Darksiders was a pretty big game for me. I played it multiple times on different systems and really never got bored with it. It was a well made game with enjoyable lore, atmosphere and combat. As you can probably imagine, when Darksiders II was set for release, I was excited. Luckily, the game does not disappoint.
Darksiders II puts you in control of War’s brother, Death. The game takes place during the 100 years that War was imprisoned after the fall of man. Death has arrived to prove War’s innocence and bring him back to the living world. At least, what’s left of it.
Darksiders had a very “Zelda” feel to it. You would go into dungeons, acquire an item to help you defeat the boss of said dungeon and then leave with the new skill or gear. Darksiders II has the dungeon bit, but not the new item bit. Not exactly. Maybe I should say it has more than just one item. You see, Darksiders II features a loot system. Death will acquire new weapons and armor all with changing stats and added elemental bonuses. You can even level up in the game and spend points to build up Death’s abilities. It feels almost like a dungeon crawling game. You will still be going into large dungeons, solving environmental puzzles and taking on big bosses, but with more of an RPG feel.
The game is quest based rather than linear like the first game had. You will meet NPCs that will offer up main story missions along with a large number of optional side quests that can offer up better loot. Many of the side quests are standard RPG fair: collect 3 of a certain item, or kill this one guy for me. Still, some offer up unique dungeons that you may only find and enter when on that quest.
The world is massive. When you look at the map, you really don’t get a sense that the world is as big as it is. Only when you’re actually riding around on your horse, Despair, do you see just how large the environments really are. It also helps that the game looks really nice.
The great feeling combat from the first game makes a return in Darksiders II. Death can have a unique secondary weapon equipped next to his scythes. The list of weapons and armor is nearly unending. Each armament plays slightly different, and learning new attacks and combos from trainers will make the combat flow even better. When I say that Death is versatile in combat, I mean he can do almost anything when timed just right. He has an almost instant dodge mechanic to avoid hits, and his attacks always seem to impress both visually and mechanically.
Like War, Death can transform into a more brutal version of himself when the Reaper gauge is full. He can also use his learned abilities in combat if he has the Wrath for it. The skills are mapped to buttons and fall into two categories. One tree focuses on Death’s combat skills, while the other tree is dedicated to support by summoning allies in battle or buffing attributes.
Unlike War, Death moves more freely. There are many “Prince of Persia” platforming moments that require some fancy climbing and wall running to move on. Luckily, Death is an amazing acrobat that can perform moves with simple button presses. These platforming elements also figure into the puzzles at times.
One really great feature is the saving and fast travel mechanics in the game. You can quickly teleport to any location you have discovered. You can even fast travel out of dungeons and return to the spot from which you departed. That’s a huge deal, especially when you want to remember right where you left off. The saving works the same way. You can save at anytime and pick right back up in the same room.
The combat with bosses is as satisfying as the combat with regular enemies. There are some epic scaled foes in this game that both challenge the player and provide some major entertainment.
The story is what you would come to expect out of a Darksiders game, full of lore and memorable characters. The voice acting is top notch, and the presentation is superb. I can’t stress my love for the music enough. It gives off a very RPG feel with strings and almost somber tones. I really love the soundtrack.
Now, with its great accomplishments, there are some problems I had with the game. There are times where the camera would fight with me. This mostly happened during climbing and not really during fights. The camera will come in too close and I can’t see what I’m doing. I also encountered a few bugs here and there where a puzzle wouldn’t complete, or my guide, Dust, would steer me into a room where I could do nothing. This happens more times than I would have liked, but after a little thinking, I would always make it out. There are also certain parts where the dialog would be cut off due to a cut scene taking place. Small things like this occurred, but it isn’t a deal breaker.
The PC version of the game is pretty much identical to the console versions. The game offers up controller support, and with an Xbox 360 controller, the game plays just like the 360 version. The only difference is that you can’t rename possessed weapons.
Darksiders II is one massive game in scale, combat and story. If you played Darksiders, there’s no denying the fact that this game is a must own. Even with the problems I have, I must suggest it. Action fans will get their smooth combat, while RPG lovers will get all the loot whoring they could ever want, and with a completion time of over 20 hours, you have plenty to do while still having a great time.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.