A small team at Bungie developed Rise of Iron in just nine months, so it shouldn’t be a surprise to hear that the main campaign is very short. What’s more of a surprise is that the final mission is one of Destiny’s best to date.
Rise of Iron, like The Taken King before it, has a very specific structure: First you go through a set of story missions that introduce you to the DLC’s new concepts and areas (including a new social hub and patrol zone), and then you can go do a bunch of different quests to collect loot, unlock strikes, and get your character up to light level 360 so you’ll be ready for the raid on Friday. I’ve finished the main story campaign and started poking around the new quests, many of which require you to do patrol missions in Rise of Iron’s new area, the Plaguelands.
We’ll have lots of Rise of Iron coverage right here on Destiny fan-site Kotaku.com over the next few days and weeks, of course. For now: It’s good! The story campaign is short—it took me around two hours to finish—but it’s very entertaining. The premise is that the malicious Fallen have uncovered a virus-slash-mechanical plague called SIVA, which they’ve used to infect the Cosmodrome and themselves, leading to... very bad things. Regenerating bosses, disease-invested terrain, superpowered enemies—you know how it is.
The campaign does a nice job wrapping up one of the SIVA arcs, and it ends with a mission as good as anything else in Destiny. I won’t spoil the details, but it involves an epic fortress, lots of explosions, and a flaming axe. Killer music, too. There are some incredible visual effects, likely aided by Bungie’s choice to ditch last-gen consoles for Rise of Iron. There are also a couple of nice disturbing moments.
If you’re picking up Rise of Iron expecting some sort of giant campaign, rethink your decision. This is a stopgap—a small batch of content that will hopefully keep hardcore Destiny fans occupied for the next month or two as we solve the raid and max out our light levels to 385, then 400. But I’m enjoying it quite a bit so far, and Destiny remains as satisfying a shooter as it’s ever been.
Also there are wolves and they yawn.