Darksiders 2 is the sequel to THQ’s hit release from 2010. The game takes everything there was to love about the original and super-sizes it, providing players with a much longer, more enjoyable experience. I think it’s safe to say that anyone who was having doubts about this sequel need not worry, as it would appear that Vigil Games have come out on top once again. We review Darksiders 2 on the PS3.
Darksiders 2 follows on from the prequel, taking place during War’s 100 year imprisonment. With War locked away, the game shifts focus to a new protagonist, placing players in control of his brother, Death. The story follows Death as he fights to prove his brother’s innocence by restoring the humanity that War took from the world. Admittedly a title reverse for “Death”, but awesome all the same!
Combat in Darksiders 2 is a lot more defined than it was in the original, as the game moves away from repetitive button mash combos in favour of precision timed blows. It’s this precision that allows players to string together their combos in a much more fluid manner, which whilst not quite at the level of Arkham City, still makes for a more enjoyable experience. If anything, the only issue I had with the game’s combat was its bazaar (and by that I mean non-existent) blocking system. Blocking in Darksiders 2 has been replaced with a dodge feature, which requires players to hit the controllers trigger with precision, at which point Death barrel rolls out of the way. Unfortunately this also throws him away from the enemies altogether, leading to this awkward turn back around and fight scenario.
Past the game’s wild acrobatics and slick combos, players will occasionally find that their fighting skills are pushed that little bit further with the game’s various boss encounters. As far as games go, Darksiders 2 has a surprising wealth of boss encounters, which improves the overall experience, as you rarely find yourself ploughing through hundreds of standard enemies for that extra challenge.
The game makes use of a loot system, which I feel is easiest to compared to that seen with the likes of Diablo, adding weapons, health enhancements and even collectable items, such as “Death Pages” to the game. The loot system is a decent addition to the game and really does enhance the player’s overall experience, as it provides constant opportunity to shake things up with new weapons and upgrades, making their kills a little less repetitive, and of course, much easier with the multitude of health boosts! The game even touches on upgradeable weapons, as a rare few weapons are free to be “possessed” by other weapons, enhancing their strength. If anything, this was the only issue I had with game’s weapons system, as there wasn’t really an option to have a favourite weapon that could be upgraded, but rather a stronger one that would always out-shine your old one.
Another notable feature of Darksiders 2 is its skill system. Skills play a major role in Darksiders 2, assisting you not only with combat situations, but also you navigate the game’s many puzzles and dungeons. The game does a great job to introduce new skills, as it often links them in with puzzles, making for an overall less tedious game experience, as the game constantly maintains a fresh feeling. Many of the skills themselves are introduced through puzzles, making them a lot less tedious to complete.
Darksiders 2 is a big game and it’s often hard to forget what you were doing, especially after taking a break. Fortunately there game accommodates for this with its mini-map and crow markers, which provide you with constant guidance if lost. The crow marker is particularly useful, as players are able to send out their Crow for a helpful hint to their next destination, even when navigating dungeon areas.
Visually, Darksiders 2 follows a style similar to the original game, sticking with the same toon-shaded stylings that worked so well the first time around. There’s almost a World of Warcraft vibe to the game, which is something that I feel works well when dealing with universes like that of Darksiders, which are mobbed with crazy character and environment models. This visual style is complemented further by the game’s occasional use of moving comic-book dialogue in place of cut-scenes. If anything this similar art direction does not only benefit by improving the play experience, but also helps the game feel more like a sequel, transitioning graphical improvements of the years in a more gentle manner.