Darksiders is back with a new protagonist; Death, the most feared of the four horsemen, who you may also know as the Grim Reaper as he battles his way through the land between Heaven and Hell. As War is on Earth trying to clear his name after the Charred Council claimed that he triggered the apocalypse on Earth, Death tries to give his brother a hand at clearing his name but a new threat emerges, one which threatens all of existence.
If you played the original Darksiders, prepare to completely change the way you approach the sequel as Death is an entirely new beast. War was a slow, tank-like warrior who would simply block any incoming attack however Death is agile and incapable of blocking, instead he dives out of the way of incoming attacks and is capable of causing massive damage in an extremely short time, don’t hang around enemies to long though as Death will quickly get his ass handed to him if caught by an attack.
As soon as you enter this mysterious new land you can’t help but notice the sheer scale of the world around you. You may be a blood thirsty killing machine of the apocalypse but you still can’t help but realise how tiny you are in comparison to the mountains you scale and enemies you vanquish. I’m pretty sure there are enemies so huge in this game that they could floss their teeth with Death if it wasn’t for his quick reactions.
Depending on where you are in the wonderful world of Darksiders, you’ll stumble across 3 different sizes of enemy, each of which will make your life that little bit more difficult. You’ll find the standard, run of the mill enemy who is about your size, then they’ll be there bigger brother (like mini-bosses) who can cause some serious damage if caught off guard and then there are the even bigger enemies which are end of quest bosses which will kill you in a single hit. If you can think of any form of creature in mythology, there’s a good chance you’re able to butcher it in Darksiders 2 and get some tasty reward for doing so.
The dungeons and ruined cities Death visits are packed full of puzzles and parkour but unfortunately the latter can be quite temperamental when it comes to navigating small corridors obstacles, making the simplest jumps a bloody nightmare. If you find yourself getting lost (which was a huge problem in its predecessor) just take a quick peak at your map and look for the giant glowing gold disk, it’ll point you in the right direction.
Death does have a secret weapon up his sleeve… after slaughtering enough of his enemies he can transform into the truly terrifying Grim Reaper for a short period of time, all hell then breaks loose as you start dropping enemies left, right and centre.
RPG fans you’re going to love these next few additions; first off is the brand new skill tree which lets you build Death exactly how you want to play, picking the skills which you want to perfect. As you complete quests and kill your foes, you’ll earn experience and will eventually level up, granting you one skill point to spend in the skill tree; picking between Necromancer (summoning) and the Harbringer (damage). It’s basic but gives you a great variety in how you want to play. The odd shop may also appear which sells skills/specialisation but for a price which can only be described as daylight robbery.
One of the most notable differences between Darksiders 1 and 2 is the completely new loot system. Instead of the at certain milestones in the game you’ll unlock something new, Darksiders 2 lets the player chose exactly what they want to equip as every enemy will drop something, whether it’s Gil (currency) or a type of weapon or armour, all of which can be found in chests, better items being dropped by tougher enemies such as bosses or bought in-game through the shops in various towns but expect to drop a huge amount of cash on an overpriced item, often finding notably better within minutes of exploring a new area. The mass loot drop does often lead to spending lots of time in menus hunting for which number is biggest with very little improvement.
As you progress through the game and your character becomes more powerful, you’ll find weapons and armour which scale to where you are. You’ll find anything from better Scythes (primary) to axes and claws for your secondary, heavy attack, as well as new armour which can be anything from chest pieces to amulets, rarer items will also have more effective attributes such as elemental damage or health on hit. A really interesting addition to the weapon types is the ‘possessed’ weapons which allow the player to sacrifice unused items, making it more powerful and adding new attributes to the weapon whenever it levels up.
Every weapon type that you pick up has its own unique attack style and the type of weapon you stick with depends on your play style. If you prefer hitting stupidly high damage but don’t mind being a bit slow, the hammers and axes are for you, however if you prefer super quick combos but slightly notable less damage, the claws and arm blades are your dream weapon; a huge arsenal to sink your teeth into.
You may find yourself in situations where your current gear just isn’t cutting it anymore; don’t worry though, you can ask your best buds to send you gear through the in game mail system known as ‘The Tomes’. The feature is only available to users who bought the game new or willing to drop some cash on the feature but it’s an interesting concept. Fancy sending someone a romantic, bloody gift? Send them a lightning-filled warhammer that even Thor would be jealous of.
The main quest line can take you anywhere between 15-25 hours depending on how good you are at puzzles but the game doesn’t end there as you’ll be able to take on side quests as well as discover new arenas and dungeons which are scattered throughout the land. This’ll also please the completionist inside you as it’ll make maxing out your character’s skill tree that little bit easier as well as increasing your chance of getting all the best goodies, New Game + is also available if you need it.
I haven’t enjoyed just wondering around and exploring world as much as I have in this game in a long, long time. The beautiful soundtrack alongside the clean and colourful visuals make it just a fantastic experience. Yeah, you are able to fast travel but why would you when you can witness the Darksiders universe in all its blood soaked glory.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
Great length, Extremely entertaining combat and loads of customization
Jumping/moving mechanics frustrating in close quarters
Darksiders 2 is the perfect example of a sequel, mountains of new content, entertaining combat and it's all set in a beautiful world.