“Destiny: House of Wolves” Howls at the Moon

Bungie’s blockbuster gets an expansion that’ll change the way you play.

Sci-fi shooter Destiny’s second expansion—called “House of Wolves“—has devotees foaming at the mouth—just like actual wolves. There are new guns, new armor, higher level cap and, most importantly, brand new ways to compete in Destiny’s ongoing intergalactic crusade.

The first expansion frustrated dedicated players by rendering favorite weapons obsolete and hard-earned armors worthless, but that’s not the case with “House of Wolves.” Old weapons and armor are new again, breathing life into guns that have been gathering dust. You’ll need them. The level cap gets a raise to 34 and anyone who’s already maxed out at the existing level 32 cap knows of the struggle that lies ahead.

We’ve made our peace with Destiny’s inexplicable narrative shortcomings—this is not a game you play for the plot.

Fear not: that struggle to the upper echelon still includes favorite activities like “murking” your way through Crucible deathmatches, running the diabolically designed six-man Raids and carefully dismantling the do-or-die Nightfall strikes but “House of Wolves” adds two new game modes and a spattering of new levels to the sprawling open world. Prison of Elders is a new horde mode where three-man teams brave waves of brutal enemies for big loot payoffs.

The elimination deathmatches of Trials of Osiris is a new PvP mode where you’ll work as a team but be judged individually by stringing together wins for better bonuses. A new strike option, called the Shadow Thief, also gets thrown into the rotation, giving a small but much needed boost to the variety (or lack thereof) of weekly challenges. There are also five new story missions included in the House of Wolves but those were one-and-dones since Destiny is infamously flimsy when it comes to a story and there’s little payoff for doing them.

We’ve made our peace with Destiny’s inexplicable narrative shortcomings; this is not a game you play for the plot. It is a game you play to test your mettle, your patience and your strategy, to see how well you work within a group, to boost and upgrade the guardian you’ve built and the House of Wolves expansion is bursting with opportunities to do all of the above. Our Gjallarhorns are itching for the challenge.