Darksiders II Review
The story of War was only part of the story and now we get to see the same events unfold through the eyes of his brother, Death. With the Four Horsemen sharing a strong bond, Death will do whatever it takes to erase War’s convictions, no matter the cost to others or himself. The new perspective on events will draw current fans in with ease. Newcomers need not worry though because the game explains the events going on from the first game thoroughly. This way, the story isn’t lost on anyone. The 20+ hour adventure is filled with familiar characters, welcome additions and outstanding bosses that highlight the entire experience. Although our grim-voiced hero rarely strays from his standard tone, Death manages to be a compelling character, especially once the player learns more of his past and internal conflict. Many characters that appear throughout the story are memorable and have unique personalities, from the massive Makers to the shining angels of the Hellguard. All of these further tie together a strong narrative that brings itself to a satisfying conclusion.
Roaming the open-world landscapes of Darksiders II is fun and all, but sometimes its nice to beat up tons of enemies without the need to search for dungeons or large groups. The Crucible makes all of this possible with 100 waves of glorious combat. Of course, all 100 waves aren’t readily available from the beginning. Players will have to play through the story, and maybe a partial second run, to gain access to every wave. The waves are divided up into four stages (25 waves per stage) and the difficulty increases with the completion of every wave. Things start off simple enough, but soon grow to the point where you’ll be facing bosses from the story, and even multiple at a single time. This arena mode is very addictive and with the addition of leaderboards, the competitive aspect is sure to bring people back for more as they alter their equipment to better their chances at reaching the number one spot. If that isn’t motivation enough, rewards are given for reaching certain milestones in The Crucible. Amongst these rewards lies the ultimate loot: Death’s Ultimate Armor. If you manage to make it through all 100 wave in a single sitting, the game will bestow great gifts upon your character, allowing you to stand out from (and above) everyone else’s personalized Death.
The detail in each environment is something we should all take the time to observe. Darksiders II‘s scenery is eye-catching and as the environments begin to shift to new areas, it’s easy to appreciate the diversity. The Forge Lands seen in the beginning are teeming with open areas filled with vibrant green grass and other shrubbery covering jagged rocks. The game then takes the player to new areas, such as the golden cities of the angels and the empty, dark streets of Earth. Each area is a refreshing change of scenery and each provides its own visually stimulating backdrops.
The camera works as intended in most cases, but there comes a point (usually in tight, crowded rooms) where it decides to work against the player. When locked on to enemies in areas with little maneuverability, the camera can lose track of Death. This mainly happens when attempting to avoid incoming attacks while Death’s back is against a wall. It may not occur all the time, but when it does, it can be annoying. The issue is much more infuriating while playing on the game’s harder difficulties Apocalyptic or, the newly added, Nightmare where avoiding attacks is more crucial than ever.
No game is perfect and Darksiders II is, unfortunately, not an exception. Some glitches present themselves throughout the campaign and each ranges in severity. For starters, there were noticeable issues with pop-in and screen-tearing in both open areas and tightly-packed dungeons. Far worse than those, however, were the two instances of freezing due to an event I could not identify. It could have been that I had attempted to perform an action at an undesired time or that the game simply went kaput for another unknown reason. Whatever the case may be, the severe issues were rare and unable to be both reproduced and confirmed with other copies. However, screen-tearing and pop-in were a noticeable problem on multiple copies of the game. It is worth noting that these smaller problems are not enough to detract from the superb overall experience the game has to offer.
Darksiders II is a spectacular game with loads of content that is sure to please everyone. From its gripping tale revolving around Death’s unrelenting search for the answer to War’s absolution to the added RPG elements, this sequel has done what very few follow-ups nowadays can do, and that’s maintain the spirit of the franchise while fixing the flaws of its predecessor. With its abundance of content, ranging from the 20+ hour campaign to the 100-wave Crucible, Darksiders II is one of the few games that can justify its $60 price point. Although a few issues are present in-game, they are but small blemishes on what many may consider a masterpiece. With “Game of the Year” already sitting on the tip of my tongue, I can’t recommend Darksiders II enough.[Editor's Note: Sleeping Dogs was reviewed on the PlayStation 3 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]
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