A past of decent gameplay now being put to good use. Darksiders 2 comes in full force correcting everything it could while keeping that third-person charm we know and love.
Darksiders two is a game that many know the style of. Its light/hard attack combinations mixed with grabbing and aerial attacks already bring to mind a few who share this style of play. But what makes Darksiders two so different? It has made great improvements over the first installment but this time around it capitalizes on its own strong points. Combos are fun and varying on time not just sequence of button presses. Graphics and visuals are more entertaining to look at with organic scenes. And the skeletal system of the game is more openly built.
The story of Darksiders two captures the story of Death, the brother of the 100-year imprisoned horseman, War. After finding out that his brother was improsioned yet certain he is not guilty, he sets out to do whatever is necessary to get proof of his innocence. The story from here is a bit confusing though all the errand running and quest seeking you will do. Though there are enveloping aspects in dialogue you might lose your place in the story. If not, you’ll understand that each place you see is to go to another area and so on. The story is explained well though in each conversation and provides an immersive experience.
Gameplay is fun but can be very challenging if you are careless. Aside from the reaper meter which is your meter built by combat to unleash Death’s true form for a short amount of time, you will have two other meters which can be filled by vials. Health and wrath vials (wrath is your “mana” also earned by doing excessive damage) are not always present and any number of enemies can knock your health down a few notches especially when not prepared for bosses. Though they are creative, they get repetitive in their own routine of dodge and attack. Though as you level up, you will increase your overall stats and become more combat hardened. Leveling up is a major tool in this game. You will be given points to upgrade two main branches – combat and powers. Combat upgrades include using wrath with the button combination of LB+X (or whatever you map it to) to dash through your enemy doing damage and stealing health for example. Power upgrades include abilities like summoning. With each smaller power you gain regardless if it’s combat or power, you will have the ability to upgrade that specific one up to three times. This will of course enhance the ability even greater. While powers are nice you can gain more items, armor, weapons, and enhancements than you could shake an MMORPG at.
Though this isn’t a highly in depth RPG, it has some very complimenting and complicating aspects that will tickle your fancy. Pick-ups and looted items (by enemy or chest) will include weapons for sure. Though one may think, “Why am I getting all these weapons if I only need two?” – Says the player with over seven secondary maces. There are “possessed” weapons in the game. What they allow you to do is sacrifice other weapons and armor to them, making them stronger. This lets you literally level up your weapons multiple times while adding perks ranging from added defense to critical strike. This is something that is very unique and basically turns your weapons into mini characters themselves, aren’t they cute? Aside from your demonic scythes and axes devouring other weapons like cheerios at a car meet and spitting ice and fire like hell freezing over, you will acquire armor as well. Shoulder, armor, glove, boot, and talisman are all separate categories for items to help your defense and resistance.
Aside from leveling up and such, you will see there are puzzle aspects that will remind you of Zelda as well as platforming aspects that will remind you of Prince of Persia. These aspects are very linear compared to real deal games though. Climbing and wall running can only be done in areas that are allowed like riding your horse. There is no way of figuring a way out of what the game gives you to reach that chest or door. The puzzle aspects do make you think in a chain reaction sort of way but aren’t very stumping. They can easily be thought out very quickly. You will get other abilities such as a pistol and others but they will feel like filler some of the time – ending up using your main weapons anyway. You will also collect money from enemies and chests as well giving you currency to upgrade your combos and more. Collectibles are abundant and are hidden very well throughout the environments you traverse. This adds more value to exploring too. Not only this but you can come back to areas after you have leveled up and demolish bosses you couldn’t before. This set difficulty that isn’t tethered to your current level is what can make or break the game as well.
Graphics are improved but nothing to behold. While scenes are organic, some landscapes seem too spread out to a pointless extent while others will seem to blend together nicely. The textures on Death himself seem painted on without having any real depth but enemies have good visuals from afar. Though a game cannot be perfect by visuals alone, the effects are flashy and give a good accomplished feel to each slash for confirmation. Colorful environments will keep the eye entertained through the game as well due to each dungeon being different than the last.
Audio is done well with effort and convincing acting. Nothing seems out of place and matches the visuals very well. Not much is to besought after but not much left desired. The controls are good and give a good feel when in combat though during platforming, they may seem a bit clunky. Aiming in a zoomed in third-person mode will seem like a harder way to do business as you drag your reticle inching it back and forth over your target. You can lock on to your enemy which helps focus on one enemy at a time and displays the health as well, but this can be a problem at times. While you will be locked onto one certain enemy in the group, it decreases your vision to see other incoming attacks giving you a blinder effect that on horse and buggies.
Overall, with decent textures but tasty effects, fun hack and slash rpg gameplay, linear platforming, this game is worth a playthrough. The story is good but the game’s main focus is combat. Light and heavy attacks are where the game shines but breaks it up with easy puzzles and platforming to cruise through. This is one most will love to just keep getting stronger with and being more of a joy than a challenge in general, it is something you shouldn’t miss especially if you loved the first one.