Darksiders 2 Review (PS3)

 Death has never been this fun

Sequels in the video game world are usually a blessing. Most of you are probably familiar with typical reviewer comments like “The guys at Vigil Games took everything that was great about the original, expanded on it, improved or replaced what wasn’t working, and made a kick-ass sequel that’s has surpassed it’s predeccesor in almost every way.”

Well for Darksiders II, that holds true.

If you didn’t play the original Darksiders, it was kind of hailed as a ‘sleeper hit.’ It didn’t garner a lot of attention before it’s release, but when it did people loved it. My personal favorite way of describing it to people was like “Legend of Zelda for adults.” If you were like me, and dropped hundreds of hours into replays of Ocarina of Time as a kid (I beat it nine separate times) you would instantly notice some of the parallels. Dungeon’s with rooms and puzzles, keys to find, maps to pull out of treasure chests, hookshots, and boss fights at the end of the dungeon. It was bliss.

Darksiders II keeps to the formula, while expanding into areas that make it feel more like an RPG, and also more original. The good news is, you don’t need to have played the first game to enjoy this title.

I’m going to keep this short and simple, since I’d imagine you have as much time to read this review as I have to write it.

Overview

Darksiders II is an action adventure role-playing video game developed by Vigil Games and published by THQ. In the game, you take on the role of Death, one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, in an interesting take on the old Biblical tale of the doom of man.

Through a combination of action oriented combat (think God of War), RPG level ups and inventory, dungeon crawling like The Legend of Zelda, exploration encouragement like every good RPG ever made, Prince of Persia style platforming, and solid voice acting and music, the game comes away with a familiar package of elements that creates a distinct, and incredibly fun to play package of a game.

What’s improved?

Horses – That’s right. The horsemen actually gets a horse. Awesome.

Open World / Non-Linear – The game has gone from having a central hub to having a huge sprawling overworld map that encourages exploration and pursuing side quests. When I first arrived I spent time crawling around in dungeons I had no business in being in, but that only made it more awesome when I returned and solved them.

Story – The story here is a lot more cohesive and follows an easier to understand story arc. You play as Death, who is out to free his brother War and clear his name since right now the Charred Council (read: old beings who are in charge of making sure supernatural rules don’t get broken) are holding him responsible for starting the Apocalypse and destroying Mankind. Death is a lot easier to sympathize with since he has a pretty noble cause, and he also has a sense of humor, much unlike his more grumpy (I don’t know, maybe he was just pissed about being blamed for the whole apocalypse thing) brother.

Music – The music has improved and gotten much more varied. Although there is a standard “combat track,” the music is interesting enough to where it actually grabbed my four-year old’s attention.

Combat – Combat is largely the same with one major change: more weapons. There are a number of different secondary weapon types, each with different attack animations, that can be looted from mob-drops or found in chests scattered throughout dungeons and the world map. This makes combat more interesting and also allows for different strategies against different enemies.

Addictive-ness – In the first Darksiders, the pacing wasn’t always how I wanted it. I often felt like I was plowing forward. In Darksiders II, I’ve felt as if i was being PROPELLED forward. I was compelled to search one more dungeon, look for one more upgrade, get one more level up before putting down the controller.

RPG-Elements – The first game had a very simple progression system with no actual levels, it was more based around strengthening your weapons while collecting items that would give you more life/mana. This time around we get a full blown inventory system, leveling, detailed stats, and more variety in ways to kill things. RPG enthusiasts should rejoice.

 

Who will like this game

If you were a fan of Legend of Zelda in it’s heyday on N64, you will enjoy this game, a lot. Action-RPG enthusiasts (with the emphasis on action) should also find a happy home here enjoying the constant dropping of loot while slaying baddies and dungeon crawling.

Darksiders II is truly a gamer’s game, especially for those of us who have been playing games for a good 15+ years or so.

Should ya buy it?

Well I did. I had to sell a bunch of games to do it too.

This season there weren’t a lot of other titles I was excited about between the Summer and October when Dishonored comes out. So, there wasn’t a lot of competition. Regardless, The original was a game I really enjoyed and I knew the sequel wouldn’t let me down. If Adventure/Action-RPG makes it onto your favorite genre list, then you owe it to yourself to check this out.

 

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