Game Review: Darksiders II
Release: August 14th 2012
Genre: 3rd Person Action-Adventure
Developer: Vigil Games
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, WiiU, PC
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
In Darksiders, gamers found themselves in the role of War, one of the four horseman of the apocalypse. Riding to find the truth behind those that caused him to be chased and hunted for an act he did not commit, breaking the seals of the apocalypse forcing the eventual war between heaven and hell and the extinction of all humanity. In the end, War was close to finding the truth to clear his name but was imprisoned by those hunting him. Now in Darksiders II players take control of Death, who will travel to the depths of hell to bring humanity back from extinction to absolve his brother War of his crimes before it is too late…
As Death rides on his horse through open planes, looking for clues to free his brother, the universe crumbles apart. Corruption is spreading its blackness like a plague throughout the land, seeping into everything both good and evil. As a purely story driven game, players will traverse through many lands and dive deep into the numerous dungeons, fighting and solving puzzles to bring Death closer to his goal. Along the way, Death will encounter many different characters each with their own colorful personalities that help bring the story to life. The Character of Death is a noble and strong warrior driven by his dedication to his brotherhood. Death is voiced in a gruff English accent that helps bring a sense of intelligence to Deaths character that surprised me similar to the way Bain did in The Dark Knight Returns. (Except you can understand what Death says.)
Combat and equipment is handled much differently than in the previous game. Gamers will be checking their inventory screen often as enemies and chests scattered throughout the game drop loot items constantly that can be used to increase Deaths stats, trade in for gold, or be purged to upgrade other items. All armor and weapon items also reflected the way Death looks which adds to the excitement of looting and equipping new items. To add to the fun of finding a special item, Serpent totems are scattered throughout the game that will allow players to send and receive gifted items from friends who have the game as well.
The many dungeons throughout the game offer interesting puzzle elements both simple and difficult that use a mix of both brainpower and quick thumb skills to complete. As with the previous game players will encounter a nice variety of opponents as well as the occasional “BIG” boss. Everything a player would expect from a 3rd person adventure game can be found here, but as an added bonus in game NPC characters encountered throughout the game will offer different side quests that will have Death either looking for items or hunting down certain enemies which entice players with legendary items . If players want to test their combat skills an in game horde mode called the Crucible mode will have players using Death to fight through waves of enemies that result in rewarded items and leader boards in which to compare with friends.
I have to say this…Vigil games should write a book about gaming 101. As I played through Darksiders II I often felt a nice sense of newness and familiarity that kept my interest throughout the game. While nothing, in terms of gameplay, was vastly new I was amazed at the pacing and implementation of action, adventure, and the occasional unexpected gameplay element that kept this lengthy game fresh. It seemed to me like vigil games took and dipped their hands into their favorite gameplay elements across genera’s to create a game they wanted to play. From Prince of Persia to Diablo to Portal, (Yes, Portal!) I often found nods to the games the developers loved, and they worked well in the game without copying or insulting me. Graphically the game looks great as the art inspired and created by comic book artist Joe Madureira fits the tone perfectly, bringing to life spectacular characters and game environments that were both vast and different. The games musical score also needs to be addressed as It is a carousel of scores that manages to set the tone and emotional responce at the right times throughout the game. From high end action scores to a magical melody that envelops the player deeper into Darksiders world, the music in the game is spectacular.
If I have to complain about anything in Darksiders II it would have to be the occasional control issue when climbing or jumping. I died many time because Death decided to go straight up when I pushed left. It is something I noticed in all games of this game play type but yet after all this time one has to wonder why someone has not fixed this yet?
In a time when we are bombarded by shooter after shooter, I can honestly say Darksiders II is a breath of fresh air. Even though there is nothing revolutionary new in terms of gameplay elements, All of the pieces that bring Darksiders II to life from story, graphics, and gameplay fit in such a manner that gamers will be playing for a long time without regret to the time and money spent. You deserve to play this game, and to Vigil games I offer a slow clap on a job well done.
– Engrossing Story
-A great mix of old and new
-You will die a lot
-When you think you have seen it all…Here comes something new.
Final Score: 9 out of 10