Darksiders 2 preview

It’s been over a year since we got to play as the brutal apocalyptic horseman, War, in the original Darksiders, and Vigil Games are back with a new action game for us. We got a chance to preview it thanks to THQ, and there’s a lot to look forward to for fans of the brutal gameplay.

The story in Darksiders 2 takes place at the same time as the story in the original game, but instead of playing as War, you play as his equally awesome brother, Death.

The preview level starts with Death riding his absolutely badass looking horse called Despair (“Wherever Death goes, Despair isn’t far behind”) through the snow on his way to help his captured brother.

Fighting in the game uses a standard combo system in which different buttons and timings will result in various devastating and good looking combos designed to take out groups of enemies. Rolling to dodge is possible and will have to be utilized well if you don’t want to die, as when fighting a group of enemies you’re pretty much bound to be hit without it – and let’s face it, it looks cool too!

Darksiders 2 makes uses of a primary weapon (in the demo this was Death’s scythe) and a secondary weapon (a giant axe or hammer in the demo) just like the original game. These can be swapped for other weapons at any point in the game.

The team behind Darksiders 2 have added several improvements into the sequel, most notably, enemy loot drops that will see you finding various things on the floor after battles, from money to usable weapons and armour. Different armour can be picked up to increase your defence, but some items aren’t able to be equipped until you reach a certain level by gaining enough experience points after fighting.

A boss battle at the end of the level saw Death face off against an imitation of his brother War in an awesome apocalyptic horsemen battle. This sounds awesome on paper, but in truth it was an extremely easy and repetitive battle. The AI simply performed the same three, easily avoidable moves over and over again in a combo, before becoming exposed and receiving some of my own scythe-work. This was on the normal difficulty so it may get a little harder, but it still felt like more of a tutorial than an end of level boss.

Good looking QTEs in the middle of fights add a little something, but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t expect more from the boss fight – it was an early level though so I assume that bosses do get much harder later.

Most of the level consisted of running and climbing through caves and along walls. This was pretty cool at first, but also quickly became repetitive and boring. There just wasn’t enough action in my opinion, and considering that traversing the level didn’t involve puzzle solving either it just seemed pretty pointless and boring to have so few enemies to fight.

Darksiders 2 looks like a definite improvement over the previous game. There are more weapons and armour to use and customise your character with, and the level up system makes it feel like you’re working toward something all the time. I just can’t shake the feeling that I found myself bored more often than not when playing the preview build. As it was an early level on a medium difficulty it’s worth waiting to see what more Darksiders 2 has to show though.

Darksiders 2 will be released onto the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC on the 14th of August, and the Wii U at a later date.

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