone other than a hardcore Destiny fan (who was likely never on the fence about the purchase, anyway) is that this DLC tries to please too many masters. If you don't care about the Crucible, that new content doesn't matter. If you don't have a Raid group, Crota's End is irrelevant. And what Destiny really needs—a satisfying narrative—is still entirely absent.
Destiny's first expansion is a fun but mostly uneventful assortment of "been there, done that" moments, which only hardcore fans should consider purchasing.
The Dark Below is all about adding more stuff to Destiny. If you've reached the endgame and you're still enjoying yourself, consider this essential.
Is it worth it? That's hard to say. For the ultimate Destiny experience, yes, you will need The Dark Below. You may find more of the same content, with some palette swapped enemies and similar bounties to what we traditionally had access to, but the new content allows Destiny to continue to surprise us. I put a ton of time into Destiny, and The Dark Below is just extending that clock even more for me, though I can see how it will bring on a ton of complaints from many players for at least some of its facets. The divide between those that love Destiny and those that hate it is growing with the release of The Dark Below, but I personally can't wait to see how these additions allow the game to continue to evolve and expand until the next expansion release.
While there were many valid complaints levied against Destiny after its release, the developers have taken many strides in bringing the game closer to the promised game. The Dark Below is one more step in that direction.
The problems Destiny has are not rectified by the DLC, but nor are they intensified.
As it was in the original release of Destiny, The Dark Below features timed exclusives that can only be found on PlayStation consoles (until Fall 2015). The Undying Mind strike takes players further into The Black Garden to face a timeless Vex Hydra. The strike is a tad on the lengthy side and features multiple spots where you face incoming waves of Vex. The final showdown against the Undying Mind (the third Hydra boss in the game) features three force fields. The 4th Horseman, an exotic shotgun, is the other PlayStation exclusive. This four barreled shotgun can quickly eat away at foes, if you are lucky enough to have it drop.
I understand the fierce criticism accompanying The Dark Below, but I don't think it merits such animosity. The new content offers more frequent loot drops and there are many options for buying higher-level loot. This expands access to high-level activities for both players who buy and those who don't buy the expansion. Making Destiny more accessible in this way is a welcome addition to a game built around its cooperative environment. This remains a game best enjoyed with friends, so the more people playing, the better.