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Wednesday
Dec052012

Darksiders 2 Review

First off, let me just say that I really liked the first Darksiders. It was a fun game that played well, had a cool story and some fantastic polish. It was essentially a Zelda game, reskinned, but somehow original in its own right. It cannibalised lots of other games and mechanics but still vomited up something that was quintiscentially original, it was great. Darksiders 2, like its predecessor, put players in the shoes of one of the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse. In the first game you played as War, but in Darksiders 2 players take on the mantle of the skull-faced, scythe-wielding Death.You'll find Death likes to solve problems by, well, impaling them. Death is a bit more agile than his bulkier brother, and has quicker combos, but for all intents and purposes Darksiders players will feel right at home when controlling Death.

Combos are easily pulled off, with different weapons having different speeds and attacks, usually leaning between light and quick attacks, to heavier slower attacks. There isn't too much wiggle room for different playstyles, but I definitely found myself playing differently to other people I had heard talking about the game, wading into groups of enemies swinging an enormous hammer has its advantages over swifter attacks, to me atleast. Death has spells he can cast, with skill trees dividing up appropriately as players progress and earn skill points. I was able to adopt my usual playstyle of summoning creatures to do my fighting for me, and there was definitely flexibility in Death's spells should you not want to go down the same route. Again, if you're comfortable with the original Darksiders then the combat should feel familiar, though certainly more varied than War's limited array of moves.

The story is a different matter however, and is where the game started feeling less than the original to me. In the first game you were summoned in as war between heaven and hell broke out on earth and humanity was being wiped out. You were wrongfully accused of the extinction of mankind and you had One thing the game does very well, is give you impressive views of epic architectureto prove your innocence whilst traversing the post-apocalyptic wasteland that was now Earth, it was super cool and set itself apart from most other games for the scale of its story alone. By comparison, Darksiders 2 feels like a clip show right in the middle of a season of your favourite show, not in structure, but in terms of a wasted oppurtunity to show an actual episode. In Darksiders 2 Death is attempting to get his brother War out of trouble by bringing all of humanity back from the dead, which on the surface of it sounds like a pretty interesting endeavour, but which ends up being a massive wet noodle. Obviously I won't spoil anything, but the thing you think might get sorted out within the first hour of the game, winds up taking over 20, and wraps up with as unsatisfying a conclusion as you could hope for. You thought Mass Effect 3 had a disappointing ending? Hold onto you horses! You're in for a treat!

The game's other big problem, is sticking too rigidly to its 1 trick: Dungeons. Much like how in Pokemon the answer to EVERY problem is Pokemon-related; or how in Yu-Gi-Oh the answer to EVERY problem is to play Yu-Gi-Oh cards; in Darksiders 2 if you have a problem, you better believe the answer to that problem will revolve around a fucking dungeon. Dungeons every-fucking-where! There was a section in the game where they promise an arena battle, but as soon as you enter the arena you're met with "Before we can let you fight the champion of this arena, we're going to have to ask you to complete these 3 mini dungeons!" It feels like game padding, and that's because it is game padding. Don't get me wrong, I like a good dungeon, but not where it doesn't make Your horsie will be essential in Darksiders 2's bigger environmentssense! The same happens in Pokemon where a big Pokemon is rampaging through a town and nobody thinks to just shoot the fucker! Don't battle it, just fucking get the army to blow that cunt up! Don't ask me to complete a dungeon to have a massive fight I'm already in the right place for, just let me have the massive fight! This shouldn't be rocket science, this should be common sense.

Problems aside I enjoyed more than I disliked, the new loot system akin to an MMO or Diablo is fun, and you're always getting loot thrown at you; the combat is enjoyable and lets you spec out your Death in some fun ways; the world is very colourful and pretty, and they achieve a great sense of size and scale with their environments, and there's a surprising number of sidequests with which to occupy yourself, should you be so inclined. The game may not be prefect, but it'll do for now. It's a bit of a joke that it's a numbered sequel, when the game has no bearing on the events before, during or after the first Darksiders but it is what it is. Though it doesn't deliver upon the promise made by the superb ending of the first game, its heart is in the right place... Its cold, dark, soul devouring heart.

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This review was written based on impressions made whilst playing the Xbox 360 version of the game. It is also out on PS3, PC and a Wii U version is on its way.

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