Darksiders 2: Deathinitive Edition
Platform: Xbox One, PS4
Price: I picked it up for $35.00
Darsksiders 2 gets a remaster for the next generation consoles, and includes all of the DLC released. With all the remastered games coming out now, is it really worth picking it up for the new gen consoles?
I’m going to lay it out from the start: this is a game that thinks it is a hacker, but really it is a platforming puzzler. When I booted it up I expected a hacker, similar to a Devil May Cry feel, and was sorely disappointed to find myself platforming most of the time. The camera can be a little hinky, so you need to be very precise with it or you will jump in to the abyss. At writing I have died 68 times – 6 in combat, 62 by doing something bizarre and launching off an edge. I really struggled with this in the beginning, and was prepared to say don’t bother with this game – despite the fact that the combat, when you get to it, is quite enjoyable. But I stuck with it, and now that I have mastered the precision of the camera, the platforming sections don’t take nearly as long, so I am reaching combat zones much more quickly. Of course the platforming is an integrated part of solving puzzles. You are often presented with doors that need keys or special levers pulled to open – you must explore the area to find keys, bombs or big boulders to act as weights for special plates. The puzzles are not too difficult, although from time to time the wood you can use to climb is difficult to see. Otherwise, the puzzling is not a frustrating element of the gameplay.
Finally, the combat. When I got there, I found the combat to be quite enjoyable. The controls are responsive, the animations are great, and there is enough variety to make it more interesting than just some button mashing. There are two primary trees that you can level down, one to increase your own DPS, and another to raise the dead to help fight. The trees are straight forward and easy to understand, and as you pick up a new skill (which you can re-spec), you can assign it a quick action, like L1 + X so you don’t need to pause the action. Special moves use reaper energy, which you build through basic attacks. There is a locking feature that helps you keep oriented on an enemy – from time to time it can go haywire and pick up and enemy in your field of view instead of the closest, but otherwise it’s a great feature to keep you moving smoothly through the crowd.
Darksiders 2 picks up after the events of the first Darksiders game. Humanity has been destroyed, and War is facing death after being blamed for beginning the apocalypse early. The game opens as we meet Death, who is trying to find a pardon for his brother by promising to restore humanity. He talks to the makers who tell him he can only do so through the tree of life, but it is currently unable to be reached due to a corruption spreading through the land.
Without any spoilers, the story is solid, if a little simple, but ties in nicely with the questlines. It is mostly explained by cut-scenes and conversations with NPCs when triggering quest steps. There are no collectibles or other items that you need to unlock further parts of the story – so you are free to focus on playing and letting it be served up – a lot different to a few games released in recent years!
The graphics have translated nicely onto the new gen consoles. Obviously they are not as strong as some later release games, but they are clear and crisp, and I saw no glitches of real importance – the occasional clipping into an elevator as it moved seemed to be about the only glitch I saw. Otherwise the loading from map to map is seamless. As I mentioned earlier the combat looks really nice, and even the transitions on and off your horse, Despair, look good. The HUD is contextual, with only the map and your gun or death grip showing when exploring, with your health and other markers appearing only in combat. All in all, it’s a neat and tidy graphical experience.
The sound is fairly standard in traversal and combat noises, with Asian inspired music in the background, that picks up in intensity during combat. It’s not a stand out – if you’re anything like me, you will barely notice it, which is not a bad thing – but you’re not going to finish the game and buy the score.
I personally am unlikely to play through Darksiders 2 again, but there is definitely the possibility for it. There are multiple combat builds and difficulties, as well as leader boards for speed running and best combos. If the combat was spaced a little more closely together I would consider it, however I feel that as most of my time has been spent platforming, that a new play through would not offer me much as far as new experience goes. But for those who compete with friends or like achievements and speed running, there is definitely something here for you.
Overall, Darksiders 2 surprised me. First, when I thought it was a hacker and was upset that it really isn’t, and second when I found that I enjoyed it anyway. It’s a well put together game that flows nicely, has some great combat and boss battles, and no glaring issues that I could find. It’s not game of the year material, but it is still a lot of fun, and can be one of those games that you play in patches between the bigger release games. I think for the price, with all the DLC included, it is well worth the pick-up. Overall I give it 84/100.