Darksiders 2 Review

For the most part, Darksiders 2 is a perfectly serviceable game. Reveiews have been very favorable. And on the whole the game is decently fun to play and includes a lot of content. So if you were a fan of the first Darksiders title, you’ll probably enjoy what’s on offer here.

But Darksiders 2 certainly isn’t anything to scream about. While it’s a fairly long title with lots of content — it might push you as far as 25 or 30 hours if you really get into it — there’s literally nothing here we haven’t seen before. Darksiders 2 is an amalgamation of elements from lots of other games. Vigil’s title does it well, borrowing all those elements. It does combat really well. It’s not a bad game. It’s also not really a remarkable game.

Darksiders 2
Platforms: PC (reviewed), Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Developer: Vigil Games
Publisher: THQ
Released: August 21, 2012 (on PC)
MSRP: $59.99

Try to follow along here. Last time on Darksiders, you played War, who was tricked into riding to Earth to trigger the Apocalypse when it wasn’t really time for the Apocalypse. This resulted in a war between Heaven and Hell on Earth, which destroyed Earth. Then you were locked up for a hundred years before being judged by your bosses, the Charred Council. Then it turned out it was all a conspiracy and you absolved yourself. Great.

In Darksiders 2, you play Death, Horseman 2 of 4, during that weird blackout of 100 years. The Apocalypse as triggered by War resulted in the extermination of humanity, but Death figures, if humanity isn’t exterminated, then War is in the clear — essentially, a literal reading of the axiom “No harm, no foul.” Death is also super-crazy-loyal to War and is willing to do anything to see his innocence proven, or at least get him off the hook. So Death ventures out to find a way to revive all of humanity.

It reads weird on paper. It plays weirder in practice. The story of Darksiders 2 makes little to no sense throughout, but one thing it does do is lend itself to some cool settings and characters. The first place you visit is called The Forge Lands, and it’s a place populated by huge Scottish people who apparently make worlds. They also have a number of animated stone robots. You use these to solve puzzles.

Darksiders 2 is a mixture of puzzle-solving and fast-action combo-based combat in the best tradition of games like God of War. Essentially, in fact, this game is God of War, with maybe a little latter-day Prince of Persia or Assassin’s Creed thrown in. You’ll get your environmental puzzles, your block-pushing puzzles, your pressure-plate puzzles; you’ll climb walls, swing on grapple points, leap from hanging columns that you can rotate around. And you’ll fight a lot of guys by clicking furiously. Death carries his primary weapons, a pair of scythes, and secondary weapons you can find and equip that range from slow-moving giant hammers to fast bladed gauntlets.

Among the more fun systems in Darksiders 2 is its loot and inventory system. You’ll find new gear everywhere, from mob drops after you kill bosses and even standard enemies, to chests, to hidden locations you’ll miss as you explore the world. You’ll constantly be swapping out bits of gear for new ones, and after a while, you’ll find handy benefits like imbuing your weapons with frost or fire damage. Better still are a the few-and-far-between “possessed” weapons, to which you can feed your excess items to make them more powerful and give them new abilities and attributes.

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7 Comments on Darksiders 2 Review

Mike

On August 29, 2012 at 10:09 am

“Death is also super-crazy-loyal to War and is willing to do anything to see his innocence proven, or at least get him off the hook.”

This is actually a direct tie-in with the Darksiders novel “The Abomination Vault” where Death was forced to use War as bait without his knowledge in order to get rid of a fuel for these nasty superweapons Death made during his time as a nephilim (as in ripped apart an entire offshoot race of the makers to use them as parts). War ended up getting killed and Death was barely able to bring his soul back from the edge of the well. War was broken up thinking he failed Death, and Death felt too ashamed and guilty that he used War without his knowledge that he didn’t tell him what truly happened and left War in the dark. Death swore to himself that he would never let anything like that happen again; and if War ever needed him, no matter the circumstance, he would go to Oblivion itself to see his brother aided, in order to pay for a debt he feels he should never be absolved from.

It was nice that they included that part of his personality, but I wish they had told people the why instead of letting people think it was just because they were brothers.

Mike

On August 29, 2012 at 10:11 am

circumstance*

Mike

On August 29, 2012 at 10:12 am

Wtf? Why does your comment box keep changing the word circumstance?

Axetwin

On August 29, 2012 at 10:53 am

Phil, in the grand scheme, would you say this game is better than the first?

With the first game, I felt that for a game that so heavily relied on both platforming and hack ‘n slash, it didnt do either of those very well. I thought the platforming controls were way too loose and at time unresponsive and the combat was just slow and at times extremely infuriating (counter attack arena anyone?). Has the platforming been tightened up and more importantly does the combat flow much smoother?

Phil Hornshaw

On August 29, 2012 at 11:23 am

@axetwin

Yeah, I think so. I liked the first game pretty well but it didn’t hold my attention. Darksiders 2 is pretty adept at everything it tries to do and be, apart from a few issues. The platforming is mostly pretty solid and the combat is actually pretty great a lot of the time. Other than when the camera gets crammed into a corner. Overall, though, Darksiders 2 is an improvement and a decent game; it’s just that it’s mostly a retread.

Mike

On August 29, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I don’t think of it as a retread, they are telling a different aspect of the story from a different point of view. Lilith’s plans went deep, and it looks like we won’t get the whole story without seeing the other riders’ perspectives as well.

Phil Hornshaw

On August 29, 2012 at 12:08 pm

@Mike

Not a story retread — it’s definitely very different. But a gameplay retread. There’s not really anything in DS2 that you haven’t seen in other games.