If you follow me on Twitter, you might have noticed that I was rapidly making my way through Darksiders last week. The game has been on my shame list since just after it came out. I was severely admonished by my colleagues during a recent N4G Radio recording for having never played it, but I was determined to change that, especially since I knew I was coming out to see a preview of Darksiders II. So, approximately two hours before departing on my trip, I finished Darksiders, bringing fresh questions to my viewing of the first Darksiders II gameplay and an interview with David Adams, Vigil Games’ Studio General Manager.
After being led into a gothic room, adorned with skeletal visages, sarcophogi and creepy music, we got a chance to see the new Death Rises trailer and two different segments of the game showcasing Death’s combat prowess and the newest features. It’s not often that a successful game changes up its protagonist, and its even more uncommon for it to work well. Vigil Games, though, believes in the Darksiders story so much, that it seems only natural that the narrative lead to this change. The game begins during War’s 100-year imprisonment at the beginning of Darksiders and carries through part of War’s quest for revenge.
The game takes place in a variety of realms. “There’s more to the universe than Earth, Heaven and Hell,” David Adams told me, “We want to show what else is at work in the story.” Thankfully, he did assure me that some of the secondary characters from the first game will show up in the sequel.
The first thing you’ll notice about Death is that he’s smaller than War. Whereas War is a hulking brute, Death is a lithe and agile warrior. His movements are faster and he more easily transitions between his twin scythes, secondary weapons, firearms and magic spells. In the first game, I was impressed that the clumbing segments were less tedious than in other games. However, as quickly as War moved while traversing the environment, Death is just that much quicker. In one segment, Death had to quickly make a tricky climb while lava rose beneath him. With a combination of rapid mantling, wall running and using the Ghost Hand, which operates similar to War’s Abyssal Chain, you’ll be tackling a lot of tricky climbing segments that would give the Prince of Persia a run for his money.
In combat, it’s easiest to draw comparisons between Death and Devil May Cry’s Dante. The transitions between all of Death’s available attacks flowed so nicely that I was immediately reminded of the smooth combat of Capcom’s hit series. Death is in no way a ripoff, though. His personality is at the core of every movement he makes. Instead of only triggering his Reaper Form (like War’s Chaos Form) every so often, Death incorporates that power into his combat and non-combat actions.
“Death is the polar opposite of War,” Adams shared, “He’s more apt to flaunt his power than War was. War is a more reserved character.”
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