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After getting a late start with Vigil’s Darksiders 2 I finally finished it over the Labor Day weekend, and for the most part it was an excellent gaming experience (Video review embedded after the break for those who don’t like reading).  Although Vigil implemented a new main character in this game, the overall gameplay didn’t change drastically outside of Death’s penchant for parkour to get around town.  This isn’t a bad thing either, because the Darksiders formula of mixing in Zelda style dungeons, with God of War brawling, works just fine for me and thousands of other gamers.  Death as a character is slightly more interesting than his brother War, and dare I say a bigger bada*s?

Darksiders 2

EB 8 out of 10 Buddhas

The Awesome

  • Much larger game world
  • Same brand of gameplay as the original
  • Death
  • Tons of replay value

The Not so Awesome

  •  Death’s movement pace
  • Game camera will cause more deaths than your lack of skill

Death’s campaign won’t really shed any new light on the ending of the original since it runs alongside War’s journey from the first game, but his adventure definitely sheds more light on the overall world that Darksiders resides in.  I really found Death to be a more interesting character than War, so I definitely would’ve liked to have learned more about him in D2’s story.  Vigil did an OK  job fleshing out his past in some motion comic style cutscenes in between worlds, so I felt like I knew enough about him to care about his journey in D2.

Death is a Mack Daddy

Darksiders 2’s tale will raise even more questions that you may have had about the overall plot of this franchise, but its ending will sadly leave you wanting more.  For me I felt like the end boss, and closing scene just seemed a little weak compared to some of the other massive set pieces that I encountered earlier in the game.  Overall the story is entertaining, but with it essentially running alongside the plot of the first game, I never felt like this was a true sequel.

Darksiders 2’s scale is at least double the size of the first game, and that is apparent the moment the game begins and you get to see just how large the new hub worlds are.  In total there are two main hub worlds, a mini hub world, and two smaller destinations that Death must travel to late in the game.  I was a big fan of the larger worlds, and they definitely fleshed out more of the Darksiders universe for fans of the series.  The larger sets made D2 seem more like a modern Zelda game than its predecessor, and it showed in the length that it took to complete the campaign (~40 hours if you don’t do all the side quests).

You’ll encounter some familiar faces in Darksiders 2

The only downside to the larger game world is the fact that Death moves like a million year old dead person with bad knees.  For some reason Vigil made Death’s walking movement extremely slow, and they didn’t include a run button.  You can roll around like someone trying to practice stop, drop, and roll, but I would’ve rather been able to just run when I had to make long trips between locations.  At times you can summon Death’s horse Despair, but even his steed seems to have a governor on that limits his overall speed.

Luckily, D2 features a fast travel system similar to Diablo 3 in which you can travel to each hub, and/or destination by selecting it on the map.  You can also transport out of dungeons to the hub worlds to buy supplies, and then return to your exact location in said dungeon without having to redo the entire thing.  I can’t tell you how many times this function came in handy, so I’m glad Vigil took a cue from Blizzard on this technique.

For the most part the gameplay of Darksiders 2 is very similar to the original.  You control Death who wields immense power, and who fights like Kratos from God of War.  He, just like War, also solves dungeons similar to those found in a Zelda game in which you have to find a key to progress to the end of the dungeon, or to score the next useful item or powerup needed to progress.  To do so Death must solve various types of puzzles, which for the most part won’t fry your brain, but there are a few where you’ll have to rely on the Internet to help you out (damn you portal gun).

Death has moves like Jagger when it comes to brawling

One change to the gameplay that I noted in D2 is the fact that Death gets around using the art of parkour.  I don’t remember War being so agile, but his brother Death is definitely a Prince of Persia fan.  I would’ve preferred this method of transportation much more if the camera in this game wasn’t so shady.  At times I would die over and over again because the camera wouldn’t focus on the ledge, or nub that I wanted it to, so Death would end up meeting himself far too often.  The camera issue mainly resides while traversing the environment, but it reared its ugly head a few times during intense battles as well.  Luckily, the touchy camera is truly the only big negative about Darksiders 2 that I encountered.

I went ahead and did a video review for Darksiders 2 to accompany the post you’re reading now, so please check it out below when your through, because this game deserves to be seen in action.  Like I said, Darksiders 2 is a great game with few faults.  It’s story is satisfying, but it really didn’t do much to drive the overall narrative forward due to its parallel setting with the first game.  The much larger world in D2 will keep you busier than the original, and if you go for full completion I’d estimate this game providing 40-80 hours of gameplay depending on if you want to score every cheve/trophy possible.  It’s formula is unchanged from the first which is a good thing. Sure this franchise has directly ripped off other gaming greats like Zelda and God of War, but it does so perfectly which results in a great gameplay experience.

Darksiders 2’s plot runs alongside the original and features NPC’s from both games

Outside of the Death moving slower than a hospice patient, and the game’s less than perfect camera, I couldn’t find many faults with Darksiders 2.  There is some video clipping that happens during sequences with multiple NPC’s on screen, but overall the graphics are slick just like the game itself.  I can wholeheartedly recommend Darksiders 2 as a buy, and if you played the first you must play this game too.  In the end I give it an EB 8 out of 10 Buddhas.  It’ll definitely leave you wanting more, and its replay value is strong.  If you need further convincing please head on down after the break to watch our video review!  You’ve been needing to get on the Darksiders train if you aren’t riding it already…

Darksiders 2 Video Review: Death Does the Franchise Justice [HD]

 

 

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Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of EntertainmentBuddha.com where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.