Darksiders 2 Review – Because You Still Want Something To Play on Your XBox 360 or PS3, Right?
OK, so next gen consoles have been around for a long while now, but that doesn’t mean the love is gone from the gaming world for the XBox 360 and the PS3. Whether you keep your old faithful console around just because there is a bigger choice of games, or you just haven’t upgraded yet, there are loads of decent games you can pick up fairly cheaply for older consoles.
One game I got hold of recently for the XBox 360 (though you can also get it for your PS3 or for PC through Steam or whatever your chosen platform is), is Darksiders 2, and here I’m going to talk about whether or not this is worth picking up next time you are on the hunt for a good last-gen game to get stuck into.
Darksiders 2 is, unsurprisingly, a sequel to Darksiders, a game in which you played as War of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Darksiders 2 keeps with the harbingers theme, but this time you play as Death. The story is basically your standard fantasy gibberish, with demons and angels and nephilim and souls and whatnot (think Diablo but far more baffling), but does a nice job of setting the atmosphere for the various worlds you visit during the game. If you are wondering if you need to have played the first one to enjoy it, no, you really don’t – there is enough exposition from characters along the way to fill you in, and the story and mythology is all really just to give the game a purpose, it isn’t overly important to your enjoyment.
Darksiders 2 is something of a mash up of the hack and slash adventure RPG and a puzzle game. This means your main objectives tend to be based around dungeon crawls with various monsters to kill in large quantities, with massive looking badass bosses at the end, but to get through them you will have to deal with an increasingly complex set of skills that are used to manipulate and explore the areas. There are also, as you might expect, various collectables and all kinds of interesting gear you can use to pimp your Death character, as well as skill trees you can use to give yourself new combat skills as you level up.
The game does include elements of all kinds of other games, which will seem familiar to you if you have played a lot of different titles. Death is extremely agile right off the bat, so there is a lot of platformer style jump puzzle action, and later on in the game as he gains new skills he can also sort of swing around like Spiderman. About halfway through there is a weird bit where you are sent to post apocalyptic Earth to fight mutant type things with, for some reason, a grenade launcher or machine gun some angels give you. This part of the game is unlike the rest as while the guns are equipped you can’t do any of the stuff you have been doing for the whole rest of the game, so it is almost like you take a break from the game to suddenly play a bit of Resident Evil, only in the setting from Fallout 3… Oh, and the final skill you pick up turns the game into basically Portal. It is kind of cool how the gameplay evolves and changes, but makes it an unusual experience…
While you do have some choices when you level up as Death as to whether you want to focus on his ‘Harbinger’ combat skills, which tend to be straight up fighting moves, or his ‘Necromancer’ skills, which allow you to summon various minions to help you out in fights, there is not a huge amount you can do to vary your experience – Death is Death, so don’t worry too much about character build – he’s equipped to get through the game so just choose the skills that fit your preferences best (if you like melee fighter characters go with the harbinger skills, if you prefer magic characters go with necromancy, or just pick the best sounding ones from each tree). Additionally, for just 1000 gilt (that’s what money is called in this game), which is very little, you can get a potion from a merchant who appears in every world in the game which allows you to reset and reallocate your skill points, so attributing them is in no real sense permanent and you can mess around with different builds in one playthrough.
All other aspects of the character build are established by leveling up and equipping items that offer different benefits. If you are used to RPG type games you can play around with your inventory a lot, especially thanks to the addition of ‘possessed’ class weapons, which you can upgrade and turn into unique weapons by feeding them other weapons. If you are someone who finds inventory management tedious, you can just equip the thing with the highest damage or defense stats (depending if it’s weapons or armour) and not really worry about it too much.
Is It Fun?
Yes. This game was, in many people’s eyes, underrated when it came out in 2012, which is why you may not already have it in your XBox 360 or PS3 collection. Like any puzzle game, it can get super frustrating, but you can find out how to get past the most tricky bits using internet walkthroughs (and who doesn’t do that?). The combat is satisfying and challenging, but you will find as your Death levels up he becomes a really awesome character to take into a big boss fight, and some of these battles can be really entertaining. Replay value wise, because there isn’t too much difference in different builds of Death, you’ll probably want to play the complete campaign twice – once normally, once in ‘New Game Plus’ mode where you can start the story again with your character level and gear from your original run intact (though you still have to unlock the different skills through the story), and where you might feel like doing all the optional side quests and dungeons rather than just trying to get through the main story. You’re looking at a good 60 hours or so of playing time from this game.
I’d definitely recommend Darksiders 2 to someone looking for a decent, immersive game for their last gen console or a PC. It is fun, challenging, and while not without its glitches, attractive to play. Pick it up if you haven’t already!
Photo from Amazon.com.