Darksiders 2 (Wii U) Review
Posted by Mark Salmela on 12.10.2012
The 4 horsemen ride again in this action sequel.
Title: Darksiders 2
Developer: Vigil Games
Genre: Action Adventure
Rated: M for Mature
Darksiders is an ambitious franchise, looking to combine the best elements out of multiple video game franchises into one complete package. Darksiders 1 borrowed very heavily from Legend of Zelda, while Darksiders 2 takes elements from Prince of Persia, Legend of Zelda, and God of War. The one glaring problem that Darksiders must overcome, however, is that if youíre going to borrow so heavily from such legendary franchises, you better damn well nail it. Otherwise, youíre simply an imitator. So how does Darksiders 2 fare? Letís find out.
Following up on the first game, you take control of Death himself in Darksiders 2. Youíre out to clear the name of your brother War, who you played as in the first game. Warís been convicted of destroying mankind, so itís up to Death to prove his innocence and restore mankind. Death will travel through heaven, hell, and Earth on his journey and it makes for some truly artistic and inspired environments. Even from the gameís opening cutscene youíll be wowed by just how impressive the art direction is for Darksiders 2.
All isnít well in the graphical department, however. While Darksiders 2 boosts some amazing art direction, there are unfortunately a lot of technical issues. The framerate wasnít that good on the PS3 or 360 version of Darksiders 2, and unfortunately it hasnít been fixed for the Wii U version. The textures also pretty hit or miss, with some textures looking great and some textures looking pixilated and downright awful. The character animation also leaves something to be desired.
Darksiders 2ís combat system is hit or miss. On one hand the boss battles are absolutely epic, challenging you to put together everything youíve learned, and providing players with a true challenge. Youíll fight enemies that take up the whole screen, just like in Shadow of the Colossus and the latest Castlevania, and itís just as much fun to take down such a large titan in Darksiders 2 as it was in those other games. The boss battles are truly the highlight of the experience, however, because fighting your standard enemies isnít nearly as much fun.
What makes most action games so much fun is figuring out exactly how to take out certain enemies. Youíll be thrown combinations of various enemies in God of War that require different strategies to take each one of them down, and itís up to you to hack and slash your way strategically to defeat them. Itís not quite the same in Darksiders. There are some enemies later on in the game that require actual strategy to beat, but the vast majority of enemies will be taken down in the same way. Youíll wait for the enemy to attack, perform a roll, and counter attack. Itís not a bad system, and itís fun to do for a while, but Darksiders 2 is desperately lacking in the variety department. Darksiders 2 is a step above a simple button masher, but Darksiders canít compete with the big boys in the action genre when it comes to the key element of combat.
Darksiders 2 isnít completely unoriginal. In fact, it boosts one of the coolest features that Iíve seen in an action game in a long time. Darksiders 2 has a lot of RPG elements in that youíll upgrade your weapons and equipment throughout the game. Several RPGs and action games have followed the same sort of progression and leveling up system that Darksiders 2 uses. But the difference is that while in basically every other game youíll simply discard weapons you arenít using anymore or selling them, you can use them as artillery to shoot at your enemies. Itís a clever and fun way to use your weapon one last time as youíre discarding it, making it feel as though youíre not completely throwing away a weapon because you have something more powerful.
While Darksiders 2 absolutely nails the boss battles, and is competent in its normal combat system, the puzzle aspects of Darksiders 2 leaves something to be desired. The puzzles youíll solve throughout this epic journey arenít necessarily bad, itís that theyíre repetitive and they donít really challenge your mind. Youíll solve the same types of puzzles over and over again, sometimes doing the same puzzle as you just did in the previous room. Itís not challenging to solve the same type of puzzle 30 times, itís repetitive. Darksiders 2 doesnít seem to have any originality in its puzzle design, and it makes the game look inferior to other franchises which have nailed puzzles, such as the Legend of Zelda.
Another disappointing aspect that stops Darksiders 2 from reaching its full potential as an epic action game is the way youíre constantly collecting things. Youíll be fetch questing so many different items in Darksiders 2 youíll feel as if youíre playing Donkey Kong Country 64. It seems every time thereís something impeding your progress youíll have to go collect 3 of this, or 4 of that. Everyone and their Mom needs you to go and collect random things, which really hurts the experience when Darksiders 2 is trying to present itself as an epic journey. Thereís nothing epic about an Easter egg hunt. Collect-a-thons arenít fun, and Darksiders 2 uses them way too frequently.
The biggest problem with Darksiders 2 is that itís simply too much. Darksiders 2 tried to sell itself on having a huge and epic journey that was multiple times biggest and longer than the first game. The problem is that instead of adding unique and interesting gameplay mechanics, Darksiders 2 seems to recycle its content over and over again. Rather than try to create the biggest game possible, Darksiders 2 would have been a much better experience if it has refined its concepts, and focused on providing a tight gameplay experience instead of a bloated one.
- Thereís some truly inspired art design.
- Darksiders 2 does a lot of things pretty well.
- Thereís a lot of content here for gamers.
- The inventory system is highly improved on the Wii U.
- There are some clever design choices with the upgrade system.
- The boss battles are outstanding.
- There are too many fetch quests. It turns into a collect-a-thon.
- The game repeats puzzle ideas too often.
- The game should have been a tighter, more refined experience.
- The standard combat lacks depth.
- The graphics donít look that great.
- The soundtrack selection lacks variety.
Looks like my summer home on fire island.
Darksiders 2 is a good game, but itís not a great game. Darksiders 2ís biggest problem is that it tries so hard to compete with other triple A franchises that it ends up being a bloated experience that does numerous things competently, but almost nothing exceptionally. The boss battles are a lot of fun in Darksiders 2, and there will be people who enjoy the story, but for the most part Darksiders 2 is an average sequel. There were lot of people excited by the idea of a sequel to Darksiders. It isnít a disappointment, but wasnít the epic video game people were hoping itíd be. This is a solid rental.
The environments look pretty, but the framerate is inconsistent and there are plenty of glitches.
The gameplay of Darksiders 2 is solid, but not excellent. The RPG system is deep but the core combat and puzzles leave something to be desired. The boss battles are fantastic.
The music gives the impression of an epic journey, but there should have been more variety.
The main campaign of Darksiders 2 is huge, easily taking over 30 to 40 hours to beat. The problem is that the game packed in a ton of filler to get there.
If you enjoyed the first game, youíll enjoy this sequel. Just donít expect it to be a game of the year contender.