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Despite its problems, I was compelled onward in my quest with Death because Darksiders II is simply a fun game. The RPG elements and to-the-point action all make for some solid gaming, glitches and all. It’s a shame so many glaring issues hold such an ambitious endeavor back from the greatness its developers were clearly aiming for. Still, if you love action adventure games, it’s certainly worth checking out - but don’t expect it to rival the masterpieces it will inevitably call to mind.
Darksiders II takes the best elements from many games and blends them into a seamless, wholly satisfying package. With a unique protagonist, killer art style, savvy level design, and ferocious combat, there's little left for an action fan to want, while the role-playing elements have been enhanced to such a degree that the overall experience feels deeper and more compelling than before. If this game is not a success, then truly the world doesn't know what's good for it.
There's a sense throughout of a development team in love with their work: a team that's gleefully committed to over-delivering. Why else would Vigil opt for two dungeons where one would have been enough for most developers, or throw in boss after boss after gigantic boss when others might have tied things up with a simple cut-scene and the odd quick-time event?
Publisher THQ's current troubles add a slight melancholic sting to proceedings; it's hard not to race through the final challenges wondering whether you're seeing the last of the series. Does Death mark the end for Darksiders? I certainly hope not. The story draws to a close with a number of narrative strands flailing in the wind, and throughout the campaign there are signs that the adventure's borrowed elements are pulling themselves together to create something genuinely harmonious. Two riders down, and you'll still want more. If this is the apocalypse, let's make the most of it.
Despite those technical problems, though, Darksiders 2 represents a marked improvement from the first game, and a supremely satisfying action-adventure game on its own right. My only serious reservations come from the performance issues, which didn't detract from the experience enough to override all of its good qualities. Most importantly, it delivers on the promise of the first game without losing its identity. Give Death a try.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun, scoreless, criticizes glitches and the rather bad port, but overall is quite positive about the title.
It can take quite a lot to make you forget an obnoxiously bad PC port for menus, but the only reason I’ve remembered to include it is because I wrote it on my pad. I’m totally sucked in to this world, absorbed by an epic game. No, there’s not an original bone in its body, but it’s like playing a best-of of gaming, on an extraordinary scale. I haven’t finished it, so I can’t say with any surety that it doesn’t go completely stupid with boss fights toward the end – I fear it, but I don’t know yet. When I get there, I’ll be sure to post to say. But the first 25 hours or so have been worth the price of entry (not that I paid, but I’m great at empathy).
I just wish they hadn’t called it Darksiders II. I’m not exactly in the minority not having played the first game, and it would seem too great a shame to put people off playing this. It should really have been called Darksiders: Death, so let’s all imagine it was.