A war between Heaven and Hell wages on as the Horseman, War, stands trial for bringing upon the apocalypse. Can his brother clear his name of such crime?
The Story Thus Far
A saying you will soon be familiar with when loading up you’re last save file. A nice touch that recaps what’s going on in your game before continuing on your journey. Speaking of which, this tale is of one the Four Horseman, Death, as he seeks to clear his brother’s name and resurrect humanity. He is accompanied by his trusty crow, Dust, who helps guide his way. The story takes place while War is imprisoned by the Charred Council and stands trial for bringing upon the Apocalypse. Death takes it upon himself to seek out answers from the Crowfather, the Keeper of Secrets, which then takes him on a journey to seek the Tree of Life. During his journey Death is confronted by demons of his past which aim to corrupt everything around him. That’s the main plot but it feels like Death is being given the run around the entire game. Death must find Tree of Life but before doing that he must free this soul but before doing that he must help it find 3 items. After doing all that you find out the tree was only the path to other dimensions where you have to find other things that all have you going to find more things. However it’s still an enjoyable experience.
Graphics, Presentation and Sound
Like the first game the graphics have a really nice stylized look to give the game a comic like feel. The colors are vibrant and each dimension is accompanied with its own tonal feel. Everything in Darksiders II feels bigger then the first from the landscapes to the giant bosses. The characters in the game are all designed fantastically with strong silhouettes. If you picked up a copy of the collectors edition it comes with nice art book.
There were a few problems I encountered with invisible walls and areas I could not get to simply because there were no designated climbing areas. Death can run and jump from wall to wall and climb like Prince of Persia but he can’t seem to get over a stone banister. There are specific visual cues to let you know what Death can climb and traverse through which seems to be taking a little backwards from the first game. The voice work is nice even for Death who is a faceless character that seems to be one note. His voice work done by Michael Wincott reminds me Jeremy Irons’ Scar for the Lion King. The other voice cast fits nicely within the Darksiders realm. The soundtrack is wonderful and really sets the tone of battle or urgency of the situation.
The gameplay is a big mix between God of War, Legend of Zelda, Diablo, Portal and Prince of Persia with some RPG elements. Unlike his brother War, Death is not a damage sponge and if you don’t learn to dodge you’ll find yourself in a lot of trouble fast. Another thing is Death can’t block so you must dodge attacks. Strangely enough both War and Death each find a gun belonging to their brother Strife. War is given Mercy in the first game and Death is given Redemption. Speculated that Strife left them in his last visit. In the first game when an enemy was near death an icon would appear above it’s head to signal a finishing move this time it’s up to chance for it to happen as weapons hold different abilities.
Darksiders II followed Diablo in it’s random loot system from enemy drops. The drops scale to your level and the difficulty you set it too. Death always fights with scythes as his primary weapon but the choice of his secondary is up to your kind of play style. There’s lots variations of slow heavy hitters and fast light weapons for you to choose from that have different specials. What’s really nice is when you find the rare possessed weapons which upgrade by feeding it your other weapons or armor. You can also choose the attributes you want to add to your possessed weapon from what you sacrifice. The combo system goes from using just your scythes with subtle delays in button presses to changing between weapons. Certain combos end with Death transforming into his ultimate form for the final blow. Death’s ultimate form can be used by building reaper energy which you might want to save to use on bosses. There are some points at the end of big boss battles that felt like there could have been some quick time events but they’ve only did maybe 2 in the whole game.
Puzzles are a big part of the Darksiders franchise once again the game does not hold your hand when it comes solving these puzzles. When you come across a new ability such as a grapple or a portal gun, you’ll be shown what can be done with it once and then you’re left to your devices. Also there’s many areas early in the game you’ll have to go back and revisit as you may have not been able to reach them before. Most of the puzzles are pretty good but some will really have you scratching your head. It’s a good challenge and you really feel like you accomplished something when solving it. A nice thing they added is that at the end of the game my character will be different from how you set up your character from armor and weapons to magic and buffs. There are two specific skill trees which are Harbinger and Necromancer. You can mix and match or go purely one side. It’s all up to you. And if you feel like you didn’t like your choices you can go to Vulgrim and for a small price 1,000 gold you can completely respec your points.
- Outstanding character design
- Battles are fun
- Loot system and upgradable weapons
- Big Bosses
- Puzzles give a nice challenge
- Great soundtrack with nice voice acting
- Invisible walls and designated climbing areas
- Weak story progression
- Death is easily persuaded
- Lots of back tracking
The Old Guy in Me Says
If you played the first Darksiders and liked it I highly suggest you continue and play Death’s side of the story. They changed it enough so Death does not play like War and added some new things like the loot system to keep you hunting for rare items. The gameplay is a lot fun and rewarding when you get past some of it’s harder puzzles. The story progressing isn’t as strong in this game as it is in the first but it won’t take much away from the experience.