games / Reviews

Darksiders 2 (Wii U) Review

December 10, 2012 | Posted by Mark Salmela

Title: Darksiders 2
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Vigil Games
Genre: Action Adventure
Players: 1
Rated: M for Mature

Darksiders is an ambitious franchise, looking to combine the best elements out of multiple video game franchises into one complete package. Darksiders 1 borrowed very heavily from Legend of Zelda, while Darksiders 2 takes elements from Prince of Persia, Legend of Zelda, and God of War. The one glaring problem that Darksiders must overcome, however, is that if you’re going to borrow so heavily from such legendary franchises, you better damn well nail it. Otherwise, you’re simply an imitator. So how does Darksiders 2 fare? Let’s find out.

Following up on the first game, you take control of Death himself in Darksiders 2. You’re out to clear the name of your brother War, who you played as in the first game. War’s been convicted of destroying mankind, so it’s up to Death to prove his innocence and restore mankind. Death will travel through heaven, hell, and Earth on his journey and it makes for some truly artistic and inspired environments. Even from the game’s opening cutscene you’ll be wowed by just how impressive the art direction is for Darksiders 2.

All isn’t well in the graphical department, however. While Darksiders 2 boosts some amazing art direction, there are unfortunately a lot of technical issues. The framerate wasn’t that good on the PS3 or 360 version of Darksiders 2, and unfortunately it hasn’t been fixed for the Wii U version. The textures also pretty hit or miss, with some textures looking great and some textures looking pixilated and downright awful. The character animation also leaves something to be desired.

Darksiders 2’s combat system is hit or miss. On one hand the boss battles are absolutely epic, challenging you to put together everything you’ve learned, and providing players with a true challenge. You’ll fight enemies that take up the whole screen, just like in Shadow of the Colossus and the latest Castlevania, and it’s just as much fun to take down such a large titan in Darksiders 2 as it was in those other games. The boss battles are truly the highlight of the experience, however, because fighting your standard enemies isn’t nearly as much fun.

What makes most action games so much fun is figuring out exactly how to take out certain enemies. You’ll be thrown combinations of various enemies in God of War that require different strategies to take each one of them down, and it’s up to you to hack and slash your way strategically to defeat them. It’s not quite the same in Darksiders. There are some enemies later on in the game that require actual strategy to beat, but the vast majority of enemies will be taken down in the same way. You’ll wait for the enemy to attack, perform a roll, and counter attack. It’s not a bad system, and it’s fun to do for a while, but Darksiders 2 is desperately lacking in the variety department. Darksiders 2 is a step above a simple button masher, but Darksiders can’t compete with the big boys in the action genre when it comes to the key element of combat.

Darksiders 2 isn’t completely unoriginal. In fact, it boosts one of the coolest features that I’ve seen in an action game in a long time. Darksiders 2 has a lot of RPG elements in that you’ll upgrade your weapons and equipment throughout the game. Several RPGs and action games have followed the same sort of progression and leveling up system that Darksiders 2 uses. But the difference is that while in basically every other game you’ll simply discard weapons you aren’t using anymore or selling them, you can use them as artillery to shoot at your enemies. It’s a clever and fun way to use your weapon one last time as you’re discarding it, making it feel as though you’re not completely throwing away a weapon because you have something more powerful.

While Darksiders 2 absolutely nails the boss battles, and is competent in its normal combat system, the puzzle aspects of Darksiders 2 leaves something to be desired. The puzzles you’ll solve throughout this epic journey aren’t necessarily bad, it’s that they’re repetitive and they don’t really challenge your mind. You’ll solve the same types of puzzles over and over again, sometimes doing the same puzzle as you just did in the previous room. It’s not challenging to solve the same type of puzzle 30 times, it’s repetitive. Darksiders 2 doesn’t seem to have any originality in its puzzle design, and it makes the game look inferior to other franchises which have nailed puzzles, such as the Legend of Zelda.

Another disappointing aspect that stops Darksiders 2 from reaching its full potential as an epic action game is the way you’re constantly collecting things. You’ll be fetch questing so many different items in Darksiders 2 you’ll feel as if you’re playing Donkey Kong Country 64. It seems every time there’s something impeding your progress you’ll have to go collect 3 of this, or 4 of that. Everyone and their Mom needs you to go and collect random things, which really hurts the experience when Darksiders 2 is trying to present itself as an epic journey. There’s nothing epic about an Easter egg hunt. Collect-a-thons aren’t fun, and Darksiders 2 uses them way too frequently.

The biggest problem with Darksiders 2 is that it’s simply too much. Darksiders 2 tried to sell itself on having a huge and epic journey that was multiple times biggest and longer than the first game. The problem is that instead of adding unique and interesting gameplay mechanics, Darksiders 2 seems to recycle its content over and over again. Rather than try to create the biggest game possible, Darksiders 2 would have been a much better experience if it has refined its concepts, and focused on providing a tight gameplay experience instead of a bloated one.

Pros

- There’s some truly inspired art design.
- Darksiders 2 does a lot of things pretty well.
- There’s a lot of content here for gamers.
- The inventory system is highly improved on the Wii U.
- There are some clever design choices with the upgrade system.
- The boss battles are outstanding.

Cons

- There are too many fetch quests. It turns into a collect-a-thon.
- The game repeats puzzle ideas too often.
- The game should have been a tighter, more refined experience.
- The standard combat lacks depth.
- The graphics don’t look that great.
- The soundtrack selection lacks variety.

The 411


Looks like my summer home on fire island.

Darksiders 2 is a good game, but it’s not a great game. Darksiders 2’s biggest problem is that it tries so hard to compete with other triple A franchises that it ends up being a bloated experience that does numerous things competently, but almost nothing exceptionally. The boss battles are a lot of fun in Darksiders 2, and there will be people who enjoy the story, but for the most part Darksiders 2 is an average sequel. There were lot of people excited by the idea of a sequel to Darksiders. It isn’t a disappointment, but wasn’t the epic video game people were hoping it’d be. This is a solid rental.

Graphics7.0The environments look pretty, but the framerate is inconsistent and there are plenty of glitches. 
Gameplay8.0The gameplay of Darksiders 2 is solid, but not excellent. The RPG system is deep but the core combat and puzzles leave something to be desired. The boss battles are fantastic. 
Sound7.0The music gives the impression of an epic journey, but there should have been more variety. 
Lasting Appeal7.0The main campaign of Darksiders 2 is huge, easily taking over 30 to 40 hours to beat. The problem is that the game packed in a ton of filler to get there. 
Fun Factor 7.5If you enjoyed the first game, you’ll enjoy this sequel. Just don’t expect it to be a game of the year contender. 
Overall7.0   [ Good ]  legend

article topics

Mark Salmela

comments powered by Disqus