Review: Darksiders 2

Review: Darksiders 2
3.0/5 Review Score:

Darksiders 2 is the latest creation from THQ and Vigil Games. The original was an enjoyable but flawed experience that borrowed heavily from other games. Can Darksiders improve over the original, or does the series take a step in the wrong direction?

Darksiders 2 begins almost immediately after the events of the original, however the original protagonist War has been replaced by his brother: Death. His goal is to absolve War of the sins he was wrongly accused of by restoring the balance and reviving Man. Death meets a plethora of characters both interesting and nefarious in his quest, and overall the story is well told and keeps you interested over the course of the 20-30 hours it will take to complete.

Gameplay in Darksiders 2, like the original, borrows heavily from other popular games. It is clear that Vigil has taken elements from Diablo, Legend of Zelda, Prince of Persia, God of War and even Left 4 Dead to create its core experience. The combination of these games is surprisingly refreshing, and certainly enjoyable. Platforming is full of acrobatics and fluid motions, combat is a string of fast combos with brutal kill moves, exploration is done over vast plains and through desolate wastelands on the back of your trusty steed whilst dungeoneering is full of puzzles and secret treasures.

Those who played the original, will soon discover that Death is a very different character to War, both in personality and in how he controls. War was a large, brutish avatar of rage and hate who wielded a gigantic blade to slay his many foes. Death on the other hand is much more nimble, able to perform daring feats of acrobatics, and often employing witt to overcome challenges rather than threats. It is a shame then, that playing as Death feels like playing as a glorified postman. Every character you meet wants you to collect something for them, whether it be three stones to reanimate an ancient warrior, three stones to reanimate a giant colossus, three bits of a stick to create a rod, three pieces of a key to open a door or three souls to bring back to a guy, who is part of a party of three which some other guy wants to kill…fetch quests galore! Fetch quests are not uncommon in games tend to be┬áside quests, all of the above are apart of the main questline and it gets very repetitive, very fast.

Luckily the underlying dungeoneering, puzzles and combat are good enough that you can overlook the cheap quest design. Or so you would think. Whilst it is entertaining this rule of three can be found nearly everywhere. A boss requires to be beaten mercilessly three times until it dies, puzzles must be completed at least three times to be considered complete, most enemy attacks come in waves of three which get progressively harder etc.

Darksiders 2 is set in a vast universe spanning multiple planes of existance. You will find your self delving into depths of hell, scaling the highest towers in heaven, slaying mighty beasts in the Forge Lands, defeating foes you killed in the land of the dead etc. Whilst the quest and gameplay is somewhat repetitive, the locations are certainly not. And with each location filled with sidequests, many of which more interesting than the main quest, you can spend  literally spend tens of hours exploring the world and then you have the arena mode known as The Crucible to test your combat prowess to the max.

Graphically Darksiders 2 is a mixed bag. It has the same strong style of the original, but also improves upon it by giving it a more next gen look as opposed to the old washed out World of Warcraft thing it had going on. Unfortunately even with the facelift, the game doesn’t quite look up to the standards of other games in the same genre, for example God of War 3. The soundtrack however is quite good, if somewhat limited. Many tracks are repeated, and some of them dont quite fit the atmosphere the visuals are portraying. Voice work is also a bit hit and miss, with some characters just not sounding particularly interested, whilst others, such as Death, pull out a fantastic performance.

Overall, Darksiders 2 is an enjoyable game that will take quite a while to complete fully, but the infuriating level of repetition found throughout the core experience mars what could have been one of the great games of 2012.

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