Darksiders II Review
Darksiders II merges action, exploration, and loot-driven progression into an excellent and sizable adventure.
- Fluid, colorful action that evolves over time
- Clever, progressively more challenging environmental puzzles
- Allure of new, cool loot pushes you onward
- Expansive adventure, with lots of dungeons to explore
- Great audiovisual presentation sets the right apocalyptic tone.
- Performance issues and execution foibles
- Disappointing bosses, especially the final boss.
First comes War; then comes Death. Appropriately enough, Darksiders II turns its eyes from its predecessor's protagonist to a new one: Death himself, War's brother and one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. His story plays out over the same time period as War's, but Darksiders II's narrative isn't so much about plot as it is about place and tone. The original Darksiders set a darkly fantastical mood, but the sequel hones its edges. The armor is still chunky and the sound of steel on steel still rings across battle arenas, but the skies are more ominous, the shadows grimmer, and the architecture sharper, as if every spire threatens to puncture the heavens and make them bleed.
And so Darksiders II draws you in not by narrative, in spite of its characters' frequent and raspy soliloquizing. Rather, it uses sights and sounds to impress upon you the importance of your deeds. While one level harks back to the angels-versus-demons, Christian apocalypse themes of the original game, Darksiders II springs forth from a more inventive vision. The dusky dungeons and desert expanses are more diverse than before, and the character designs are more imaginative, as if they've wandered in from biblical legends you've never heard. The characters you meet--undead rulers and impossibly proportioned behemoths among them--speak with humorless gravity, and Death often responds with a sneer and a verbal challenge.
The joylessness of Darksiders II's characters is a contrast to the pleasure of existing in this world. An icy opening introduces you to the basics of combat and movement. In traditional action game style, you slash away at clawed creatures with primary and secondary weapons. You run along walls and jump across beams like a devilish Prince of Persia. But most importantly--and in contrast to the original--your enemies drop coins, armor, and weapons. You can don equipment, sell it to a merchant, or sacrifice it to level up rare possessed weapons, which you can customize at certain thresholds.
If the original Darksiders was an action/adventure/puzzle game, then the addition of loot drops role-playing elements into that mix, which brings to mind a potential concern: Darksiders was already a heavy mixture of recipes that had come before, recalling games like The Legend of Zelda, God of War, and even Portal. There were so many mechanics and so many tools to keep track of that the game struggled to find its own identity.
In Darksiders II, a funny thing happens on the way to the apocalypse: it establishes an identity all its own, rather than one defined through the games that inspired its existence. The game's expanded scope (about twice as big as the first game) and thoughtful pace (about twice as long as the first game) are most responsible for this. You now have a chance to breathe between battles, and each new mechanic has time to settle in before a new one is introduced. The more leisurely sense of pace is obvious from the very beginning. Darksiders' first hour was front-loaded with explosions, angelic cries, and the bloodcurdling sights of demonic forces swarming across the earth. Here, there are moments to take in the frozen chasms beneath you, and to enjoy the slick new motion mechanics that have you defying gravity in heady flights of fancy. (You won't miss War's wings in light of Death's fleet-footedness.)
You might miss the up-front barrage of action at first, but Darksiders II is more about adventure than constant onslaught, though there are plenty of battles waiting ahead. As you ride your steed to the first main dungeon, you can relish the green fields of the first of multiple major regions, and simply enjoy the act of being. If you want, you can explore some of the surrounding ruins, where treasure chests protect valuable pauldrons and cloaks. Or you can slash up the baddies that roam the land, even from atop your horse. But once you get into the dungeons, Darksiders II becomes special--more cerebral than your average action game, and more energetic than your average exploration game.
As expected, each dungeon requires that you puzzle out how to get from one point to the next. At first, this involves scaling walls, throwing the naturally occurring bombs you stumble upon, and pulling a few levers. Then, you get a phantom grapple hook that allows you to swing from glowing hooks and extend your wall runs. Later, you split yourself in three, petrifying your main form and using two doppelgangers to stand on switches and move platforms. Ultimately, you fire portals to travel across great ravines and even through time itself--and these are hardly the extent of the tools you use to make progress through Darksiders II's clever self-contained puzzles.
The bosses in the first dark siders were incredibly easy aswell once you figured out how to beat them.
Kevin hit this review spot on (unlike IGN's review). Great minds think alike. Yes I realize I'm late to the game in posting :)
This game is amazing got it for free. Points2shop is amazing the reason why being cause it ships fast and well really amazing. I just bought cod black ops 2 hardened edition for free with my points . And it normally cost about 90 dollars great deal huh? Thee best if y'all don't believe check my referral link and join. Check my stats.
