Destiny‘s April Update is here (and should be here by the time you read this), bringing new loot to earn, enemies to face and weapons to use. Yeah, those are good reasons to keep playing, right? Unfortunately, with each subsequent reveal over the past few weeks, Bungie has provided ample reason to skip the April Update, even if you’re a longtime fan of the series.
The April Update ensures one thing – your favourite weapons are becoming even weaker than before. Bonus damage with The Last Word while hip firing? Gone. High caliber rounds to stagger fools with MIDA Multi-Tool? Gone. Maybe you liked carrying enough Special Ammo to successfully complete phases of the King’s Fall raid (which pretty much makes sniper rifles mandatory). Gone, gone, gone. SUROS Regime will probably be better but that just puts us right back at the beginning before this whole nerfing frenzy. Even Thorn wasn’t as underpowered then as it is now. The worst part is that Bungie’s desire to balance in PvP is adversely affecting PvE.
That makes it hard to really work towards any of the new gear and Exotics, especially when they’ll probably just going to be nerfed in the future anyway. Then again…
What New Gear?
Bungie is often accused of recycling old gear and equipment on a fairly regular basis. That’s because it does precisely that, all the time, in Destiny. If you played close attention between expansions, you would see vendors recycling old Dark Below gear as new in House of Wolves. In The Taken King, each faction’s new “gear” was essentially a retread of gear from the past. Though the April Update will sport two new gear sets with Spektar and Desolate…welllll, the latter is pretty much Prison of Elders gear with a new Taken paint of coat.
As for the weapons and gear, it’s practically nothing you haven’t seen before. Bungie did put new perks on weapons like Shadow Price and The Devil You Know, so forget about them being as glorious as they once were. The kicker is these Year One weapons were left behind when The Taken King came out – not to mention going out of circulation with vendors, making it impossible for players to buy them – and now Bungie is just giving them back to players? Did we mention there are very few weapons or gear that’s actually new? Have fun with Lord of Wolves for another four months. There is the Zen Meteor but surprise, exclusive to PS3 and PS4.
Prison of Elders
Remember Prison of Elders? The one piece of content that literally no one was asking to be brought into Year Two? So that’s coming back but Bungie has taken to “revamping” it with “new” Taken enemies and a score system to grade your performance. Aside from the fact that the levels themselves have seen next to no changes, the bosses are nothing spectacular either. You can now fight a large Taken Knight as opposed to a large Hive Knight. Sick.
But that’s not even the biggest issue with Prison of Elders. The problem is the mode itself and how it’s a poor excuse for Firefight. There is no true randomness…except for what Bungie allows on a week to week basis (and as its recent track record shows, it’s nothing you haven’t done in Year One). Prison of Elders could be a good excuse for fun now that getting gear is easier – the Challenge of the Elders has guaranteed rewards after all – but there’s still no matchmaking for random players. On top of that, you’re still fighting through the same waves of repetitive enemies.
Is There Anything New?
Destiny is an interesting game in that it can do so much with so little. And no, that’s not a clever barb at the game’s lack of content – it’s amazing how some of its changes manage to mix things up significantly for the player base. Adjust a weapon here and nerf a weapon there and suddenly you have a new meta. The new revive and overshield rules will make a pretty significant impact on Trials of Osiris, for instance.
But in terms of actual content, what’s new? A new Strike has been added, one that seemingly takes place in the Shrine of Oryx (an age-old location at this point). There’s one new baddie to fight. Maybe there are a few new missions which will take you to other older locations before the confrontation with the big bad. Then there’s Winter’s Run, reimagined in Taken form. Awesome. For as much as we hate on the recycled gear and the “meh” Chroma, at least there’s a lot to collect. In terms of content, especially for PvE, there isn’t a whole to get you interested in. And even if there was…
Where’s the Story?
Malok is your brand new threat for the April Update, attempting to usurp Oryx’s kingdom. Let’s leave aside the fact that the Taken are still alive since Oryx is the only one who possesses that power or that something else can control them. Our attempt to stop Malok will be concluded in one Strike. Remember that epic quest to defeat Oryx? Now reduce that by about…90 percent. Don’t expect any story in the Prison either.
And that’s one of the greater failings with Destiny. When you see its worlds and experience its gunplay, you think back to the game that was hyped up in 2013. A world where limitless stories could take place. The only thing really limitless now is the extent to which Bungie and Activision will exploit the game for that sweet micro-transaction cash. It’s a shame that with all these months to work on such a large update, we couldn’t have had a large story quest to complete (and no, Petra’s PlayStation-exclusive nonsense doesn’t count).