Darksiders II Reviews

  • knight0fkh0nshuknight0fkh0nshu633,082
    14 Aug 2012 14 Aug 2012
    36 10 17
    Vigil Games brought us to War with the first Darksiders game. Where War is...Death is sure to follow, bringing us to the second installment in the Darksiders series. Paralleling the events from the first game, Death learns that the Charred Council holds War responsible for the early Armageddon - which resulted in the extinction of humanity. But something is amiss; Death knows that his brother War is the most honorable and the least corruptible of all the Horsemen. War wouldn't prematurely start the End Of Days. So Death, against the Charred Council's orders, will travel from Heaven to Hell and everywhere in between to prove that his brother is innocent - and that a larger conspiracy is afoot.

    Instantly from the first moment Despair, Death's horse, appears on the screen you can tell that Darksiders II still has that unique, awesome artistic style that made the first one so distinctive and memorable - from none other than Joe Madureira from Marvel Comics fame. While riding around on Despair, or even through underground tombs, you can't help but notice that a lot of detail was put into the environment, especially the backdrops in the distance. The effects from the first game can be seen as Corruption has spread across the universe. Hideous monsters roam the lands and signs of battle, death, and hopelessness are seen all across the lands - Corruption's aftermath seems to have no end.

    Death is noticeably different than this brother War. Whereas War was a brute - stocky and slow, Death is more slender and agile. This is portrayed not only in visuals, but combat as well. Gone is the block ability that War uses in the original Darksiders. Taking the place of block is evade. Vigil Games, by removing block, attempts to change the pace of the battles to fit the archetype of Death. Another attempt to speed up the battle is the obvious change in weapons between the two horsemen. War's sword was slow, but powerful. Death has dual-wielded scythes that are quick and effective, but aren't as powerful as War's sword.

    What the scythes lack in power, your secondary weapons will make up for. Instead on sticking to the mechanics from the first game, Vigil Games pushes the sequel even further by adding RPG elements to an already amazing formula. This is where the secondary weapons come into play. Death can find secondary weapons and armor through loot! Whether it comes from chest, quest rewards, or being the best at what he does (hence the name) there is bountiful loot for Death to find. On a side note, there is an "auto-collect" feature in the options menu that does exactly what the name says: it automatically collects any weapons or armor on the ground for you, which is very useful.

    Finding a good secondary weapon will compliment your scythes as you can create combos from swapping from your scythes to your secondary weapon. Think of the transition as light attack to heavy attack. The combo system is pretty deep if you look for it. There are numbers of combinations of attacks that you can link together by trying different secondary weapons. From slow, powerful maces to fast striking gauntlets - there is a secondary weapon for different variations of play styles.

    In addition to different speed types there is also a wide variety of attributes that can be found on weapons and armor. Vigil Games gives you freedom by letting you choose how you want to build up Death through the armor attributes. Whether you want to level up your strength to hit harder, increase your defense to live longer, or increase your critical chance or critical damage - there are so many different ways to make Death more powerful. A new type of variation in weapons is the Possessed weapons. These are the only weapons that you can level up yourself by sacrificing unwanted items into these Possessed weapons. Each Possessed weapon can be leveled up five times. Each time you sacrifice enough to level one up you are offered a choice of which attribute you want to increase on that weapon. These attributes are chosen at random and be wary because sometimes the options given can actually decrease the attribute.

    Weapons are not the only way Death can wreak havoc throughout the game. By leveling up you earn skill points to place into powers. Again, there are different powers for different play styles. For players with a straight-forward approach the are powers that increase your strength, a teleport slash that will get drop you right into the thick of things, and the scythe slash that swirls in circles around Death for maximum reach. A defensive player can take up a shield that protects Death, summon minions to fight, and call on crows to attack the enemies. Any of these can be combined to suit the player’s needs. Each of the powers can be upgraded up to three times as well. For instance, Exhume (which summons the minions) can be upgraded to summon an additional ghoul to fight. Branching further down that tree will allow the ghouls to do fire damage, gain increased health, and even draw enemies away from Death. The options are nearly endless. But what if you purchased a power and don't like it? Not to worry as Death can visit a certain merchant and buy a respec for little or nothing. You can respec as many times as you like, as long as you can afford it - which won't be a problem later in the game.

