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access_time October 22, 2012 at 9:02 AM in Reviews by Todd Vote

Review | Darksiders II: A Second Opinion

I know the game has been out for a while, but I feel that is all the more reason to offer a second take on the game, maybe offer something a bit different than the first review that was put on the site from Adam Larck. I figure multiple opinions are not a bad thing, right? So here we have it.

Darksiders II is the story of Death, the second of the Four Horsemen of the apocalypse. Instead of being a straight sequel, the wonderful folks at Vigil decided that Death’s story would run parallel with War’s story from the first game. But Death’s journey doesn’t begin on Earth as War’s did. Death, instead gets to explore several other realms such as the Tree of Life, the Tree of Death, City of the Dead… Places far more exotic than what we were treated to in the first game.

In addition to the new area, Death is given a lot more to explore. Dungeons are bigger, puzzles are a bit more complex, and the enemies are a bit nastier. Death’s journey has him trying to do what he can to help clear his brothers name, and prove that he wasn’t the one that jump started the whole end of the world thing.

Death’s style differs from his brother a bit. War was straight forward attacks, Death is more elusive, and a lot faster I feel. His main attacks are with his scythes, meanwhile he has heavy attacks that can be done with one of the thousands of hammers, or gauntlets you can find in the game. Choosing the right combo can often times mean the difference between life and death on the harder difficulties. At times, using a nice set of claws along with the scythes is a good way to go for the added speed of attacks you get. Other times the added damage from wielding a large hammer can be the way to go. The best part is, you can swap them out at any time by pushing the back button.

There are lots of weapons to pick up. Each with their own stats, and abilities for you to employ throughout the game. Granted most of them are just variations of the same weapons, but having different bonuses can come in handy against certain enemies. My favorite weapons were the possessed weapons. If you came across one of these rare items, you could actually sacrifice your other weapons and armor to increase the power of your new possessed toy.

In addition to the thousands of weapons on display, there are also a whole plethora of armor assortments for you to discover and employ. Each piece of Death’s armor is interchangeable. You could be wearing robes that offer you a boost on wrath points and experience, while wearing a pair of boots that offer health regeneration. Lots of gadgets for you to tinker with throughout the whole game.

Death is also given a rather large skill tree of special attacks to work with as you earn skill points. You earn these, of course, by leveling up Death. The more shit you destroy, the more points you get. After beating the game, I think I got Death to level 20, or 21. So it may take some doing to even consider hitting the level cap on one play-through. Death’s special attacks range from summoning ghouls to help him fight off his enemies, to the ability to give himself more strength for a short period of time, all the way to releasing a flock of crows that will attack the enemies and give Death some health in return. The skill Trees are huge, and offer a large variety of attacks, so again choose the ones that best compliment your play style.

Vulgrim, the merchant from the first game, returns here and offers Death help in the way of chests that contain helpful items. Different Chest cost more money, and contain better items. Vulgrim also offers the ability to reset your skill tree. If you choose this option, you have the opportunity to redistribute your skill tree points in a different way. It’s a great way to test out new abilities.

I mentioned in the opening how Death had much larger dungeons to explore, which is true. Unfortunately, with that I feel that Vigil really missed the opportunity to include more enemies. For the most part, the dungeons are empty, save for random spots where you will come across some bugs to squash. I feel they could have easily given us more to do inside these humongous great looking dungeons. What we are left with is giant areas that act more as a big puzzle than posing any sort of real threat to Death.

Another thing that rings true from the first game is the boss fights. The boss fights, while huge in scope, just do not offer the same challenge level that the rest of the game does. Making it to a boss fight is far more difficult than fighting the boss itself. This was a minor complaint I had with the first game, especially with the final boss being the absolute easiest and most straight forward of the entire game. While this doesn’t hinder the game in any real way, it is sort of a bummer to work through these vast areas, only to face no real challenge for it.

Last thing I want to touch on is the Crucible. The Crucible is an additional game mode quite similar to Horde mode from Gears of War. You see it popping up more and more in games these days, a mode where you go against endless waves of enemies pushing as far as you can. Well in Darksiders II, The Crucible serves this purpose. Only with a twist. You unlock The Crucible by playing through the main campaign. The further you get into the story of the game, the more levels of The Crucible that will be unlocked for you to challenge yourself. Finish certain stopping points in The Crucible will give you the opportunity to continue on and see how far you can go, or alternately you can choose to accept your reward. A reward which you then take back to the main game with you, and may just help you in your quest to clear War’s name. The Crucible is quite a challenge, so make sure you are prepared. Before you enter, make sure to visit a merchant and fill up on health and wrath.

Darksiders II is definitely a worthy sequel to the first game, adding to the mythos in a unique way, instead of going the straightforward sequel route. While the game isn’t perfect, it is most definitely worthy of your time to see Death through his journey. If you liked Darksiders, you will enjoy Darksiders II. Give it a shot.


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