Darksiders 2 takes everything to love about the original, and makes it better. Its as simple as that. From better dungeon design, an improved loot system, to the fact that the game is over twice the size of Darksiders, there’s is a lot to love in this sequel to the 2010 hit.
Avoiding spoilers, for while the plot isn’t the most mind blowing affair, it is riddled with little twists and turns that make for a an enjoyable experience. You play as Death brother to the original games protagonist, War, running parallel to the first game, after War has been imprisoned by the Charred Council for causing the apocalypse and the annihilation of humanity. In order to save his brother, Death must find some way to resurrect humanity, which seeing as hes Death, is apparently a lot tougher than you’d think. That’s the basic premise, it twists from there as you move on, but for anyone who did not play the first game, I would strongly recommend heading over to the Wikipedia page and reading over the plot summary, as you may be rather confused from the outset as to what exactly is going on.
Sound in the game is top notch. The score, with is gentle flutey tones while exploring, moves to a more intense crescendo as you dodge and weave throughout combat, fits the mood and tone of the game. The voice work is also great, which sadly is still somewhat of a rarity in video games, Industry veterans Phil Lamarr( Futurama), and Keith Szarabajka( Mass Effect 2) are among the talented cast that helps bring this cast alive. If i could register one complaint, it would be the lack of Mark Hamil and his delightfully villainous voice coming back for round two; but I guess is understandable as he was killed in the first game.
Visually speaking the game is very pretty and the art design is very well done. From the frozen mountain-side you start off on at the beginning of the game, to the green meadows that have been filled with corruption of the forge lands; the game is nice to look at from an art perspective, however, graphically this game is not going to blow your mind, it is very gamey to look at, with an aspect that reminded me of this years Kingdoms of Amular:Reckoning. Death himself animates nicely, but looking closely you can see some rather low resolution textures and anti aliasing issues.
Throughout the game, not only will you be fighting whatever beasts are thrown your way, but you will also be spending time solving some light puzzles, exploring dungeons, and interacting with a host of NPCS. The Dungeons have a very Zelda-esque feeling to them. You’ll be looking for keys to open locked doors, flipping switches, pulling levers, killing monsters, but you’ll also be doing a lot of platforming, ala Prince of Persia. From running along walls, hanging off ledges, shimmying around jumping back and forth to reach some new location. While you are doing such activities you will find that Death moves very fast, almost too fast at times! You may find your self over-shooting your jumps, but after a little while you get used to the speed, and you begin to appreciate how nice it is to have such fast platforming. Each dungeon ends with a boss fight, which are all varied and work your ability to use what you’ve learned to defeat them.
Combat, just like platforming, is very fast. You`ll be using your main weapons, scythes, along with what ever secondary weapon you come across, which range from slow, heavy hitting weapons like hammers and great axes, to speedy light weapons like spiked fists. Most enemies, when defeated will be dropping gold and maybe some items for you to loot. Armor and weapons come in different levels of strength, you can always eyeball the quality of the item by seeing the glow colour around it, White is your basic item, green is enchanted, blue is rare, and purple is epic. You can choose to pick the item up and hold it in your inventory, or you and equip it right away by holding select, a feature that while seems trivial, really makes you wonder why not every other game like this does the same thing. Along with these normal items you can also find special `possessed` items, which you can upgrade by `feeding`it your other items, once its been fed enough it will level up and, along with giving you a flat damage increase, it will also add a secondary stat making the item much more useful to you.
Death is not static either, he levels up as time goes on and gains points that he is able to spend on talents, unlocking new abilities and upgrades as he gets more powerful. These talents are split into two trees, one focusing on straight combat upgrades, while the other focuses on a more varied route, summoning minions to fight for you, adding a temporary shield etc. The nice thing here is you are able to jump between trees, not being locked into one or the other, some abilities require points spent in others, where as some can be activated at anytime throughout your progression.
There’s a million other things I could say about this game, but there’s no better way to know than to play the game for yourself. If I were to summarize it into one word it would have to be FUN. I have not had such a good time playing a game like Darksiders 2 in a very long time, everything you do is joyful, the game never holds your hand, but its never going to get you lost or stuck. There’s always a way to beat said boss, or a way to reach that treasure chest you can see on your map; but seems just out of reach. Take my recommendation and pick this game up, you will not be disappointed.
(Note: This game was reviewed using a the PS3 version of the game, there may be minor discrepancies between versions)
Images Provided by Darksiders.com