    Health and Wrath chests have also disappeared in Darksiders II. Potions instead have been implemented for quick use during battles. You can find potions in chests and destructibles in the environment, or purchase them from merchants. You are limited to only five potions of each type, which leads us back to the equipment. While it's not completely vital, there is gear that has health/wrath regeneration, as well as an attribute for gaining health/wrath on execution. Yes, executions are back for Darksiders II and they are brutal as ever. Most times while performing these executions you will just continue on with business after it's done. But certain times, the game takes you into a semi-cinematic view that lets you view these brutal executions up close and personal which is brilliant.

    Side quests are another welcome addition. Just about every NPC throughout Darksiders II expansive lands will have a conversation with Death. Adding even further to that, most will offer side quests for you to complete. From gathering pages from The Book Of The Dead for a familiar character to hunting down creatures of immense power, there are a number of side quests to complete. Some of these side quests can't be completed until you have gone to different lands by furthering the main story. So obviously fast travel is a must in a game like this. A new, neat feature allows you to set a waypoint to fast travel back to if you're in the middle of a dungeon - which is extremely useful when running low on potions. You can set only one waypoint per world (area), but you can replace a previous one if you decide to move on to a different dungeon. It's nothing game changing but something it's something so simple that other developers can learn from and implement in their games as well.

    The indoor environments have been adjusted to compliment Death's agile form. While there was a bit of platforming in the first game, it has seen an overhaul in the sequel. Wall running, wall climbing, and jumping from ledges are all examples of the obstacles Death will face. The intricate puzzles have made their return as well, most requiring Death to use his abilities to progress further into the level. While most of them are fairly simple, there are a few different mechanics that War didn't have used to complete these puzzles. One such example is the ability that Death has to split into two different beings leaving a statue of a Grim Reaper as a "home base". Venture too far from the statue with either copy of Death will result in the power dissipating. You have to be accurate when solving these puzzles, but none are too overbearing that it diminishes the flow of the game. There are areas in the beginning of the game that will require you fast travel back after receiving certain abilities in order to reach a collectible or a chest as well.

    If you can't get your fix on killing monsters throughout the campaign, there is an area on the map called The Crucible. Think of a horde mode with single player benefits. In total, The Crucible covers a total 100 waves battling every enemy that you have come across in the campaign. Only the first 25 waves are available at the start. To unlock the rest of the waves you must progress the storyline. The neat thing about The Crucible is that every five waves starting with #5 (continuing on to 10, 15, 20, etc) you get the chance to opt out and receive a reward. The higher set of waves completed, the greater the reward. But with the chance for a greater reward there is also greater risk. If you die between one of the sets of five waves you will receive nothing. So keep a sharp eye on that life meter and your potions!

    Once you complete the campaign and you think the game is finished you get the option to restart with a New Game +. This means that your money, weapons, skills, level, and other things carry over. It will probably take near two playthroughs to reach the maximum level for Death, which is 30. If playing on the hardest mode isn't enough, try out Nightmare mode. You have one life and when you die it equals game over. There are leaderboards within the menu systems that show where you rank on completions, completion time, highest combo, and more.

    Darksiders II takes the foundation of the series and expands it in a new, welcoming direction. The RPG elements and advanced combo system immerse players into the game - letting them make Death into their own unique killing machine. Improved NPC interactions and side quests make this larger world feel not so bland and desolate. Darksiders II outshines its predecessor in almost every aspect. The ride of the Four Horsemen is hopefully only just beginning!

    ---------------------------------
    This review was written for TeamXbox.com and is the property of TeamXbox.com.

