Posted: May 29
‘As you Sow, So shall you Reap’
‘Darksiders 2’ is an engaging, well-crafted Action-RPG that borrows liberally from some of the best games of its generation to create a fun distraction for fans of the ‘hack-n-slash’ genre. A fantastic art style, fluid and satisfying combat mechanics, and a protagonist dripping with raw machismo are highlights in an ambitious, grand scaled, if technically blemished, romp through the Outer Realm’s. Campaign:
Developed by Vigil Games | THQ and released in late-2012, ‘Darksiders 2’ is a sequel to 2010’s ‘Darksiders’ that focuses broadly on the four ‘Horsemen of the Apocalypse’. While the first game focused on the character ‘War’, this title picks up the threads and introduces gamers to ‘Death’ - the ‘Grim Reaper’ in human form - a masked, twin-scythe wielding specter, rippling with muscle and barely contained rage. The opening credits depict a Universe all consumed by war, and a seismic, fundamental shift in the natural balance between life and death. Facing oblivion, Humanity finds itself at a crossroads, and beholden to the most unlikely of saviors as ‘Death’ swears an oath to restore order to the Realm’s. Gameplay | Graphics | Sound:
Gameplay is oriented decidedly toward the ‘Action’ side of the ‘Action-RPG’ – with ‘Character Customization’ and ‘Combat’ taking precedence over other RPG staples like ‘Inventory Management’ or ‘Dialogue-Driven Storytelling’. Large, varied and well conceived maps do well to convey a sense of immense size and scale as you traverse the Realm’s on both main story missions and side quests – with a good mix of Platforming, Puzzle and Combat sections providing for great overall variety along the way. Loot from hidden ‘Chests’, ‘Gold’ and earned ‘XP’ can be exchanged for a variety of clothing, armor, and weapon upgrades, as well as to unlock increasingly devastating powers organized into 2 Skill Trees – ‘Harbinger’ and ‘Necromancer’ - featuring powerful QTE-driven Attacks, Health Bonuses, the ability to Summon Minions, transformation into ‘Reaper’ Form etc. Combat mechanics are fast, fluid and bone-crushingly satisfying as you utilize primary, secondary and tertiary weapons in a variety of combinations to devastating effect. A fantastic art style, boss battles on an epic scale, and responsive controls (for both K&M | Controller) round out a well-designed package. Flaws:
For all it does well, the game is not without some significant missteps however - a shallow plotline (dominated entirely by ‘fetch’ quests), extremely linear gameplay, wonky camera angles at the most inopportune times, occasional hit- and ledge- detection glitches, subpar graphics and textures (as an unoptimized console port) – are not game-breaking in and of themselves, but do accumulate to drag the overall experience well down. Sound Design is also particularly underwhelming with long periods of minimal background sound only occasionally punctuated by lifts during key moments, which when combined with poor voice-acting across the board, lowers the overall immersion value immensely. Perhaps its most egregious offence however is the inescapable sense that you have played large portions of this game, verbatim, somewhere before – and if you’ve played legendary titles like ‘God of War’, ‘Prince of Persia’, ‘Legend of Zelda’ etc - you will instantly recognize likenesses in character, combat, weapons, platforming, wall-running, puzzle sections etc from those classic games.
Overall, ‘Darksiders 2’ is an entertaining adventure game on a grand scale, boasting a memorable lead character, fantastic art style, fluid combat and great gameplay variety - and much like a summer ‘Popcorn Flick’ - it’s a fun, action-packed distraction for its average 30-40 hour playtime. A largely forgettable plot, that inescapable sense of being ‘Manufactured’ – i.e. rolling up a lot of great ideas from classic games into one that ultimately adds/has no new ideas or soul of its own, and an arms-length laundry list of technical miscues, hold back a good game from becoming great on its own merit. Well Recommended for Action-RPG fans! - Rated (8.4/10)