Published on September 9th, 2012 | by NickSoD1
PC / OnLive: Darksiders 2 Review
Summary: Darksiders 2 deserves praise for its gameplay, story, and its presentation. With 30+ hours of gameplay, players will find there is no lack of things to do as this game lives up not only to its predecessor, but all the games the series has drawn inspiration from. Vulgrim would undoubtedly agree, Darksiders 2 is worth the money.
The Destroying Angel, the Angel of Death, Yama, Shinigami, the Grim Reaper; he has been given many names throughout history, but it is by his simple moniker of Death that most choose to acknowledge him. Of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Death is easily the most recognizable and iconic of them all. So, is it not fitting that Death receives his own video game set in a universe where, literally, all hell has broken loose and there are countless souls that need reaping? Who better than Death to take the fight to all sides without mercy or reason?
In Darksiders 2, Death comes forth to find his brother horseman, War, accused of breaking Apocalypse rule numero uno: Do not start the Apocalypse without the prior written consent of the Charred Council! Knowing his brother to be innocent of any such crimes, Death rides out to absolve War the Four Horsemen way: to kick ass and take names.
Darksiders 2 takes what the first game did as an action-adventure role-playing game and builds upon it, sticking to the bloody hack-and-slash combat of the original with combos and alternate weapons and devices galore to utilize in one’s own fighting style, while adding things like more customization and a well-defined open world. There are multiple ways to approach the combat in this game (as I will discuss further on in this review) and solving puzzles throughout the different worlds with the assorted devices Death earns along the way keep things fresh no matter which world a player is found upon in the game. The gameplay is as solid as the original game and this gamer would argue, even more so. Death’s journey is just fun to play, but the tale being told is not too shabby itself.
The story of this sequel runs concurrent with War’s storyline from the first game. Death starts his journey with War serving his time-out under the Charred Council’s collective noses after riding forth before the Seventh Seal was broken, breaking the cardinal rule. Death is hell bent on showing his brother’s innocence in whatever way needs be. While the story does have a few head scratchers in terms of plot direction, like what is a Crowfather, why does he know everything, and if he does not want to tell Death what he knows in life, why then would his lips loosen in death, yet, overall, it is an epic tale of redemption. The environments travelled to and the characters met along the way drag even the most stubborn players into this universe, giving every player a reason to understand what is going on and what must be done. Some of the characters from the first game make triumphant returns, like the shady demon merchant Vulgrim, while others, like Samael, will likely be slight disappointments (mostly because there just wasn’t enough of him!) to fans of the series.
Now, while the main storyline is quite entertaining, the addition of multiple side quests in this expanded RPG is surely something players would like to know about, as well. Darksiders 2 features a sizable amount of secondary missions to undertake (especially in the Forge Lands) and touts future quests offered up as Add-Ons for OnLive. Some of the quests lead you to different worlds, some have multiple objectives, and some are just simple “find this item” missions, but the point is that they are varied and can be found throughout the game, most times flowing ever so nicely with your main objectives not really making players feel like they are straying too far from Death’s primary goal. The main attraction with side quests is the loot and, boy, is there ever a good amount of loot.
In the original Darksiders players were given the command of War and his arsenal of swords and other assorted weapons of destruction which could be unlocked as the game went on, all the way to the end. The customization was great, but compared to the offerings in the sequel, they were oh so minuscule. Death’s armaments make War look like a one-trick pony…of destruction, though. The weapons Death has access to from the beginning gives players a real sense of taking control of him and making his style their own. Going heavy with a giant axe or choosing to be swift with a set of arm blades to complement Death’s deadly scythes, all are plausible approaches, especially when factoring in all the different stats that can be seen on the range of weapons. These stats, like causing critical damage, fire or ice damage, providing extra defense, or giving health for each hit made, are even customizable on certain “possessed” weapons that can be upgraded by “sacrificing” one’s lesser, unwanted weapons to create a tool of death fit for a Rider of the Apocalypse. Death also has access to customized armor pieces, allowing players to give him a look of their choosing with stats that better fit their version of the Reaper.
Speaking of looks, the presentation of this game is impressive. As mentioned earlier, the assortment of locations and characters is varied and well incorporated throughout the game giving the sense of vastly different worlds with a cornucopia of colors and shades that may leave your eyes feeling a bit overworked at the end of a session with this game. The facial animations are a bit stale and sometimes a bit robotic, but, on the whole, the game is as fun to watch as it is to play. The music score, sound effects, and voice talent complement the visuals, giving each world its own, appropriate feel. Nothing feels out of place, except for maybe the weird goat-guy that loves following Death around, so there is never a moment where having to wonder “where did I leave off last time I was playing?” is ever an issue. This, and the addition of “the story so far…” cut scenes make jumping back into the game near seamless for those of us who cannot or will not take on such hefty games in one sitting. Darksiders 2 provides an enjoyable atmosphere for both the eyes and ears; at least, it is as enjoyable as the End of Days can be for us, mere mortals.
OnLive’s version of this game stacks up fairly well to the other versions of this game offered on the consoles and PC, so not much to comment on specifically for OnLive. The game runs well, looks good, plays great with the OnLive gamepad, at least for this Reviewer’s experience, and the offered Add-Ons seem to match other offerings from similar sources. OnLive is also offering a “Season Pass” for those interested in the upcoming DLC being put together for the game. So, if you have OnLive and like a good deal, it is hard to beat OnLive especially if you are a PlayPack subscriber.
To put the final execution move on this review, it is safe to say this game is a more than worthy successor to the original Darksiders and it deserves praise for its gameplay, story, and its presentation. With 30+ hours of gameplay, players will find there is no lack of things to do as this game lives up not only to its predecessor, but all the games the series has drawn inspiration from. As similarly stated earlier, this game takes what the first game did as an action-adventure game and built upon it; with an entertaining story, impressive combat system, and game mechanics that could rival even the best of the adventure/RPG genre, Vulgrim would undoubtedly agree, Darksiders 2 is worth the money.