E3 2012: Darksiders 2 Hands-On
*SPOILERS* If you haven’t completed Darksiders or would rather not know certain story details for the second entry, do not read this article.
If there’s one THQ game that has caught my attention more than any other recently, it’s Darksiders 2. Ever since War’s story ended (somewhat), we’ve all been dying to see where the series would go next. Surprisingly, instead of continuing War’s narrative, the newest game focuses on the most feared Horseman, Death, as he embarks on his own journey during the exact same time period of the first game. Death is dead set on clearing War’s name and proving his innocence. In order to do so, it seems Death will have to do the very opposite of what he tends to do: bring people back to life; specifically, bring humanity back to life.
Death is a much different character than War. This is obvious the second the player gains control of the Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse. War was a heavy-hitting fighter, mainly due to his choice weapon being a massive sword and his full set of armor. Death takes on a more simplistic approach with minimal armor on the upper torso and two quick-striking scythes. Furthermore, Death is unable to block, which is something War was an ability War was capable of performing. Instead, our new protagonist must evade enemy attacks by utilizing a new dodging mechanic. This creates a more defensive play style where players must look for openings since they cannot block and take the beating that War could.
Another notable addition to Darksiders 2 is the loot system. Now, finishing off enemies can result in dropped items, such as armor and weapons. Death can equip greaves, bracers and other various pieces of armor to alter his stats as well as his appearance. Depending on your console of choice, X/Square controls the default scythes and Y/Triangle bring out any obtained secondary weapons, of which there are light and heavy variations (ex: claws = light, hammer = heavy). Transitioning from the primary to secondary weapons is seamless and looks/feels wonderful. The best part about the loot drops is that they are leveled, meaning that Death may come across items that require an additional level or two to equip.
The demo detailed basic enemy encounters and altered the platforming instances to reflect Death’s more agile nature. After taking out ice enemies, running walls and jumping from pillar to pillar, Death faced the Crowfather. This led to a boss battle where Crowfather took the form of War. If you’ve seen the images of War and Death battling, let me inform you that it is not really War. The character may look like War, but it is really Crowfather. However, that’s not to say that the two Horseman won’t duke it out. That scene may very well have served as foreshadowing. Regardless, the entire battle was expertly crafted as it provided a detailed contrast between the two characters’ fighting styles.
Following the fight, the demo came to a close and there was nothing I wanted more than to see Death’s journey continue to play out. But, alas, all things must come to an end. Before exiting the room, I was able to gain a couple pieces of information for future Darksiders 2 purchasers. First, there will not be any extra content for those that have a completed save file of the original Darksiders. Following my disappointment from that response, I was informed that Darksiders 2 would include a New Game+ option since it isn’t possible to max out Death’s level in one go. That’s all I have for you now, but more information is sure to be revealed as we close in on the game’s August release date.