Darksiders 2 review
More so even than the movie industry, game publishers are dependent on sequels. Creating new franchises is a risky business and difficult to pull off; establishing them even more so. That’s what THQ hopes to do with Darksiders 2, a third party slash’em-up in much the same vein as Devil May Cry.
You play Death, on a journey to The Land of the Dead to rescue War, star of the original 2010 game: over more than 20 hours of gameplay you’ll have to hack and smash your way through deep dungeons and vast open plains – and of course hordes of enemies.
Darksiders 2 is easy to pick up and play with simple controls and an easy to understand but addictive levelling system,. You build up your character as you go, and hoover up the items you find to help bolster your equipment.
It helps that it’s so immersive. It’s a richly designed universe with a thumping score: you’ll find yourself cantering across sweeping wastelands on your skeletal steed, and want to keep exploring. The stylized graphics look glorious: they’re perhaps a bit too heavy on the brown as so many games are, but packed full of inventive monster, titans and giants to take on nonetheless.
A quick note on availability: it’s also welcome to see Darksiders 2 arrive on more platforms than the original. We tested it on PS3, though it’s also available on Xbox 360 and PC, and is expected to launch on Nintendo’s Wii U later this year.
It’s tempting to make comparisons between Darksiders 2 and another ghoulish, sprawling action adventure, last year’s Dark Souls: both see you traversing across massive, grim expanses stuffed with demons and fiends. Darksiders 2 certainly lacks Dark Souls’ ludicrous difficulty level (Thanks heavens!), but it also lacks some of its flair.
Dark Souls gently guides you through the design of the world, occasionally filling you in with only the smallest element of backstory or lore through the items you founded and bosses you fought. By contrast, in Darksiders 2, Death has a sidekick crow that points you in the right direction, and despite the strong backstory, there’s little change throughout the game: go fetch quest after go fetch quest.
As a result, it’s not quite so compelling, perhaps aided by the fact that you can fast travel to any location at any time, keeping you less absorbed in the challenge at hand.
The bottom line
Despite the gorgeous artwork and design, Darksider 2 is a tad too formulaic to earn a coveted five out of five from us. A little more flair, a little more work on the storyline could have turned it into a series to rival the likes of Assassin’s Creed and God Of War. But it’s still a blast to play, and with a few months to go before the Christmas blockbusters are released, will keep you occupied until then – and we can’t wait to see what Vigil Games can do with a third outing.
- Ni no Kuni
- Far Cry 3
- Halo 4