As TomJimJack says this is a very pale shadow of Prince of Persia that didn't have so many points of this one.
There are impossible bosses ( for me, and of course most people ). I fight against the Phareesian and I only see whites zeros without doing any harm to the boss. I can't pass from here! I advise all the people " don't buy this game because you only will profit half of the game".
@Jomapil Odd. I fought this boss with no issues (Apocalyptic mode). I think at that point you should contact their customer service and ask for a little bit of guidance...no games are perfect! Even Diablo had an enemy that you couldn't kill once lol (poor example..that game was riddled with issues LOL). Probably an issue that can be fixed...but you can't condemn a game developers put a lot of time and love into because one of a zillion possible issues (in any game) pops up! I truly believe many people will love this game and comments like this will deter that experience! I hope this helps. :)
@Jomapil Some of the bosses are "Puzzle type bosses"...can be figured out
The review is fair. Given how the enemies have different attacks and get right in your face in apocalyptic mode...the bosses kind of just fit a very solidified, and structured way of attacking you...doesn't take advantage of the fact that death is extremely agile. But the game as a whole is great!
What would be a great game became a frustration! There are enemies in exaggeration. Some of the bosses are impossible to beat even with codes. It could be an honorable follow-up of Prince of Persia but the makers of the game failed.
I hope that if there is a continuation they must be reasonable and well-balanced. It only remains to run the trainer and cry the money I spent with it.
The names of the two other riders are adaptados.Recuerden this title draws on the Book of Revelation, the book is not si.El game seems best left to the epic title Darksiders fecha.El first was very good, but the second installment is far greater than anterior.Ami humble opinion along behind Gears of War are the best titulos.Juego the Xbox version 360.El character of Death is Magnifico.Y remember, all without exception some day we will all see their face
@ardientemetal Chido your review, but creo que alot of gueyes are not going to entender what you escribiste. I had fun thou:)
Ja ja ja!! I write in Spanish .excuse me for my English.I hope this is understood.The names of the other two riders were adapted to make them more enjoyable.Darksiders 1 and 2 are based on the book of Revelation the Holy Bible, not the book itself. Darksiders 2 is the best epic title of the year 2012.The first was very good, but Darksiders 2 is much better. Together with Gears of War are the best titles for Xbox 360.Death is the great character ,And remember, everyone, without exception, one day we will see your face@trrrrrrrr
All I want to know before I spend anymore time at all with this game...The pistol you get , it says its from his brother "strife"....ok , do the correct this anytime later with a proper name for the other 2 horsemen? I hope that is just one of his names or something...because if they can't get the names right for Famine and Pestilence , I really have no interest at all in spending any more time with the game...The 4 horsemen are War , Famine , Pestilence and Death...
@elxist Vigil renamed Famine and Pestilence to sound better for them. Strife and Fury are the names Vigil made instead for them. It's not that they didn't get the name right it's that Strife and Fury sounds better for them.
Darksiders 1 is way better,the whole new rpg element ruined this game anyone who likes darksiders 2 better than the first one is a big fan rpgs
@a_eazaz i agree, darksiders 1 was an hack n slash fun with lil rpg elements to spare..Darsiders 2 felt like skyrim in 3 person view period with a darker character that actually have fighting motion elements.....Point is Darksiders 2 is an rpg game....not an Action rpg game
About 14 hours of gameplay so far, gotta admit I'm enjoying it! But of course nothing is perfect, I think those "puzzles" were more than challenging, more like a nuisance as most of them so far don't actually resort to logic, but to imagine how the dev wanted it to be solved, plus the level design don't have a flow, sometimes you have to stop and look all over the place to find that ledge that has the same color of the scenario to go up/down, and I don't mean it should be easier, but for an action/adventure game to have (untill now) 14 hours of game and only about 2 of combat is kinda frustrating. As I'm on the PC version I also noticed the lack of options to customize the graphics, the game is perfectly fluid and the graphics are beautiful, but I have no idea if that's it's capabilities or because my monitor is smaller the specs are locked. I think so far I would give the game an 8.0
THQ forgot to send their check I see...I know Kevin severely underrates and overrates some games, but he's just being abusive now. I liked the way he described games in his reviews at first, but it's clear that's this guy isn't even a gamer, or at least he wasn't before it became a thing he could get a job to do. I'd bet he's a journalism major who stopped playing games in junior high.
