Darksiders 2 Review
Combat has its ups and downs, but is generally a good time. Death unlocks a number of abilities that will allow you to take advantage of a number of strategies. You can go straight melee, linking together fast attacks with his two weapons and throwing in a few special abilities like a teleportation strike. Or you can summon zombies and crows to fight for you, evening the odds a little. You earn skill points to unlock and increase these powers, and while it’s possible to unlock every ability, doing so means each ability remains at its weakest.
There’s a ton of depth in Darksiders 2, something that really plays in its favor. It’s linked together by open world elements that have you exploring for hidden objects and completing sidequests, which is nice to break up the primary flow of the game, which is to pound through dungeons finding ways to open doors. The world of Darksiders 2 is a nice place to visit, with lots of variety.
Lots of little issues hold back the whole, however. Combat is fun, but the combat camera is a homicidal sociopath and always seems bent on rotating just as you’re hoping to dodge an enemy coming in for the kill. This gets irritating quite often, especially when you’re forced to fight in one of the smaller venues into which Darksiders 2 routinely boxes you. The camera bounces sporadically off the walls or pins itself in corners, where Death gets cut apart. This happens all the time.
Level design, too, is often far more complex than necessary, and this leads to wasted player time. Sometimes maps are clever; other times, they’re just a confusing maze in which all the doors and passages look the same and the path forward isn’t clear. Death brings along a somewhat unreliable crow whose job is to point him toward the next proper door, but that crow often gets just as lost as the player. At least there’s a fast-travel option to instantly depart a dungeon and head to the next objective.
It’s been well-documented that Vigil’s PC port of Darksiders 2 is lackluster at best. There are virtually no graphical controls and it seems what you can alter — V-Sync, specifically — doesn’t, uh, actually work. The mouse-and-keyboard control setup isn’t great, either. I’d cleared a big chunk of the game before I finally realized where the menu for remapping buttons was (it’s couched with your inventory and skill menus for some reason), and really, Darksiders 2 was built for a control pad and it feels like a control pad game. Vigil might be releasing a patch to add more PC options, but for the moment, this is just a console game you can play on PC. The experience is probably a better one with a gamepad in hand, and possibly with that game pad connected to a console.
In terms of the game as a whole, the little irritants pile up, scouring away at the fun Darksiders 2 presents. And it is fun, often throwing out giant boss fights and beautiful scenery. The fun things and the annoying ones seem to cancel each other, and the remainder of Darksiders 2 is a long and deep game filled specifically with tried-and-true elements. The troublesome thing, perhaps, is that we’ve been playing this game for two whole generations now. There’s nothing in Darksiders 2 that hasn’t been done somewhere else — done with more novelty, certainly, and perhaps with more tact and intelligence too.
But Darksiders 2 will keep you busy a long time — my fairly sidequest-less run lasted just shy of 24 hours. And it excels in competency of its many elements. It’s by no means bad, even with its annoyances. But it adds nothing to the conversation of gaming.
- Huge world with lots to do
- Combat is generally fun and deep
- Lots of loot to find
- Big bosses to kill
- Beautiful (if confusing) worlds
- Confusing, somewhat nonsensical story
- Maze-like level design gets frustrating
- Indecisive, schizophrenic combat camera
- Reuses a ton of ideas and mechanics from other games, doesn’t really add any
Final Score: 70/100