Brought to you from THQ and Vigil Games we have Darksiders 2, an Action RPG. We follow the path of Death throughout his journey to prove that his brother War is being falsely accused. If you played the first Darksiders you will have a lot more insight into the story of War and how he went about trying to restore his name. Death on the other hand doesn’t have the same plan as war. Death’s plan is different… Very different. Along the way Death will meet some familiar characters for those who have played Darksiders before and some new faces as well not all of them being friendly.
Without further hype let’s get to why Darksiders 2 deserves the score it got.
As an Action RPG you would be right to expect hacking and slashing and while you of course will go throughout the game with your dual scythes in hand you by all means are not limited to just those scythes as your main or only methods of killing. In Darksiders 2 THQ and Vigil Games took a step to making this not as boring as using the same weapon for 100% of the game with different stats. You now have the choice of a secondary weapon. There are quite a few to choose from as well be it a two-handed mace or a pair of claws it is your choice on the speed of your weapon. Not only is that your choice you the skill trees. Harbinger and Necromancer, harbinger focuses on melee abilities and ones that enhance your damage where as Necromancer focuses on defensive, support and magical abilities. Each tree has a few abilities thrown in with “talents” to improve upon those abilities. Your abilities can save your life as it did mine many times so don’t be afraid to use them when you need to but remember you never know what’s lurking around the corner so don’t use all of your Wrath.
One key component to Darksiders 2 is the puzzles within the game. If you like puzzles in your ARPG then this might just be your favorite game. From the beginning of the game you start out with no real equipment that helps you traverse some of the more complicated puzzles even though they are there in the early areas you just can’t access them yet so you will have to come back later to get that extra loot. Further in the game you get access to an ability that acts like a grappling hook, another that turns death to stone then splits you in two and most importantly… one that lets you make portals. Yes it gives you an achievement that is a nod to Portal when you get it even how great is that! Once you unlock those tools you will be able to traverse even the most dangerous of puzzles with the right amount of skill. Still don’t expect all the puzzles to be easy sometimes they throw new mechanics in without even telling you leaving you to fend completely for yourself. All I will say is I believe that I died over 100 times through the game and maybe 3-5 we’re from monsters. I only played on normal difficulty so that might have something to do with it.
When it comes to armor and weapons it might just be the most controversial way of giving loot that they used. There are a few unique items gotten from hidden chests, side quests or bosses, however a majority of the loot is 100% randomly generated. You will find 6 different quality’s of items all with varying stats from fire damage to reaper energy on crit to even special abilities on unique items. Even the lowest quality items aren’t useless though you can of course sell them… but there’s another option feed them to an even better item. If lucky Death can obtain Possessed weapons they can come in any type of weapon in the game. Any item can be fed to the Possessed weapons to improve upon it but only by so much so they won’t last you forever. Not only does feeding your Possessed weapon improve it but it also has a chance to inherit stats from the items you feed it. Every time your Possessed weapon levels up (up to a max of 5 times I believe) you get the choice on how to customize your weapon. If you fed it all items with frost damage there’s a very good chance that you will have a option to add frost damage to it. Through the game I found that even though the loot is indeed random you generally will always get the gear that you need to get past a boss or an area. They also added an interesting feature that I don’t believe any other game really has done to my knowledge… at least a game like Darksiders 2 that is. There is a mail system where you can mail your loot to your friends or your friends can mail loot to you.
As far on the story of Darksiders 2 I will say Death has an interesting story. One like you would expect where as someone as cold as Death while trying to save his brother War he doesn’t care who has to die to do it nor will he let ANYONE get in his way. If it doesn’t help death get at least one step closer to saving his brother he wont think twice about cutting through you. Though don’t expect it to be as one sided as that.
To anyone worrying about how linear the game might be fret not. Once you get past the beginning mostly a tutorial area to show you the fighting and jumping mechanics so you get a hold of the game as well as tell a bit of story you are pretty much left alone to do any side quests that are in areas you have opened and available to you. Never once was I told that I was not allowed to go back to any area for any reason.
Overall the gameplay is very smooth and generally the controls listen to what you want it to do. The story is very engaging but progresses at whatever rate you want it to. You have the time to do side-quests or to do something more fun like The Crucible when you want. I mean who doesn’t want to be stuck in a arena against monsters and sometimes bosses for 100 rounds of gladiatorial combat and by that I mean the kind where the king really wants the gladiator dead. You have three choices in there… win 5 more rounds or and take your loot then leave, Die or, get to round 100 and beat the final round and become the champion of The Crucible!
Graphics in Darksiders 2 isn’t the top of the line with each hair strand waving in the breeze and that’s really not what they wanted to go for at all. Instead it is very similar to the first Darksiders the textures are not stunning but definitely not ugly by any means and always look like they belong like everything else in the game. While the graphics may not be the best where it can shine is in the animations between different animations per weapon you use to just the smoothness of them. Some of the most gratifying ones being executions on bigger monsters where Death turns into his reaper form and it generally has something to do along the lines of a giant bone scythe rending an enemy in half… or worse. Each main “hub” area has a theme that generally flows through the dungeons inside but they are different from the others in the same area providing you with a change of scenery. There are green fields to frozen tundras to endless bone yards and then some. There are some great cut-scenes thrown in as well.
While I finished maybe only half of the side-quests doubtfully ¼ of the collectibles and of course the game that itself took around 25 hours. To the hardcore completionists I expect it would take a lot longer especially if not using a guide. As for replay value I have to add in The Crucible a 100 round arena that I would expect to take around 2 hours to complete it all… then of course you can continue to do it for more and more loot! There is also 3 confirmed DLC already starting with Argul’s Tomb about one month after release and 2 more after for hose who have pre-ordered and get the Darksiders 2 Season Pass will get it for free, others will have to pay $19.99 USD. The DLC is said to include “Significant new single player content” lets hope they tell the truth because this game is awesome and the more of it the better!
The true “replay” value however would be in that once you finish the game you unlock two things. New game + and Nightmare mode. New game + is just as you expect starting with your loot and abilities. Nightmare mode though is a whole new beast. For those daring enough to attempt it not only includes harder monsters and challenges but improved loot. So for those wanting to fully experience what Darksiders 2 has to offer you need to take up the Nightmare mode challenge!
Death’s journey in Darksiders 2 is absolutely amazing. Taking you though multiple worlds, from The White City of angels to The Black Stone of demons. Fighting various bosses and monsters all with unique mechanics. To anyone who likes Action RPG’s or Puzzle platformers Darksiders 2 is a must buy for you. To anyone else even remotely interested I would give it a shot. Likely one of the best game’s I’ve played this year.