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@Gelugon_baat I forgot to mention intent. I usually say this, but in case you missed it, I look for honest in reviews so I can base what they say about the game against what I know of games, perhaps the developers (or parties involved) and make an educated purchase. Some games are cheap enough to experiment, but other game reviews should be so honest because others may base their review on what you say about the game, which although modified by opinion IS A RECOMMENDATION TO PURCHASE OR NOT TO PURCHASE. Game reviews are not just plain opinion, I repeat they are recommendations for a purchase. That's why game scores matter to publishers. That's how they are used and that's what they stand for.
If I was to go on Kevin's reviews, I'd look for it he genuinely likes the game. If he does he will review it accurately. If it's not genuine, but he can't review it poorly it's overrated. If he doesn't like it, but it's actually good, and he is allowed to, he'll underrate it. He may also underrate games he actually hasn't given a chance he wouldn't like it if fully indulged in.
@Gelugon_baat Honesty and truth are things you call your "word."
@Gelugon_baat ""Truth" is not "truth" if there is no empiric evidence. Opinions are not yardsticks for truth. "
Wrong. When speaking of things like opinion, truth in opinion doesn't require empirical evidence, just personal authenticity, which obviously can't be verified. That's why it's so important to not get caught in lies for these people.
I'm glad there are more sources of information, but one source that is verifiably honest is good enough. After all, EGM and Gamepro didn't just have one reviewer. They had several just like the sites of today, but it WAS enough. You could pretty much know what you're getting, except to the occasional hidden gem I mentioned that gets looked over or not reviewed. Of course I had my favorite reviewers because those were the guys you could trust to point out a good game, never had I purchased a bad game thinking it would be good back then if it was reviewed. EVER. If it was E.G.M gold or platinum, it WAS good. That meant four reviewers agreed. Sometimes we would get angry a really good game didn't get gold or platinum, but that could be because one reviewer didn't like it at all while the other 3 did. No matter, you just sided with the reviewers you could trust with like tastes. Like I said, good games could be overlooked, maybe even because so many other good games were out, but never would you be mislead like so many current game reviews that make it difficult to find what opinions are true and false.
And whatever you're talking about game reviews not influencing purchases is just silly. What you mean is it doesn't have the final say or it isn't the ONLY effect. Huge corporations like CBS wouldn't bother if it didn't bring in huge money from publishers who KNOW it has an effect.
@Gelugon_baat We just had to know what was good because we only got maybe a rental a week and 2-3 game purchases a year. We were screwed if it was just going to sit on the shelf. For a while, there wasn't any method of getting rid of games except if we found someone who wanted to trade.
@Gelugon_baat If you're so okay with them being authentic and you're absolutely sure they're not corrupt, good for you. I'll continue to speculate and conjecture wherever I detect dishonesty. Honesty of course it in the matter of truth, so no, it's not subjective. Where you get confused is where I say I demand honesty in opinion. If I call a girl ugly when I in fact think she is gorgeous, that of course is a lie, but she wouldn't know it. I'm telling her what I want her to hear or the nearby audience to think I think. That's where I'd start the chain. If honesty doesn't matter to her or the people who heard the "opinion" no further evidence would be sought.
I'm guessing you're on some existentialist flavor, where you think EVERYTHING is subjective. Kid, these guys are working. This is a job. What they do are recommendations to purchase or not to purchase. If you don't have the facts AND the honest opinion of the judges, we might as well go back to the days prior to Nintendo Power and before Gamepro and EGM and just buy any crappy game that had good box art and decent screenshots.
You know what people used to do when they got bad games before selling to pawn shops was widespread? They would trade to friends. Then when Blockbuster and the supermarkets started to rent games, people would swap the stickers on the bad games they had with the good games they rented. Alot of the time they wouldn't even be found out. Blockbuster was always good about that though, but Phar-mor was basically a crap shoot when we went to go rent games. Now Gamestop shelves are littered with copies of games with inaccurate reviews that cause an excessive amount of purchases.
Believe it or not, EGM and Gamepro saved people ALOT of money and wasted time. Of course we also started to realize the 6.0-7.0 range games weren't always terrible and often worth rentals or on Toys-R-Us price reductions and much later used, just not worth full sticker price.
@Gelugon_baat I think your mistake is thinking I demand anything of them except them be themselves. You can't force somebody to be "consistent." Meaning that don't have to like all Final Fantasy games or RPGs just because they like another. Dishonesty usually results in irrationality. Such as liking Borderlands, but not liking Rage or Bulletstorm (unless it's explained that a boring game with co-op is better than superior games that lack co-op).
