Developer(s): Vigil Games
Platform(s): Playstation3, Xbox 360, Wii U, Windows, Cloud (OnLive)
Genre(s): Action, Hack and Slash
Release: August 14, 2012 (PS3, Xbox 360, Windows), Late 2012 (Wii U)
You have not seen the story of the Apocalypse or the Four Horsemen told like this before! Darksiders gave us a vision of the End of Days in a way we could only imagine. The sequel delves further into the game mythos. Darksiders II follows the story of the most feared of the Four Horsemen, Death. The sequel coincides with the storyline of first game but follows what occurred in War’s story. The Charred Council has detained War for bringing about the Apocalypse and wiping out humanity to which War proclaims his innocence. Death, knowing War to be the most noble amongst them, rides to clear his brother’s name and, in turn, restore humanity.
The Pale Rider starts off already on his horse Despair with Scythe in hand as he rides hard into battle. You are thrown to the wolves in this opening tutorial to get you familiarized with Death’s combat mechanics. Let me tell you, the way that Death fights he might as well be called the “Pale Ninja”. The Reaper is far more agile and swifter than his brother War. He comes equipped with two small Scythes that he uses to dispatch enemies with ease. War was more of heavy hitter, exhibiting power rather than speed. Death is a contrast with his speed and agility. However, what really sets him apart from War is how customizable he is. Where War had only a few items and weapons, Death can use a variety of secondary weapons, such as an axe or hammer to deal massive damage, and items, like armor to increase his defense. The enemies you battle drop these materials upon their defeat. Customization in Darksiders II takes a page from RPGs. Outfitting Death with different weapons and armor changes his stats, giving you the freedom to make him into the awesome Harvester of Souls he is known as. Some materials will actually change Death’s appearance.
The world of Darksiders II is far more expansive that in the previous title with bigger environments allowing players more exploration. Since Death has his noble steed Despair with him right from the gate, traversing this open plane is more appreciating than in the first game where this could not be full explored since War is reunited with his horse Ruin late in the game. Graphically, the sequel is just as impressive as its predecessor if not more so. Bigger environment means greater attention to detail and very little was spared here. There are more puzzles and dungeons to solve than before that allow Death to continue his journey so long as he solves them properly, think of an RPG crossed with God of War. The element of side-quests also exists which play on the expression “scratch my back and I scratch yours”. Some NPCs will give Death a special gift or upgrade only if he completes their task whether he likes it or not. Some of these gifts are useful and some are not but all-in-all, the job has to get done.
PRO: Darksiders II takes several pages from other titles. Let’s start with customizing. I’m immediately reminded of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night when I saw the customize screen and how different items change different stats. Even the layout closely resembles SotN. Death can also use items to change his stats. Their effect varies upon the item used and the same goes for Death’s weapons and armor. Like Alucard did with swords, Death uses a variety of Scythes each with their own attributes. As awesome a game as the first Darksiders was, War felt limited in this aspect. He should’ve had a much larger arsenal than what was given to him. Another problem that was corrected was dodging. Death moves like the wind when avoiding enemy attacks AND he can do it mid-strike even with a heavy item. Thank Dante or Kratos for this one. War was pretty quick on his feet too, but his heavy strikes left him open for counters. Another detail in the combat mechanics is the seamless transition between primary and secondary weapons while fighting. Starting a combo with either one and finishing it with the other will lead to variety of attacks including Death combining his two Scythes into one and sending it whirling about, punishing his enemies with multiple strikes.
CON: There aren’t too many complaints about Darksiders II except sometimes the background graphics tend to lag when focusing especially in the forest area. The controls are still a bit lacking when riding on horseback and do not feel as tight as they should be.
OVERALL: Darksiders II is a fast-paced hack and slash, beat ‘em up that falls well into the genre along with games such Ninja Gaiden, God of War and Asura’s Wrath. Death is an amazing character with crazy combat skills, a wicked cool Reaper Form and a mean looking ride. There is so much going on in this game between the puzzle solving and open world exploration that, rest assured, you won’t be bored to…well, you know.
Darksiders II gets 4 scythe slashes out of 5.
See you on the next level!
Tell me if Death’s fighting skill aren’t crazier than Dante’s.
Death comes for all video.