Darksiders IIfollows the journey of Death as he hacks and slashes his way through the realms to clear the name of his brother War who, as many know, was the catalyst for the fall of man in the first Darksiders. Darksiders II continues the excellent storytelling that dominated Part One and expands on the origins of the Horsemen in great detail. We learned that the Horsemen are the last remaining members of a race called the Nephilim. The Nephilim are the result of a fusion between angels and demons. Death is particularly interesting because he actually was tasked with killing his fellow brothers and sisters to preserve the balance of the universe. Death is not one to sit by and watch his brother blamed for something he did not do. His journey and growth as a character throughout the story were huge factors in my enjoyment of this game.
Darksiders II had various graphical improvements throughout the game and the work Vigil put into the character designs was stellar. Characters like Samael and Lilith had tremendous detail and looked amazing in HD. I did notice that some of the Makers in the Forge Lands seemed a bit flat and washed out, but given the time spent in that stage I did not stress it too much. The other stages had substantially better detail and really showed the growth of not only of Vigil’s design but of the Darksiders universe as a whole. Of all the stages in the game I really liked the designs of Lostlight (Angel Realm) and Shadow’s Edge (Demon Realm). The amount of detail in each of those stages were phenomenal and looked amazing in 1080p. Now while I can discuss the ins and outs of the stages, the real design work was put into Death himself who constantly evolves throughout the game. Through various upgrades, Death’s appearance is altered and every subtle change is noticeable with the sole exception being the amulet upgrades which I did not really see on the character. Death was very lean and adept and could travel through areas very quickly due to his wall-running technique. Death did not travel alone as his companions Dust (the crow) and Despair ( his horse) were both accessible throughout the game. You will come to rely on Dust to guide you quite a bit.
The controls for this game were mostly similar to the first and were easy to pick up. Every button on the controller had a purpose and the four face buttons could be mapped to a variety of special moves you pick up throughout the game. Wall-running took a bit of getting used to, but once mastered it becomes second nature. I did get caught in some cheap deaths with the wall-running that tested my patience, but it was not the worst things in the world.
The online component is community based and relies on leaderboards to compete against other players. There is also a gift component where players can share upgraded weapons that I really did not use, but it has been talked about quite a bit in the gamefaq and Darksiders message boards. I know a few players already laying waste in The Crucible and reaping many rewards.
Darksiders II continues leading the way with excellent storytelling and engaging characters that draw players into an awesome world that Joe Madureira keeps evolving. While the storytelling was fantastic, there were some play aspects and glitches I did come across. While an integral part of the gameplay, the platforming in the game did lead to quite a few expletives due to the cheap deaths I suffered. Also, freezing in the game seems to hit and miss for many people. I had it occur once, but others like Slick had it happen more often. Not sure if the PS3 version has more freezes than the 360 but it is something that needs to be fixed. I also did not like that there were these vast areas with minimal bad guys to fight. It seemed like most times you were secretly hoping to be attacked by baddies. I am not sure if this was a conscious decision on the developers part, but it definitely took away from the constant hack and slash we all got accustomed to in the first game. Lastly, I would like to say that the game's difficulty seemed a bit easy in my opinion. I played it on “Normal” and Slick played it on “Apocalyptic” and we both came to the same conclusion which should not be the case. Overall, Darksiders II was an exciting game from start to finish and much like the first game, I cannot wait for the next chapter in the stories of The Four Horsemen.
Slick's Nit-Picks: Darksiders II (mytakeradio.com)