Friday, August 17, 2012
Darksiders 2 Death Comes For Us All
When Darksiders came out there was some controversy over the gameplay. Many accused Darksiders of leeching off of the successful formulas of other franchises. A new that came up over and over again was The Legend of Zelda. And with the release of Darksiders 2, many worried the sequel would continue the questionable practices of the first game. But do you want to know what I think? Get over it, people. The question shouldn’t be whether or not a game does the same thing as others. If one were to bash a game for that then just about every other game out there would be rubbish. Prince of
Assassin’s Creed, Drake’s Deception, heck, even Super Mario can be compared to
similar platfomrers. And just because there are many elements in common, does
that make all these game bad? No. Call of Duty, Metal of Honor, Battlefield,
all very similar games in most respects. Are they bad games or derivative copies?
Nope. So what gives? I’ll tell you. What’s
important is that a game adds its own twist to something that’s been done
before. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is almost the same as the original at its core,
but it’s the tweaks, twists, and improvements that set it apart. So now that we
have that sorted, it’s time for the actual review. I’ll explain why Darksiders
2 is a pretty good game, and one you should consider adding to your library if you enjoyed the original
, and yet isn’t among
the greats out there.
Darksiders 2 places the player in the clutches of Death, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Death’s brother, War, has been accused of bringing about the Apocalypse a bit early and must answer for his crimes. As Death, the player embarks on a journey through Hell, Heaven, and the plains in-between in an effort to clear his brother’s name.
The combat in Darksiders 2 is fast and brutal. You are Death, after all. And Death is a loving brother. Those stupid enough to get in Death’s way tend to die. Go figure. Players will wield Death’s killer scythes for fast and fluent combos that take slice through enemies like butter while utilizing a secondary weapon for combined combos that will tear, crush, and disembowel all those unfortunate enough to stand against Death. And while there is a fair amount of button mashing to be done, there is a surprising amount of variety as some enemies can only be taken down a certain way, and there are times when simply smashing down on the controller will get you killed instead of planning ahead. Of course, that’s not to say there aren’t times when the fighting is too easy, mostly in part to how easy it is to chain combos and execute devastating attacks, but also in light of the fact that there are many, many enemies that simply require a furious attack, a quick doge when they take a swing at you, rinse and repeat until dead. So while the combat has the benefit of ease of use, and some enemies do require at least some level of thought in taking them down, it’s still a shame that the vast majority of the enemies the player will face are kind of push overs.
What players will love about Darksiders 2 is that, although it is primarily an action-adventure game, there are some RPG elements as well. Death becomes stronger as the player progresses trough the story. Players will earn EX from annihilating foes and can then spend those points on new abilities. These abilities range from specialized moves, weapons, buffs, and abilities for Death. And while the skill tree isn’t what you’d call vast in scope, there’s just no way to get everything by the max level, which means Darksiders 2 has some replay value as players will be face with some choices? Will they learn a bit over everything, proficient in most things but not quite mastering the skills and abilities? Or will they specialize in certain areas? And if so, which ones and for what purpose? Some are support-role oriented, such as Death summoning minions to aid him, while others are more to the point and allow Death to take on just about anything on his own. If you’re like me, you prefer the to-the-point destroy everything yourself. The best defense is a good offense, right?
Another RPG-like element to the game is the addition of falling loot as Death shears his way through wave after wave of enemies. This loot is usually in the form of customizable weapons and armor. The white items are just plain rubbish while the purple and orange items are worth holding onto. The orange items are “possessed” and can be further enhanced and upgraded by feeding them lesser items and loot. Very cool. And while this, like so many other things in the game has been done before, Diablo comes to mind, it’s still a welcome addition. Any amount of customization is better than none and it’s nice that the customization in Darksiders 2 actually has some value beyond aesthetic purposes. Obviously, most if not all enhancements aid Death in battle. What doesn’t help is the horrible camera in this game.
Darksider’s 2 gets a lot of things right, from it’s enjoyable combat to its gratifying customization. But the camera in Darksiders 2 could really use some work. Patches are planned, so we’ll see what’s to be done, if anything. The camera has an annoying tendency to shift around on the player. If one finds the perfect angle while in a fight, don’t expect it to stay that way. Sometimes it felt like half the challenge came from the camera alone. It was as if I was battling the camera even more than Death’s demonic adversaries. There were times when I was smacked around by enemies I couldn’t even see just because the camera was taking a snooze behind a broken wall or towering pillar or something. And as I stated earlier, in some parts of the game you can button mash until your fingers and thumbs break, in others, the player must implement a certain degree of finesse. And this can get all the more troublesome and annoying when Death faces off against dozens of foes, which is actually very common.
Some reviewers have complained about the puzzles in Darksiders 2. Many claim they are, for the most part, taken straight out of various Zelda games. And while many would beg to differ, I can say I’m a bit more in the other reviewers’ corner on this one. The puzzles themselves may not be copy and pasted from a Zelda game in every conceivable way, but they are very similar. And the problem I have is, there really isn’t much of that unique twist I mentioned at the beginning of this review. Of course, the look is different, but the execution is essentially the same. Also, about 90% of the puzzles are easy to figure out and would have been better if there were less puzzles that are more difficult. Quality over quantity. In the game’s defense, well, somewhat, the better and tougher puzzles are more at the end of the game. But I stand by what I said.
Darksiders 2 is one of the longest games I’ve played in a very long time and it’s gratifying to play a game that’s longer than 4-6 hours. Am I the only one getting sick and tired of how short video games are becoming in recent years? From start to finish, Darksiders will take about 18-25 hours to complete. And possibly 30+ is the player is a completionist. And with the New Game+ with additional content, the overall time can be ramped up a bit. Coupled with the enthralling Crucible, a brutal game mode pitting Death against round after round of enemies to earn unique rewards and awesome gear, and one can expect to play Darksiders 2 for at least 35 hours, maybe even more. And trust me, there are plenty of side quests to complete and things to collect.
Darksiders 2 is a fantastic action adventure game; one with tremendous value. The combat is smooth and a blast to play through. The story is okay for the most part, but it’s the customization and new abilities that will keep players playing for hours on end. There are, however, some flaws. The camera is horrendous. Far too many enemy and even boss encounters are astonishingly easy. And though I haven’t gotten into it yet, there are some glitches here and there with the game. I’ve fallen through the ground, got stuck in a wall, swung away at an enemy and “killed it” but it kinda just stood there. And there were times when the game froze while it was loading the next area or event. From what I hear, there are many patches planned and I should mention I’ve only played Darksiders 2 for the Xbox 360. I’m not sure if the PS3 or PC versions have the same problems. In general, Darksiders 2 is a strong game in most areas and earns a 7 out of 10.