    Original Article Found Here.
    5.0
    Showing most recent comments. View all comments.
    Boots OrionAwesome review. Reviews don't need to, and shouldn't, mention achievements. If you're that on the fence about a game, you shouldn't get it.
    Posted by Boots Orion on 22 Mar 14 at 23:32
    knight0fkh0nshuThanks Boots! It's much appreciated!
    Posted by knight0fkh0nshu on 23 Mar 14 at 06:23
    Angels Kill TooThey should have renamed this game : "destroy golems and push boulders" because literally that's all this game has been so far, it's really boring and slow, the first darksiders though i hated i thought was better, and i thought the concept of "DEATH" would be a lot darker and have you fighting wicked beings or reaping souls or something... no you fight rocks and collect shit -_- thank god this shit was free on xbox.
    Posted by Angels Kill Too on 15 Mar 15 at 16:01
  • GamerGregV93GamerGregV93237,730
    20 Aug 2012
    17 2 4
    Introduction
    I want to preface this review by saying that this is my first video game review. That being the case, I would love some feedback so leave a comment, send me a message, or something like that. This review is broken up into different categories and each category is given a score out of 10. I averaged up those scores to get my final score. This review is as spoil-free as possible, so it is perfect for anyone including those who have not even played the first Darksiders game.

    Now onto the review!

    Story (7/10):
    Darksiders 2 is an action-adventure platformer made by Vigil Games (A THQ owned developer). You play as Death, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (The other three are War, Fury, and Strife). Your brother, War, has been accused of bringing on the Apocalypse early and thus causing all of humankind to be destroyed. Death knows that his brother is innocent, and he goes on a quest to bring back humanity and save War. In order to do this, Death goes in search of the Tree of Life; what he does not realize is that the Tree of Life does not mark the end of his journey, but only the beginning.

    The story of Darksiders 2 is an interesting one but not one of the best. It seems to be more for those people who played the original Darksiders (it takes place during the same time). That being said, I don’t think that the actual story (the plot) is the main part of this game. Also, the characters and environment are both well done and definitely enhance the not so excellent story. I especially love how each area is different and gorgeous in its own way. The story should not be the thing that tips you in one direction about getting Darksiders 2. This game is more about the playability.

    Playability (9/10):
    The combat of Darksiders 2 is very exciting and fast paced. It is a hack-n-slash type combat with many abilities and a few tools that add a lot of flare to it. Death wields dual scythes as his primary weapon and either a heavy and slow yet high damage dealing axe-type weapon or a much faster but less deadly dual claw-like weapon as his secondary weapon. I primarily used the heavier axes as my secondary weapon and I felt that they complemented the scythes very well. Being able to seamlessly switch between the two made the combat flow almost perfectly. The different combinations of attacks and being able to equip up to 4 different abilities at a time made combat fun and interesting. The only bad part of the combat was the scaling. At times, the amount of enemies or the strength of enemies did not fit with how far you are in the game. Vigil Games could have done a better job setting up the enemies so the combat challenge increased throughout instead of fluxuating. Overall, the combat was amazing and much improved (or perhaps just different) from Darksiders 1.

    The new loot system put into Darksiders 2 is simple but it gets the job done. The loot includes a variety of weapons, armor pieces, and talismans (which enhance your power). I spent a lot of time looking for chests in order to find more powerful items, but I did not spend that much time actually switching out the old stuff for the new stuff unless I was getting ready for a boss battle or something like that. The loot system is definitely not up to par with a game like Skyrim or Diablo, but it gets the job done for this game.

    The platforming in Darksiders 2 is a big part of the dungeons and puzzles. Death is a quick and agile climber and is comparable to an Assassin’s Creed character but on a smaller scale. It is very fun to move up, down, and across areas at a fast pace. The platforming can be unresponsive and/or glitchy at times, which can cause you to die, but that stuff happens very little and does not take away from the game. The one thing that I did not like about the platforming is not being able to quickly launch Death across vines and such like you could do with War in Darksiders 1. Overall, the platforming has been improved and it is very enjoyable.

