Initially released in 2012 to a mostly positive reception and as a sequel- to the 2010 original Darksiders game. After the demise of Vigil Games & THQ, Darksiders 2 has been resurrected by new publisher Nordic Games, with a vision of imposing life back into the franchise.
For anyone not in the know and who may have missed the last gens effort like myself, you take control of Death, who happens to be the eldest of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse, and generally someone you do not want to **** with. One of his fellow Horseman, aptly named War has been taken prisoner and is being held responsible for crimes basically relating to his birth name. Death doesn’t appreciate this so sets out with assistance from his trusty steed ‘Despair’, and a GPS guiding Raven named ‘Dust’ to both free his brother by proving his innocence and simultaneously resurrecting humanity
Darksiders at its basics is a role-playing action game with puzzle elements and an abundance of hack & slash, with the primary weapon being a pair of well-honed scythes you’re more likely to be hacking than handshaking. Secondary weapons are also freely available such as axes, maces & hammers all with their relevant damage wielding stats, in addition to butchering implements such as extended Wolverine claws and other bladed arm-extensions there is a massive variety of tools you can ‘windmill’ aggressively whilst chaining hits into your enemies.
Your foes come in a mixture of all shapes and sizes, however, other than the big boss characters no real strategy is required to slay them down, await their attack, dodge and hit them on the counter-attack is usually enough to show success, what can prove tough and can make it initially tricky early on is they do attack in groups and at the same time. The massive bosses on the other hand, do require the use of your special abilities like the grapple, once obtained, in order to lay the smack down.
Each kill provides experience points and destroying enough enemies earns you points to spend on new abilities across two skill trees – Harbinger and Necromancer. The first assists you in battle where the second deals with spells, you can focus on one of the tracks or branch out to both as you progress, There are about thirty different skills in all, ranging from dealing additional damage to gaining health from downed enemies to summoning bloodthirsty ghouls or a murder of crows to tag in and fight alongside Death.
Currency is dropped by enemies and chests, and can also be acquired by selling items to vendors. Special “Possessed weapons” are rarely acquired, which provide an excellent mechanic for trading in items, possessed weapon can be upgraded by “sacrificing” standard items to it, and you’ll spend a fair amount of time clearing down your inventory to max out these weapons.
Graphically adding dynamic shadows, the resolution has been raised up to 1080p and locked the frame rate at 30fps, which is a shade disappointing that they couldn’t squeeze out double that to complement Deaths fluid acrobatics. It’s clear to see why when the action heats up the game can stutter which shouldn’t really be a thing this gen, overall there doesn’t seem a great leap from last gen. The time I feel should have been spent on tidying up these issues, a bit of polish would have gone a long way on potentially securing enough attention to warrant a follow-up adventure with either Strife or Fury.
The levels are huge and littered with sub-quests, dungeons, collectibles, to keep you busy between the major plot points & story advancement. In addition to your deathly horse there is a fast travel system in place to get you to where you need to be. The puzzles mostly involve navigating platform sections , jumping on ledges, across beams and running across walls through dungeon areas, these can initially be tricky to see where your next step is. The camera angles at times did lead to frustration, there is definitely an amount of challenge in them and this increases as your skills and journey advances.
Darksiders 2 is currently available for around £20 on PS4 and Xbox One, and whilst the price is definitely a plus for anyone yet to have experienced it and makes it great value for money especially as it includes all the DLC which has been cleverly spliced into the game, the silly season is right on our doorstep. Triple A titles are being released weekly right up to the end of the year, and with a guaranteed 30+ hour of game play, time must really be on your side if you’re able to shoe horn this title in amongst everything else being released, It may have actually paid off to hold off on the release until early 2016. Having said that, the combat is tight and enjoyable and the storyline is compelling, so maybe you should pick this up now and store it in your inventory until the seasonal hype dies down.
Excellent boss fights
Good RPG elements
Glitches & frame rate issues
Made minimal use of the next gen hardware