Reviews

Published on August 20th, 2012 | by Charlie

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Review: Darksiders II

Review: Darksiders II Charlie
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Summary: Charlie plays through Darksiders II and tells us his thoughts

4


User Rating: 0 (0 votes)
Since playing the first Darksiders, I couldn’t wait to see what Vigil had in store for the horsemen of the franchise. The more I learned about Darksiders II and “Death”, the more I got hyped about this game. Getting my hands on the sequel was the happiest I’ve been in ages. I’ve played the game and… I like it, but the game comes with more hiccups than good points. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t at all make this a bad game; in fact it’s one of the best games I’ve played this year. Now sadly, the sequel doesn’t take place after the events of Darksiders II, which I’m sure many people would have wanted, but I don’t think we’ll find out what happens next until every horseman has had it’s day. Instead the sequel takes place during the 100 earth years which War was imprisoned by the Charred council. After learning his brother has been deemed the cause of the apocalypse in the kingdom of man (earth), Death rides out to seek a way to restore humanity and to clear his brothers name. The thing I personally don’t get is how Death is constantly toyed with throughout the game; he’s one of the 4 powerful horsemen, and yet he’s out doing everyone’s errands, and half the time I think he doesn’t even mind (I thought Death was supposed to be something everyone feared?). What is a nice addition to the game however is whenever you log back into the game, a small “previously” would appear, and would remind you of the last major event that you completed in the game. The voice acting is also some of the best you’ll ever see in a game; probably because it’s such an easy sort of world to voice for, but that doesn’t make it any less brilliant. You’ll even run into a few familiar faces… and yes that does include Samael. Speaking of going around doing everyone’s errands, what bugs me if how simple this game makes itself look. Whenever Death is asked to do something, it’s either go to and find “three” of something, like three souls, or three lords, three hearts or three horns. I mean sure I’d love a Darksiders III too but you don’t have to go throwing the number three in our faces. Still despite all that, Darksiders II still comes out as one of the best platformers out there. Unlike War, Death’s platform abilities are a lot different and in some cases a lot cooler. Sadly, the double jump is no longer in the game, and you can no longer leap up a wall you’re climbing so you can get to your destination faster, but that’s OK because Death has some other awesome abilities for you. First of all, wall running and jumping are brilliant moves to do and brilliant to see. An example of wall jumping is if there are two parallel walls, Death can run along the walls, jumping from one wall to the other, whether it’s going down a hallway or going up a floor. You can’t do this everywhere, but that’s to be expected. Wall running allows Death to run along a wall to reach the other side of a wall or to reach a platform he can grab on to; parkour has never looked so awesome. Throughout the game, Death will unlock new abilities that will help him as he explores dungeons and complete quests. Such abilities include Deathgrip which allows you to pull objects and enemies towards you as well as allowing you to grab hold of a valid platform. You also have Soul Splitter, which allows Death to split his spirit in two to become two bodies that you can switch between control with. Each ability like this you unlock has it’s strengths and it’s weaknesses. An example is that your ‘Deathgrip’ may not “grip” correctly on a perfectly valid platform. There will also be moments in the game that will make you think “well if I could do this here, why couldn’t I do this there?” For example, early on in the game, you’ll have a companion following you who can throw you over gates and long distances, and then you’ll come to a similar situation, complete it and you’ll think: “well why couldn’t he just have thrown me over this then? It would have saved A LOT of time.” Being a horseman, you of course have your own horse. In this case, you get Despair from the very start. Whilst horseback also has it’s advantages, it’s main disadvantage is that you’ll barely even use Despair, because you’ll either be in a dungeon, be in an area which Despair can’t be used, or you’ll just use the quick travel ability, which by the way I’m glad was included because I hated using Vulgrim’s pathways in the first game. The only times you’ll probably use Despair will be in a few various boss fights and getting from A to B. Once you’ve gone from A to B, you’ll really have no use for him again until you need to explore some more. Next we move onto exploration. Darksiders II keeps it’s open world, but it’s a little bit different than the first game. Darksiders II isn’t set on one entire map like the first game was, but instead you’ll find yourself travelling across numerous worlds that each feel just a little bit smaller than the first game’s entire world. Unfortunately, because an entire world will look almost the same throughout, you soon get tired of the world you’re playing in and will just want to move onto the next world. Dotted around each world are dungeons to which you can explore, but some dungeons may need abilities to which you might not own yet to get some of the many chests dotted around them, so dungeon exploring, in my eyes, feels like something a person should do after they complete the game if they only want to play through a dungeon once, but that’s entirely the players choice. Speaking of chests, we now move onto one of the main portions of the game: loot. How can you say something bad about the loot when there’s so much to find? In most chests, you’ll find a piece of armor, whether it be shoulder armor, boots, body armor, a necklace or even a weapon. Each item comes with stats that can help boost Death’s power in strength, defense, resistance and even health; it’s essentially what every good RPG should have if it wants to be deemed an RPG. Whether the loot has worse stats than what you’re already wearing or not, you can always just sell your loot for a good few thousand gold pieces. With that gold, you can buy new armor from other vendors, which usually updates with new merchandise every so often. Each chest can also throw out some gold or a health/wrath potion. With the first game, you may remember that to replenish health, you had consumables, and when your health bar ran out, you would automatically use up one of your soul shards. Unfortunately, soul shards are no longer in this game, and if you reach very low health, you either have to fight with it or use a health potion (the same with wrath too). This adds a great deal of difficulty to the game; difficulty that myself and many others welcome greatly. If you play this game like a true horseman on Apocalyptic difficulty, you will find this game to be a lot harder than the first game was on Apocalyptic. Whilst during the hard moments, I had found myself shouting at the scream, the feeling you get when you beat the super hard enemies is an amazing feeling; it’s difficulty you just never seem to get in games anymore, so of course it was welcomed in my eyes. No matter how unfair the game might have seemed, defeating the enemies always felt like a true moment of greatness. The first game had it’s fair share of bosses, and Darksiders II is no different. Each boss has their own traits, and you’ll work out how to beat them pretty easily, but it’s the timing you need to get right. “Should I strike now?” that’s the sort of questions you’ll be asking when fighting. Finally we’ll move onto the combat system. The game keeps it’s hack-and-slash play, but a new addition to the franchise is the skill tree. As you level up and earn experience, you’ll earn skill points which can unlock other abilities that can “increase your critical damage if you activate this ability” or will unlock new abilities, such as ‘Exhume’ which will summon ghouls that can attack your enemies. These abilities are a joy to use, because things like ghouls can be a great distraction whilst I attack from behind or can replenish my health in private. And it doesn’t stop there as you can even improve such abilities for up to 3 times. One final point I have to mention is that the game suffers from a few technical hitches, where almost every time you open a door or turn a corner, the loading icon will appear. This can get really annoying, but you will eventually get used to it. Still, the point is this really does slightly ruin the immersion. It might sound like Darksiders is a bad game, but trust me; if you’re willing to look above all the bad points, you will see the game’s true potential. The combat is really solid and the platforming is right on the money, but with technical difficulties and moments in the game which doesn’t make much sense (not particularly in story), you may come to realize that the first game is better than it’s sequel. I do hope the game earns enough sales for a third, but with that I just hope Vigil just remind themselves of the flaws of Darksiders II. The version I played was the PS3 version, so the platform could affect the technical ability.

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About the Author

Some say I should be a video game journalist, others say a video game designer. Shame you can't be both.



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