Review: Darksiders II

The Story

The story picks up obviously after the end of Darksiders. War is accused of jumping the gun on wiping out humanity, but it was really a huge plot cooked up by whole slew of twisted beings. Death, War's older brother, knows that this isn't right and figures that if he can bring humanity back from the dead then it will be like War's crime was never committed and they can all go back to waiting for the real apocalypse to start. Thus starts Death's journey into many different "worlds", slaying all kinds of creatures all in the hopes of gaining a precious balance in the universe again. Can he do it?


I have to start out by saying that there was extremely little I truly hated about Darksiders II. There were minor annoyances, but nothing I truly hated sans one thing, the Angel Guns. To try and not spoil story here, in Darksiders you were able to pick up the weapons dropped by Angels, at least the guns. In Darksiders II there is a point in the game where this happens as well. The issue I had is that it more or less seemed forced that you had to do this. Believe me I tried without and it was worlds harder. Why would I do that? That is because the guns just didn't fit or even feel like they functioned correctly for the game. That's not even mentioning that there were too many options which led to being able to focus aim being replaced with a different attack. It was a small section of the game thankfully, but it was a section that I didn't want to play again.

One last thing, since there is so little here, it also felt like there was too much to collect in the game. Yes it is all optional, but for the achievement/trophy hunters and completionists, it just seems like it was a lot just for the sake of it. Much akin to the 700 comics in The Amazing Spider Man and orbs in [Prototype]. It is a bit of a nitpick, but it bugs me the game's NPCs force an effective god of a character to pick up their loose change they lost around the world just for an item. Personally I'd rather just take it from their cold hands than search out for the billions of items they lost.


Ok, so let's start off with the story. Yes the above may not sound all that interesting, it was a very short and spoiler free version of it after all, but it is actually a whole lot better than I put it. It felt very well thought out and also answered quite a few things about the game's universe as well as leaving a few things still open for later. I was so enthralled that I found it quiet difficult to put the game down to take care of even the most basic of personal needs, like getting sustenance. It was rich and full and I can't wait to get more of it. Not to mention that they didn't really end it with the cliffhanger they did in Darksiders.

Next up is the loot system. This is something I thought I was going to despise when I first heard about it. Even in past articles where I got to view it a bit more hands on, I still wasn't 100% sure I would enjoy it, but this is an addition that really should have been in Darksiders from the start of the franchise. Each item in the game, from basic to legendary to possessed, was so very well thought out that it lost most of the micromanagement I usually find when it comes to "loot" in games. On top of that it was like its own little game within the game to trick out Death as well as power up the possessed weapons in unique ways. Other game developers should take note here.

So now that we have to loot, we move into the use of said loot and the combat system. It is like a night and day comparison between the two titles. Not that Darksiders needed a combat overhaul, but the character did. Here was another thing I was weary on since I enjoyed War's combat in the first title and only got to play with some of the basic moves during demos. Lightning has struck twice here. It was fluid, easy to control and was by no means as simple as spamming a single combo to be able to complete the game. I'm not saying that couldn't be done, but there is something that compels to keep mixing things up just for the sake of doing so. Just like the Tarot card's meaning, Death should equal change.

Lastly, for the sake of your eyes, the platforming. While it did have its faults at times, I still enjoyed very much. It is very reminiscent to that of the Prince of Persia franchise just with better animations and ease of control. It was almost like Death's combat style only this time it was against the environment and structures. The thing I loved the most about it, even if it might not have been intentional by design, is the fact that it was possible to make your own paths in some instances rather than used the defined. On a few occasions I found myself running off a wall, using death grip, spinning around to use it again and landing next to a hidden treasure all just to find the defined path just off to the side and hidden. Yes it would have been easier to take, but it was much more rewarding to do it my way.


So you've made it this far or just skipped to the end. The big question, is it worth your money? I'd have to say a big old fat yes here. Not only does it have a whole lot of shining features that an Action RPG(ish) game should have, in a world were games can generally be beaten in under a few hours, you'll be getting all the above greatness and more for at least 25. That is mainly the core game too and not all the extras you can go and do. That alone should be worth the price.

Even if you haven't played the first, and shame on you, Darksiders II is completely worth the time and money. If you haven't already go pick it up. For me it has been the best game I have played so far this year and looking at what is coming out, I'd reckon it is going to be the best for the year. Unless you hate yourself, you will not be let down.

Darksiders II was developed by Vigil Games and published by THQ on August 14th 2012 for the PS3, XBox 360 and PC. A PS3 copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. I played through the core game on Apocalyptic.