    Entertainment (9/10):
    The combat and platforming are not the only things that make this game great. Both were considered in both this section and the previous for their respective scores, but I won’t go into more detail about them in this section since I already did so above.

    A great deal of this game, besides the combat and platforming, is the puzzles. Each dungeon is filled with fun and thought-provoking puzzles. You must use the different tools that you have and the dungeon’s environment to solve them. Every dungeon is different and enjoyable in its own right because of the way the puzzles are implemented. For anyone who doesn’t mind a little bit of thinking, you will have a great time going through each dungeon.

    A new addition that was put in Darksiders 2 is sidequests. The first Darksiders game was very straight forward with only having the main quest and collectibles to keep you entertained. In the second game, there are different side quests ranging from fetch quests, finding hidden collectibles, killing certain enemies, and so on. These sidequests give you the opportunity to explore new areas and dungeons that definitely add to the amusement of the game. However, I think that because of all the sidequests in Darksiders 2, the main story of the game somewhat suffers. Darksiders 1 excels more in the story area while Darksiders 2 excels more in the entertainment area. That being said, I don’t think one is necessarily better than the other. I had a lot of fun playing both games for some different reasons as well as for some of the same reasons.

    Sound/Graphics (9/10):
    The music of Darksiders 2 is amazing overall. It fits each area and all the battles very well. One of my favorite times was when you get to go to Earth. It is desolate and depressing and the music complements the environment very well. There was one part of the game where the combat music did not sound very good at certain parts of the song. Overall, I quite liked the music and I recommend you take the time to stop and listen to it.

    The art style of Darksiders 1 is back in 2 and it is even better. While the actual graphics of this game are the same as the original, the environments are a lot more beautiful. Each area looks different and they all fit the characters and enemies very well. In addition, no dungeon is just a carbon copy of another one with a few things changed; each one is different. While you stop to listen to the music, make sure to take a look at the amazing world around you.

    Conclusion:
    Darksiders 2 is an overall improvement from Darksiders 1. Vigil Games took the great parts of 1 and improved upon them. Some parts of the game I am torn about such as the sidequests and the story. While the story is lacking, the sidequests add a lot to the exploration of the game. I think that is better for games like this, but I really liked the story of the first game so I was somewhat disappointed in this game’s story. There are some small issues/glitches but they hardly deter from the overall quality of the game.

    My recommendation is to start with the first Darksiders game and then play the second one if you have a good experience. You will not be disappointed in Darksiders 2 if you enjoy(ed) Darksiders 1.


    Final Score: 8.5/10
    Replayability: High
    4.0
  • Danny Dubs 86Danny Dubs 861,578,786
    22 Nov 2014
    7 3 1
    Originally posted on my blog at http://takeaimandgame.blogspot.com/

    My favorite games have always been those that force you to solve puzzles to progress. I really enjoy defeating challenging enemies and managing limited resources in addition to more traditional puzzles. If a game can successfully integrate many of those kinds of elements, it's almost a sure thing that I'll like it.

    Darksiders II does an excellent job of combining exploration and that sort of problem solving, making for a wonderful gaming experience. Here's what you can expect:

    Being a direct sequel, Darksiders II follows closely behind its predecessor both in terms of gameplay and story.

    On the story side, we get to see Death, one of the horsemen of the apocalypse, set out to redeem his brother (War), who is blamed (fairly or not) for the destruction of humanity. In this quest, he confronts angels, demons, and everything in between as he searches for the relics necessary to resurrect the human race.

    The storyline is actually pretty thin. The vague connection to Christian mythology isn't fleshed out, and the plot is nothing more than a vehicle for "go here, do this thing, and come back." The good news is that it doesn't force you through long sequences of boring cutscenes or tedious dialogue, so while the story doesn't enhance the experience, it doesn't really detract from it, either.

