Darksiders II Review

With the talk of Darksiders II being a launch title for Nintendo’s upcoming Wii U console, we decided to look and see how the game fared on the Xbox 360/PS3.

Vigil GamesDarksiders was released in 2010 to lukewarm reviews and accusations to the game simply being a Zelda clone. However what Darksiders did best was take inspiration from other games and blend them into each other to make a truly memorable title. Darksiders’ problem was that while it took elements from other games and made it it’s own, it didn’t necessarily do them all well, and as such the game was looked on as mediocre. How does Vigil’s second foray into the franchise hold up in comparison to the predecessor?

In Darksiders II, you play as War’s brother Death, who is looking for the reason why his brother has been falsely accused of bringing about the apocalypse. He roams around in the world of the supernatural, solving the various blockades that he faces that prevent him from getting his answer. As a result, the art of Darksiders II differs greatly to the original, which was set on Post-Apocalyptic Earth. We’re able to visit several hub worlds of the game and they differ massively. The art style has changed to a more traditional fantasy setting, a-la World of Warcraft, and the game hosts several stunning set pieces and moments that are sure to stick in the player’s mind for a long time.

The way the game is structured is like an open world Legend of Zelda title. As Death you’re able to explore several hub worlds and take on dungeons and sidequests at your own free will. Death is able to traverse dungeons fairly easily with the game’s free running, not dissimilar to the Prince of Persia titles, which is a massive compliment to the proficiency of the mechanic, although the controls for the free running and traversal of the dungeons initially takes some getting used to in comparison to the simplicity of Assassin’s Creed’s take on free running.

The main drive for exploration in Darksiders II is the quest for loot, something new that was not present in the original due to meeting the game’s deadlines. You’re able to find several types of primary and secondary weapons of varying worth and power that is denoted through the use of different colours, with the “best” being a possessed weapon which lets Death level up a weapon by feeding it other weapons of lesser strength. The loot is great and really gives you an eagerness to explore a dungeon fully in order to not miss out on any loot. However it’s not only weapons that can be picked up with loot, with different types of armour that boon different aspects of the damage you deal and take.

The combat works similarly to Devil May Cry in the way that you have a primary attack, which for Death is the Scythe, and a secondary which you can pick yourself from a variety of weapons of different styles. There is a third slot which can be used for a special item such as a gun or grappling arm which can be used to extend combos. The agility of Death in comparison to war is immense. Combat with Death is fluid, agile and on par with the likes of Bayonetta and Devil May Cry. The speed and fluidity of animations is incredible and is really a treat to play for even the most hardcore of action game fanatics.

Death is voiced by Michael Wincott of “The Crow” fame and plays the part perfectly. With hollow and malicious tones to his voice, Wincott provides a great emotional base for a character who has no facial expression whatsoever because he wears a mask, which makes the voice performance even more impressive.

When all of these elements come together, we’re able to see that the Darksiders team have achieved what they are looking for; a blend of great structures, systems and mechanics of other games all mashed into one package. Darksiders II is a massive improvement over the original and there is a wealth of content in the game that kept me busy for over 20 hours before beating it. After playing both the original and now the sequel, it would be fantastic to see this franchise improved and built upon for future sequels because what we have now is a game that feels very familiar but is also completely unique. I suggest that you give Darksiders II a try, it is certainly worth anyone’s time.

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