Regardless of what you think of human nature, we are fairly predictable and consistent. Only when new things arise that we don't have opinions formed for yet, do you tend to see wild mixed reactions. Bulletstorm for instance is one of the funniest games ever made, but yet because it's a shooter and under the Epic Games label, it was labeled as a stupid immature dudebro game by some, while others praised it's originality and humor. That's completely understandable.
The things I disagree with, like I said, you obviously don't care about.
@Gelugon_baat @Kryptonbornson Some Editors don't play the games all the way through..too many games...too much time...but it seems that in some reviews...they barely play the game...and don't mention alot of features in the game...like..id play a game..sometimes be curious what Editors say..and I'd feel like.."did they even play the game that long" hmmm
@Gelugon_baat And I'm not partial towards EGM or Gamepro now either. I just used to be, like 20 years ago.
@Gelugon_baat Of course it's nostalgia for the days when I could trust a purchase recommendation. No one who's ever read a movie review or game review thinks it's just an opinion. They just want an honest opinion, even if they disagree. I often agreed with Siskel and Ebert for instance, but when they disagreed, guess who I would believe? Whichever one was CONSISTENT with liking that type of movie if I liked that kind of movie. They were so consistent that you could tell you would like a movie that one of them didn't like. This whole corruption thing throws a monkey wrench in all that.
@Gelugon_baat There weren't so many games back then, but we knew the reviewers actually played them.
@Gelugon_baat You can only review something in retrospect if you've actually played it. Humans learn AND form opinions in retrospect. I don't know if you were around in the old days of the EGM and Gamepro reviews, but we always knew the reviews were honest. It was Gamepro I could first remember using their Pictograph scale to punish games they thought sucked or were missing features. I don't have an old issue of Gamepro handy, but I used to keep boxes of them. More than I had comics. They aren't disimilar to how IGN will punish games by saying the replay value and graphics aren't that good when they are. EGM had a long reputation of integrity, even attempting to push companies like EA to make Madden better, not yearly roster upgrades. Not just rolling over for money.
@Gelugon_baat I don't think you disagree with me anyway. Just look at the amount of people that agree or disagree 6 months after launch. It doesn't matter what I or you think, the people determine what is good. I may not get Borderlands or any MMO, but people play them for a reason. Just like I got hooked on Facebook games for a time that other gamers hate. I understand why someone could like something I think is boring. I've played Borderlands with people who obviously looked like they were having fun. I'd point those same people to L4D and various other post-apocalyptic games, but to each their own. Everything has a hook. Once the hype dies down however, you'll start to see more honesty resurface. Although some people still like Dark Knight Rises, Avengers, and Hunger Games, you'll see a HUGE portion or reader reviews and comments from people starting to admit in their opinion it sucks, whereas at launch varied opinions are scarce.
You're attempting to say I only want reviews to agree with me, which for the last time I'm saying is inaccurate. If you can't tell honesty and sincerity in opinion that's a problem that's not mine. You don't care anyway.
@Gelugon_baat No, I'm looking for if they are honest. I can tell the difference between if it's the same thing that was given a different impression and if it was a manufactured response. I'm looking for sincerity. If I can tell they are sincere, I don't mind if I disagree. I only speak out on the clearly sham reviews. I Am Alive, slight plug, I liked slightly better than the review, but I don't think the review is dishonest. I wouldn't have knocked them if they trashed it for all the wrong reasons. A review like IGN gave it is clearly a lie. Problem with that kind of thing is that the lie/opinion influences others.
@Kryptonbornson 8.5(great) score and lot of good stuff is abusive? What the hell? I found the review to be pretty good, I just can't think why you think he's being abusive
@Steba93 Look at this compared to other overrated and underratred games. For instance, look at Kevin's review for the Sims 3. That's one of the usual ones I fall back too.
@nikos35gr Ya its about 25 if you just run through it but 50 if you do all the side quests and stuff.
I'm glad to hear this game turned out so well, even though I probably won't end up playing it. And by the way, Kevin, your writing is also very fluid and evocative. One of the better reads among review writers on the site.
@franzito If you've not picked yourself up a copy yet then go for it. I played the first through to begin with then grabbed my version of DS2, so far I'm loving it, although I will say it's quite different from the first. Personally I like the RPG element, I know some are put off by it but it makes a nice change for the series and the fact that this title is a great deal longer feels like getting rewards in spades! Here's hoping that we get another 2 games in the series that continue to improve with such leaps! Awesome!!