    The gameplay, on the other hand, is solid. It's a third-person action-adventure game in all the important ways. You'll guide Death through a rather expansive world and numerous dungeons, all while slaying any monsters that get in your way. Darksiders II feels like a particularly good take on the genre because each of its components are exceptionally done.

    Let's start with the exploration: After passing through an introductory area and becoming acquainted with the story, you'll be sent to the first dungeon. Along the way to completing your first major mission, you'll pass an optional side area to explore. It sets the tone right away - there are primary objective you could pursue, but you could also get lost following side paths.

    Sadly, the later stages of the game lose some of that sense of exploration, as side paths disappear completely from the last few areas. It's a disappointment to be sure, but the main story dungeons become increasingly large and complex as the game wears on, making up for some of that lost exploration.

    And those dungeons are surprisingly well done. Each one presents a new goodie to help you progress, but unlike a lot of games of this genre, most of those items are used in later dungeons as well. Off hand I can only think of one that doesn't make a repeat appearance, making the items feel much less gimmicky than they might otherwise seem.

    This scenario often means that the puzzles themselves can get rather challenging. It was nice to have to stop and think about the right way to progress on several occasions, making successful completion of a puzzle particularly satisfying.

    Combat is similarly well done. It plays a bit like a hack and slash game, with fast, flowing battles against several enemies simultaneously, and the basic controls are fluid enough to allow that style to shine.

    Darksiders II has a leg up, though, because it incorporates light RPG elements as well. There's a leveling and skill system that allows you to enhance Death's fighting capabilities, which allows some customization based on your preferred combat style, even if it's not incredibly deep.

    There's also a heavy emphasis on loot in the form of equipment. Following the tradition of dungeon crawlers, items will drop from chests and defeated foes, so there's always a drive to find better gear. You can also purchase items from a few merchants throughout the world, giving you guaranteed access to some baseline item quality.

    The only real flaw with this system is one that is fairly common with this sort of game: there are few enough things to purchase and they are cheap enough that you'll basically always have enough money starting about halfway through the game.

    Despite all that, the battles in Darksiders II are never too easy (at least on higher difficulty settings). I found myself struggling with some of the random encounters throughout the game. Many of the game's epic bosses require some strategy and precise timing to overcome. And, yet again, it can be quite satisfying when you finally do, as none of them really feel cheap.

    Honestly, I was a little disappointed with some of the fight sequences near the end of the game, as they seemed to be pushovers compared to what happened during the mid-game, but I still had a lot of fun with it.

    Nothing in the game feels groundbreaking or exceedingly clever, so there are limits to how good it gets, but it's a great incarnation of a classic genre.

    On the more superficial side, the game gets the job done. Nothing really stands out graphically, in either a positive or negative way, though there are some cool cutscenes and many of the game's environments are fantastic.

    I was impressed by the game's soundtrack, though. Many of the tunes did a great job of highlighting the tension of certain scenarios and brought a feeling of solemn isolation during others. In the end, the soundtrack resonated with me a lot more than I would have expected it to.

    Most of the achievements aren't too bad, as they'll come naturally or easily with completing the story. Completing the game on the hardest difficulty is no walk in the park, but with patience, practice, and maybe a guide giving good strategies, nothing is too overwhelming.

    There are a handful of annoying achievements, though, including several for collectibles and a couple of tedious gauntlets you have to complete. Those aren't too hard, but they can be pretty time consuming. You can probably expect somewhere in the 25-30 hour ranges for a full completion.

    And all that combined makes Darksiders II an enjoyable game. While the last quarter of the game kind of drags a little bit, it smoothly integrates a number of different elements and genres (there's even a portion that plays like a third-person shooter, and it works!).

    I had a very good time with it, and I highly recommend it.

    My Rating: 8/10 - great.

    (For more info on my rating system, including overall stats, see http://takeaimandgame.blogspot.com/p/reviews.html)
    4.0