Review | Darksiders 2
After being a surprise hit a few years ago, Darksiders 2 looks to continue the story of the Four Horsemen, this time following Death.
However, what may be more important for THQ is that Darksiders 2 could make or break the company. Death really couldn’t be a more fitting character for this game.
THQ shouldn’t worry though, because Vigil Games has one of the best action-adventure games out this year, and possibly even a game-of-the-year contender.
For those that don’t know, the second title follows Death as he tries to redeem War’s name of starting the Apocalypse, along with trying to fix the Apocalypse altogether. As you try to complete this tasks, you’ll run into old names and new. It’s a good story that continues right where the first game left off, but still keeps its own identity.
Unlike War, Death comes with his own moves set. While the weapon attack is still the same, Death is definitely nimbler than his brother. Instead of being able to block, Death uses quick dodges to avoid enemies and get advantages in battle. Death also has two different skill trees to put points into as he levels up: Harbinger and Necromancer. The first is more of a physical tree, using Wrath for scythe attacks. The other uses more summons, like a murder of crows or zombies. I personally like the Necromancer tree due to the summons being able to help regen Wrath and health.
Outside of combat, Death is able to channel his Prince of Persia in wall runs, hand holds and more. Thankfully, the wall running ability is smooth and easy to use, making it an enjoyable mechanic throughout the game.
As you’ve seen in screens and expected, Death uses his twin scythes to take out enemies. However, he also has a secondary weapon you can change out with equipment you pick up from a fast weapon to a slower, more powerful one.
The equipment is actually a big part of the game. You’ll find more powerful scythes, secondary weapons and armor as you go along. The equipment also carries with it various stat enhancements depending on how you want to play. Personally, I like having extra health and health regen, but you can focus on Wrath regeneration (used for spells) or just simply on defense.
Old equipment also has multiple uses. On one hand, you can simply sell to a vendor to buy better armor. On another hand, you can feed it to possessed weapons to give better abilities to. Possessed weapons can level up multiple times before they hit their max level, with each level increasing everything that’s already part of the weapon, as well as giving you the ability to farther increase an ability or add a new ability.
Equipment can also be sent to other friends playing the game with the Serpent Mail system, which allows you to send equipment to friends or get DLC equipment. It’s a nice feature if you know of people looking for a particular type of item, but may not be used too often considering how much loot is ran across.
Much like the first game, players will run through dungeons to power-up your character, defeat bosses and advance the story. Dungeons feature a good amount of fairly simple puzzles to solve, along with its fair share of enemies to help you level up. The Zelda comparison is still here, but wall running has been added to the mix.
Also added to the mix is plenty of side quests. While the first game was fairly linear, the sequel has quite a few side dungeons to find and run, as well as various side quests to complete for people for special items, money and more. It helps give quite a bit more playability to an already lengthy game. Thankfully, a quick travel feature is also in the game to let you go between dungeons and main areas to quickly move around a world or between worlds.
Besides the side quests, you’ll also unlock the Crucible early on. The Crucible is the game’s arena mode. There are 100 levels you’ll unlock throughout the game to try and make your way through to get some of the better equipment in the game. In fact, you can even get a rare weapon for getting through all 100 levels in one setting.
As you progress through the game, Death will also unlock new abilities to use, such as a Deathgrip, summoning Dead Lords, splitting souls and even something that harkens to Portal. All abilities add something new to the game and will also have you backtracking to earlier parts of the game to get a chest that was out of your way or unlock a new dungeon to explore.
Another ability you’ll get early on is being able to activate Maker Custodians. The Custodians are huge stone constructs that are used mainly for puzzle solving or to allow exploration to a new area. However, you’ll still destroy some enemies with them from time to time, making quick work of whatever’s in your way.
For those that still need something to do after the big story, there is a New Game + and Nightmare mode to try, giving you plenty of new loot and harder enemies to fight.
About the only big problem I ran into was the occasional glitch, such as getting stuck on a ledge while fighting and having to fall back down and jump up again. I did get a game freeze once, but never had it happen again.
Graphically, the game looks great as well. The worlds and dungeons are varied and interesting to see, and Death’s model was nicely done. The soundtrack is also nice to listen to in the game, and Michael Wincott does a great job voicing what the Grim Reaper sounds like.