A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Destiny: House of Wolves is an expansion pack for Destiny, a sci-fi first-person shooter. As with the game it builds on, it's not as violent as many modern first-person shooters. Most enemies are aliens or robots (though players do go up against human avatars in online competitive play). Foes simply yell and disappear when defeated, only occasionally leaving bits of black, blood-like liquid behind. That said, play is built almost entirely around constant, intense, fast-paced firefights. There's little for players to do besides combat. Not much narrative time is given to the morality of the conflict; it's pretty much just assumed players are on the right side of the war. Parents also should note that this game supports open voice chat, which means players may be subjected to inappropriate language and subjects of discussion.
What's it about?
DESTINY: HOUSE OF WOLVES is the second expansion for Destiny, a sci-fi first-person shooter set in a far future where Earth and much of the solar system is under attack by strange alien forces. The expansion's mini-campaign revolves around the Queen of the Awoken, ruler of the Reef, which is the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. She summons the guardians to a new social hub located in the Reef called the Vestian Outpost and asks them to help her stem an attack being led by a captain within the Fallen, an alien race of mercenaries plaguing the solar system. In addition to the new story missions are four new multiplayer maps, a new competitive mode called Trials of Osiris that pits two small teams against each other, a wave-based co-op mode called Prison of Elders, and a new cooperative strike mission dubbed the Shadow Thief. Players also can expect new armor and weapons (including an entirely new class of weapons called "sidearms"), along with changes to the game's complex, currency- and materials-based leveling system. Note that the base game is required to play and that much of the expansion's content requires a high-level character.
Is it any good?
Destiny's first expansion was a bit of a disappointment, seemingly designed to facilitate a nearly endless slog to earn precious materials required to level up your hero's gear and Light attribute level. In contrast, this expansion makes it a little easier to get what you want by subtly revamping the currency and gear upgrade systems. Players now have a much clearer picture of how to get the items they need to upgrade their stuff; they're no longer forced to simply wait until they stumble across them while playing. It speeds up and gives players much more control over their character's progression.
The fresh missions and modes, meanwhile, take players through a mix of new and repurposed environments. New multiplayer maps -- including one set in a decrepit gothic European town on Earth -- provide some much-needed variety in the competitive arena, while Prison of Elders offers a new way for teams of players to cooperate. Plus, the new additions to collectible armor and weapons -- such as a quickly earned pistol called the Vestian Dynasty that's super speedy and surprisingly powerful -- should give returning fans plenty of reason to dive back in for a few weeks. It feels perhaps a little low on truly original content (a new planet or moon to explore would have been nice), but Destiny: House of Wolves is a step in the right direction for Bungie's blockbuster shooter.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. Is there a significant difference between a sci-fi action game with aliens and robots set in space and one where players battle humans in familiar, earthly locations? Explain.
Discuss the importance of having the ability to customize avatars. Do you prefer to play characters that physically approximate who you are? Does it bother you if a hero's gender or skin color doesn't match yours?
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
- Price: $19.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Activision
- Release date: May 19, 2015
- Genre: First Person Shooter
- Topics: Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Robots, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: T for Animated Blood, Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.