Darksiders II is playing it safe. It borrows from the best franchises and puts its own spin on the gameplay. The story is quite simple and is not the selling point of the game. However, the puzzles and battles are the reasons why you won’t put your controller down. If you’re looking for an action-adventure game with clever puzzle elements thrown into the mix, this is the game for you.
Detailed review Darksiders II (PS3)
The original Darksiders was launched in 2010 and was a new IP from THQ. The game had some great stuff like a refreshing story, puzzle and dungeons thrown into the mix along with great action. On the other hand, the game has been criticized for its complex and somewhat frustrating controls.
Two years later, today we have a sequel to the game, conveniently titled Darksiders II. Is the game really worth the drive?
You play as Death, one of the horsemen of the Apocalypse (there are a total of four horsemen – War, Death, Famine and Conquest). Death is on a journey to prove the innocence of his brother, War, the protagonist of the first game, and in the process restore humanity.
You don’t need to play the first game to know what’s going on this time around, but if you did, you’ll see some familiar faces and feel right at home with the look and feel of the game and how the story ends.
After playing the first game, you’ll have moments of awe when certain characters appear on screen, but if you haven’t, you’ll still enjoy the ride. The plot doesn’t have too many twists and turns and you come across a large number of characters. It is a give and take relationship with these characters. You complete the missions they give you and they help you in your quest. The number of side missions and quests at your disposal in Darksiders II is quite a handful.
One downside of the game is that it’s easy to forget or not care about the story as it will move slowly if you’re someone who is easily absorbed in the game’s side missions and missions.
If you’re an experienced gamer, you’ll see how developer Vigil Games has borrowed elements from gaming’s biggest names such as Prince of Persia, Devil May Cry, Zelda and more to put together a game full of dungeons and some kick- ass action.
The gameplay of Darksiders II can be divided into three parts: the action and murder, solving puzzles and increasing the RPG style.
The action in the game is quite good and we are happy to say that the controls are not as complicated as in the first game. Death’s primary weapons are two scythes, which he can use to take down the enemies, and you have access to a plethora of other secondary weapons like hammers, axes, and more that help you mix up the combos. Some of the secondary “heavy” weapons are slow and can deal a lot of damage. Death also has access to a gun, which adds to the game’s combat, which is something we loved in the Devil May Cry games.
The second element of the gameplay is solving puzzles and completing side missions. These can cost you many sleepless nights and borrow a lot from the Zelda franchise. There’s a puzzle around every corner and it can be something as simple as finding a key to open a locked door or something more complex like restoring the supply of lava and water to a forge. Anyway, the puzzles aren’t very difficult and won’t leave you scratching your head for long. The difficulty is moderate for the average gamer.
Another element where puzzles are introduced is in regards to the boss fights. Not all bosses can be taken out with hacks and slashes. Some require strategic thinking and that adds to the variation in gameplay – keeping it fresh.
The level-up system in Darksiders II has been revamped compared to the first game. If you start out as Death, you are void and you have limited skills. Within a few hours, we’d upgraded the scythes to nearly full, unlocked some fun special abilities, and pimped Death to look like a badass – a very satisfying experience.
To level up in the game you need gold. And gold can be found in dead enemies or in the plethora of chests scattered throughout the game. This is one of the few parts of the game that gets monotonous over time.
Overall, the mix of the three gameplay elements is fun. For the experienced gamer, there may be little to challenge here, but newbies and intermediate gamers will have a good time. Victory in combat can be achieved by using either button or by putting your skills to the test – the choice is yours.
Darksiders II’s graphics are good, if not the best in the business (we tested it on the PS3). You will encounter a variety of locations, from dark and stony dungeons to the opulent outer doors. All locations look beautiful and have a special appearance. Textures look sharp for the most part and the overall atmosphere of the levels in the game is very good.
The animations of the enemies are also fun as they circle death and hack and chop him.
Speaking of Death, the character is well modeled and his traversing and fighting animations are very smooth. You’ll probably unlock a few moves and use them in combat saying “cool!!” while taking down enemies with finesse. It’s all satisfying and well animated.
However, the cutscenes feel stiff at times and it’s hard to empathize with the characters at certain points.
Darksiders II’s voice acting is satisfying and well done, but it’s hard to feel attached to any of the characters. There’s the witty joke here and the sarcastic comment there, but nothing in totality to keep you happy.
The background score is very well varied with adrenaline pumping tunes during combat and soft orchestral scores as you navigate the environment.
Some reports on the internet suggest audio and other glitches that can be corrected by restarting the game. However, we were lucky not to run into them.
If you are a completeist you can easily get 20 hours out of the game making it great value for money. Other than that, Darksiders II plays it safe. It borrows from the best franchises and puts its own spin on the gameplay. The story is quite simple and is not the selling point of the game. However, the puzzles and battles are the reasons why you won’t put your controller down.
If you’re looking for an action-adventure game with clever puzzle elements thrown into the mix, this is the game for you.
Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U and PC
Price: PC – 999, Xbox 360 and PS3 – 2,799
Tested on: PS3