We’ve all been excited about Darksiders 2, and if you haven’t been, then you’re a tit. I had a quick whirl of it at Manchester MCM, and since then I’ve been counting down the days until I got it.
This time we get to play as death, which I’m sure you’re aware of. We follow him trying to clear his brother’s name (War) from the whole dooming Earth to the apocalypse thing. As we progress through the story, we see it develop a lot, into something really, really cool.
We open up heading towards a big tower in some frozen lands. The whole opening honestly felt like a trailer. Over the top music, cool fights and an epic ending to it.
Death plays a little differently to War, and while they’re both heavy hitters and fairly agile Death has a more acrobatic feel compared to War’s tank-like movements. He feels a lot more fluid, and his abilities are pretty damn great.
Death’s move lists are split into two:Harbinger and Necromancer, basically we have general combat and damage (Harbinger). This half allows Death to use all sorts of insane attacks by using his crazy death magic, of death. Everything from teleporting to a super whirlwind of bone and destruction. A lot of the abilities in this path build up the first ability (“teleport stabby” or teleport slash, as it’s technically known.) to allow it to cause various effects, such as explosions and freeze. We also see this path buffing up damage a lot.
The other half, Necromancy does pretty as you would expect, allows you to summon buddies. This path also seems to focus on defence, allowing you to summon shields and crows to restore reaper energy. As you continue down the path, much like Harbinger we see that a lot of abilites buff up the first one (“Summon buddies” or Exhume as they call it.)
With a careful balance you can Death into an unstoppable force of high damage and high health, or you can turn him into a one shot wonder, or punching bag! It’s great!
We also get to nab Strife’s other hand gun (Redemption), as well as some other brilliant toys. Everything from gauntlets, to big clubs, and even bigger hammers. You can mix the weapons to your liking, quick combos with the scythes then a monumental smash in the face with something bigger than Death, or quick combos with the scythes followed by more quick combos with gauntlets! (Or tonfa!)
Perhaps the bit that made me sit in a puddle of joy-piss was the reaper form. Death turns into a creepy form, where he looks a bit like he really just wants to go on the pull in the local pub. Sadly, this form is obviously short lived and hard to gain, but worth it. We can also make this form more powerful via the skill trees.
Death gets some pretty weird abilities and items, I think my favourite had to be “Void walker” basically it’s like playing portal, set two up and you can walk through them. But you can also use it in combat, so you can fling your enemies around and drop them into hazards, it’s a feeling like no other.
Obviously the RPG element is nothing too deep, but mixed in with the loot and skill trees, it really plays a heavy role in the game. And getting loot is really rewarding, especially when you get an epic set and Death looks like some sort of god. What I found really interesting was something called “Possessed weapons” these weapons can be fed and levelled giving them unique abilities and special abilites depending on what you feed them.
Sometimes the combat is a little frustrating, between bouncing around and stabbing you sometimes get that “will you just fucking die?” feeling.
The characters are actually really deep, Death shocked me far too often, it’s really rare to see such depth in video game characters. And while they’re obviously not all deep, complex, and interesting, the main set are.
Speaking of characters, I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a diverse range of characters, I felt as though the writers here had taken note from J.R.R Tolkien, the whole world was painted so brilliantly, I can honestly say I spent at least 10 minutes in each area just looking around amazed by the beauty.
Some of the characters are a little less decorated, but still very impressive, and some are stupidly well done.
There’s a decent range of enemies, savage beasts, mummies, wraiths, to fallen champions. As well as these guys who literally litter dungeons, we have epic boss fights, and I mean epic.
The dungeons are very, very complex and I must admit do tend to drag a bit. With puzzles that had me stood around for hours, thinking of long complex ways to get through, and it turning out to be something obvious. Maybe that’s just me, but the dungeons felt more annoying than anything. Though you do get a real sense of pride when you finish one!
Progressing through areas can get really annoying actually, with Dust, your little crow buddy not being all that too helpful. But if you keep your eyes open, your mind open and your wits about you, then it’s usually pretty obvious. Though I spent a lot of time bashing my head on a wall shouting at it.
A nifty little thing is that every time you load, the game tells what has happened previously, in a kind of story telling way. Which really sets the mood for the game.
In terms of length it’s pretty decent, the main story isn’t huge but it’s certainly not short. Added with the hidden objects, loot, and side quests, the game really lasts awhile and is more than worth the money.
I did manage to break the game and find a few wholes in the background. The biggest issues were pretty much me using free running to get to places where I shouldn’t. I also managed to get a hidden object or two that I shouldn’t have been able to reach early in the game.
The soundtrack is from the talented Jesper Kyd, who has worked on a hell of a lot of video game sound tracks, including Assassin’s Creed, Borderlands and Gears of War. He creates a soundtrack that really suits the game well, giving you a sense of real power as you rip things apart, squish, and smash with both weapons and fists.
There are all sorts of side quests, from feeding someone to getting a hammer for a guy who doesn’t even say thank you, prick. And things like cleaning up after people, in a sense. And picking up book pages.
And finally, I guess some of you are wondering if the game is like Zelda? Well, it certainly had the odd moment of “This feels a little Zeldaish.” But I never felt like I was playing a reskin of Zelda, or Prince of Persia before someone throws that one out. One thing I did notice, was that a gent called “Karn” seems to have the same role as the owl from Ocarina of Time. Standing around outside of dungeons and areas to chat away while time is ticking on the doom clock. But he has some uses
I have to say, I’ve never been so engaged in the universe of a video game, matched only by Star Wars, this game is truly immersive, interesting and complex. The landscapes, characters and combat are all brilliant. But Death’s head is really tiny, like really, really tiny, which made me laugh at the most inappropriate times.
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