The Charred Council tricked War into a preemptive attack against Abaddon, now known as The Destroyer. Their plan worked and now both Heaven and Hell believe War to be the one responsible for all that has happened. Now it is up to his brother, Death, to clear War’s name.
Now show them why they need fear The Reaper.
Darksiders 2 builds upon the first game in many ways, making it feel similar but with just enough differences to keep things interesting. For example, Death moves and fights in a different manner than his brother War. Death relies on speed and mobility. This last focus of his plays into getting around and will see Death running along walls as well as swinging to traverse many of the game’s areas. Puzzle elements return, but they too have been altered, some of them requiring special abilities that Death will acquire through the course of the game. While War’s quest had him primarily upon Earth, Death will travel through different realms such as Forge Lands, home of the Makers, and The Realm of The Dead.
As mentioned before, the game plays quite a bit differently while still maintaining enough familiarity that fans of the first can pick up and play. Death wields dual scythes as his primary weapon and can equip various secondary weapons like hammers and gauntlets. However, unlike his brother, Death can equip different pieces of armor which all change his appearance as well as his stats. A good combination of weapons and armor will see Death victorious, so it’s a good idea to look over stats carefully. Death’s skill tree is split into two parts, one oriented toward offense and the other defense. Each offer a good number of abilities, but there are only so many Skill Points available, so unlocking them all is not possible.
While War saw a fair share of wall-climbing and the like, Death has the ability to wall-run, leap from wall to wall, and later the ability to swing over areas he could not normally traverse. A good deal of the game will be spent in this manner, and leads to a lot of really fun maneuvering. Many of the puzzles in the game will require the player to be aware of the area around them and how best to ulitilize and traverse it. This alone changes the gameplay significantly from the first game, adding a lot of freshness.
Visually the game is about the same as the last game. Those of you who are wanting the PC version due to enhanced graphical capabilities will be let down once more as the game is an almost direct console port. As a result, textures look rather pixelated on closer inspection, something that stands out a lot during cutscenes. While some might complain to no end about this, it didn’t detract from the game overall.
The audio side of things is amazingly well-crafted with each track exuding a different feel while maintaining an over all flow. This has to be some of the most stunning music I’ve heard in a game in a long time, and there were times where I would stop what I was doing to better enjoy the music.
While I would like to say this game was a complete and total improvement over the last, there were a few bugs here and there that held things back a bit for me, personally. First and foremost is the fact that platforming in a 3D environment leaves a lot to be desired. There were many times where I died due to Death not reacting in the way that was expected. Luckily, the majority of these deaths were due to falling, which seemingly does no harm at all, other than resetting your position back to the first solid piece of ground Death was on before falling. There is also the matter of difficulty as some areas were far too easy and others felt staggeringly hard. A true elevation of difficulty doesn’t seem to apply here, and at times I was caught completely off guard.
While being able to change Death’s armor around is cool, there is so much of it that keeping track of stats and abilities becomes a bit irksome. The game uses the atypical color coding to denote rarity of items, but there are many cases where that becomes misleading as some items will be stronger than others despite rarity or, in some cases, even level. Also, due to all of it being randomized, there is no way to end up with the same gear, aside from specific rewards.
Lastly, the game should take roughly 20+ hours for most people to complete, and that’s even including most of the side quests. There is a New Game+, but the game is far too linear to make that very enjoyable.
Overall, Darksiders 2 is a great follow-up to its predecessor. Fans of Zelda-like games who haven’t picked up the first game should definitely do that now. Fans of the first who have been hesitant about the sequel should go ahead and buy this. Darksiders 2 is definitely a stand-out title for me this year and it’s going to take a lot to top it.
GO Rating: 4/5