Posted: April 11
Following off the heels of the original Darksiders, Darksiders II sees the player as another Horseman of the Apocalype, Death. Set before/during the original game, Death sets off on a quest to redeem his exiled brother War and restore humanity. The plot starts out nteresting but quickly withers away in to a series of fetch quests, with Death as nothing more than an errand boy for the various figures he meets.
Gameplay is much improved from the first game's already solid base, with combat being much less repetitive thanks to the addition of several alternate weapon types. Magic is much more useful this time around as Death is a bit squishier than War. You can summon ghoulish minions, ghostly crows or teleport across the battlefield with relative ease. A Diablo style loot system is in place, constantly spewing new weapons and armor with differing stats at the player.
Death has access to his horse from the get-go (thank god) which helps traverse the much expanded worlds. While the overworlds are somewhat sparse, the first two feature a wealth of optional dungeons, some of which contain unique bosses. The final three worlds are barely more than hallways leading to their respective dungeons, which is a shame. One has an extended shooter section which seems very out of place. A multi-round arena heps showcase the combat while rewarding the player with nice loot.
While the art style holds true to the original (THERE IS A PLANET OF SKELETONS), animations during non-cinematic conversations are quite stiff, and resemble something out of a bad mass effect knockoff. Each world (Barring one, which is a glorified rail shooter) has a few NPCs clustered together, acting as shopkeepers, questgivers and loremasters. Dialogue is good, with Death having a fairly dry sense of humor (in a good way). The story sadly devolves into some very cliche trite at the end, being forced to segue in to Darksiders 1's cliffhanger.
All in all, Darksiders II is a fairly competent action game with awesome Zelda style dungeons, starting off with a bombastic first two worlds befote screeching to a jarring halt at the end. Despite featuring multiple worlds to explore, the game rounds out at the same length as it's predecessor. There's enough content to keep you hooked until the end, but that end comes far too soon, thanks to a dying THQ rushing it out early. Supposedly the DLC helps with this, but maybe if THQ released those in the full game, they'd still be here today.