Darksiders 2: Deathinitive Edition
Darksiders 2 is a sequel that actually improves the franchise.
It begins with a recap of the necessary information about the first game.
The Apocalypse happened ahead of schedule, and the Horseman War is blamed for the extinction of humanity.
This game is a parallel story, rather than an actual sequel. You play as War‘s brother Death, the Pale Rider himself.
Death is a pretty neat character in many ways. He is more agile than War. This is almost immediately apparent. Whereas War was more or less restricted to jumping and climbing, Death can run up walls and moves almost like a spider at times. This is amplified in combat, where his dodge is critical to survival.
His mission is to seek out the Crowfather, who is supposed to hold all the knowledge in the world, Death knows of something called the Tree of Life, which he hopes to use to resurrect humanity in order to clear his brother’s name.
The story starts out promising enough, but, unfortunately, it never really becomes anything too interesting. Pretty much the entire game is just working to resurrect humans by completing favors for an underdeveloped cast. This is the most disappointing aspect of the game. Whereas the first introduced us to much of the mythology of this universe and had a pretty interesting story, Death‘s tale is nowhere near as compelling. Death is somewhat interesting, as we learn about his past as well as the origin of the Horsemen.
While the story leaves something to be desired, other aspects of the game have been improved upon or more fleshed out from the first game. The most noticeable is the combat, which has been made smoother. Where the first one was somewhat tough to grasp, the way Death fights feels much more natural. He dances around the arena out of the way of enemy attacks and attacks in one fluid motion.
There are a wealth of new moves available for you to purchase in addition to the basic moves you have at the beginning of the game, which helps further let you choose how to fight.
The game now features a loot system. Basically, enemies and chests will have randomly generated weapons or armor, which can increase your stats and help make Death stronger. This is a nice feature in theory, but there are some issues with it. The most apparent is the way the different types of armor are balanced. Ones that help increase your Magic attacks have incredibly poor stats. Meanwhile, ones that are made more for defending have stats that can be ridiculously high. This is a shame to me because the “magic” types of armor are all really neat looking, but almost useless next to the less cool looking “combat” armor sets.
Also, getting chests at earlier points in the game is actually kind of counterproductive. Whenever you enter an area with chests, the loot inside immediately scales to your level. So, you could open a chest at level five, but why do that when you can get an infinitely better piece of equipment at level twenty? Despite this, the loot system does give the game some replayability since the game features a New Game+ system.
On top of the loot system is a Skill Tree system. Battling, completing side quests and the like give you experience points. When you level up you are free to upgrade or purchase a new skill to use in combat. There are two Trees, one for pure offensive attacks (such as teleporting and slashing at the same time, which is helpful if you are in a corner) and the other for support moves (summoning Ghouls to come and help you fight). This gives you more options in how to slaughter your foes. It works well in giving you the power to choose how you want to fight.
Beyond the combat, there is a multitude of dungeons for you to explore. In the first game, there were four or five, while, in this game, there are tons more, although many of them can be considered “mini” dungeons. They are all generally well designed, with some pretty tricky puzzles, but nothing too mind-bending though. The main story ones are typically bigger than ones related to side quests, which is to be expected. Much like the first game, there are bosses at the end of each. However, for some reason, the bosses have taken a huge step back from the first game. Where in the first, you needed to learn their patterns and use unique ways of attacking (typically making use of the “dungeon item”) to take them down. In this game, all of the bosses feel more like mini-bosses.
They are all just super versions of normal enemies, which is really disappointing.
The game is also structured very different from the first. Rather than having one hub world, there are several different worlds that open up as you progress. A good chunk of the game takes place in the opening world, which resembles a more traditional fantasy Earth-type setting, with bright, vibrant colors and ancient ruins. However, the other locales have some good variety to them. The first area is about the same size as the entirety of Darksiders 1 while the next one is still decently large but noticeably smaller and the next one is comprised of one dungeon and a long road. It’s almost as if the developers threw in the new worlds but didn’t have enough room to put everything they wanted into the game.
Despite that, the variety amongst the environments is welcome.
To wrap it up, Darksiders 2 is a sequel that tries to add a lot of RPG elements to the Darksiders formula. For the most part, it succeeds. The dungeons are all pretty fun, the loot system (while flawed) is pretty addicting (since you never know when you’ll find the next big prize) and the Skill Trees give you a pretty deep set of options when it comes to fighting.
Overall Ratings: 7/10
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