57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
Death never felt so right!,
This review is from: Darksiders II - PlayStation 3 (Video Game)
I will start this review by saying that I did indeed play the first Darksiders, but will not make this a comparison between the 2 in any way.
Story: The story for the game is more of a backdrop for the great level design and combat to playout in a meaningful way than it is a driving force for the game. Essentially, Death has to clear the name of his brother War (from DS1) and sets off to do so but before long is wrapped up in a larger story involving the Makers. Suffice it to say the story is there but nothing too great, though Death has some funny quips (like telling a crow to be quiet..) as he has a sarcastic tone throughout the game, and the game does allow you some dialogue choices as you interact with NPCs. These NPCs serve as trainers for your new combos, weapon and item dealers, and obviously they provide you your quests and sidequests that propel the game forward.
Graphics: The graphics in this game have a wide range. From beautiful to meh depending on your location. You will notice bland textures, and muddied walls in certain areas but will also see great dungeons and large bosses that push the consoles, but never quite to the edge. The game in motion is spectatcular though. Death has great animations, and every combo you unlock looks a little different as Death has realistic movements that keep you glued to your screen amidst the fighting chaos. I have heard of some slowdown in the game but truthfully have noticed hardly any, so don't let that dissuade you from picking up this gem.
Gameplay: OKAY, this is where Darksiders brings the metaphorical hammer down. Talk about infusing so many elements together in one game! Darksiders "borrows" ideas from many different games, including: Zelda (the dungeons, horse exploration, Z targeting), God of War (frantic combat based on combos and timing), Prince of Persia (smooth platforming that becomes second nature after a few hours), Diablo (tons of loot to collect and equip) and even a little Assasin's Creed (verticality) and Shadow of the Collossus (larger than life bosses). This game is like the ultimate dutch oven of video game ideas blended in a way that never feels like it rips any one game off, but rather pays homage to the brilliant ideas that have come before it. Like "Z" targeting from Zelda where you can lock on to one enemy and easily flick the right stick to shift your focus from one enemy to the next. Or wall-running from PoP that gives Death a fleet of foot feel versus his bulkier brother. But the game makes its milk in the combat. Thrashing multiple enemies just plain feels right on as a bringer of the Apocalypse. The combo timing takes a little bit to get used to, but once you do you can pull off so many different moves (on ground and in air) that you will be stomping through hordes of enemies in no time. And the BOSSES! Wow, the developers really love huge bosses, and won't hesitate to throw back to back mini bosses at you where most games have one, a cutscene, and then right on to the main boss. The main bosses are a marvel, and will rival the colossi from SotC in size and scope. Defeating them feels very "Zelda" like as you utilize a new item you gained to defeat them. No spoilers here, so sorry no examples are being given of these great battles, you should expereince them for yourself. Death also has branching skill trees which start with a few core skills (a teleport slash, summoning minions to help you fight, etc.) and expands into a very customizeable spectrum that begs experimentation (you can re-spec Death at any time to try out new skills you may not have originally chosen). The combat is so satisfying you will find yourself just itching for the next fight to show off that new combo or weapon. Speaking of weapons...
Customization: I believe this belongs in its own category as adding a true loot-based rpg system to the franchise was a genious move. Death is a totally Bada$$ character, and a beast of that magnitude deserves some bada$$ equipment. Not 5 minutes will go by in this game without you finding a new piece of armor, weapon, secondary weapon, or amulet to deck out Death how you see fit depending on the character you'd like to play. Want a Death built with pure speed? Equip a pair of lightning fast gauntlets as your second weapon to throw more punches in a second than Pacquiao throws in an entire fight. Want to do brutal amounts of damage in one swing? Equip a giant axe or hammer to demolish your foes while sacrificing some of that speed. The level of customization is great, and adds to the gameplay. An example: I picked up an "Axe of Rending," which restores your health partially but only when you execute enemies with it, so I immediately found myslef considering the situation before using it: Is my health low? Better beat those enemies close to death then bust out the axe to get that health boost before moving on. What's better is that every piece of equipment looks different and immediately affects the look of Death. Even better still is that THQ instituted a great system that allows you to pick up equipment, or even equip it immediately right in the field. The intensity of the battles is great, so in the midst of a battle I can be fighting 5 enemies, one drops a new weapon (that can immediately be compared to what I have equipped on screen), I roll over to it, hold select to equip it in game, then BAM right back into the battle with my new scythes equipped without missing a beat. More games need this type of system.
The Negatives: I'm not going to sit here and say DS2 is a "perfect" game, it has some hiccups, but they are diminutive in nature. Sometimes when scaling a wall, in order to climb up, you have to be in the middle of the rail, if you are off a little to the right or left, Death will jump straight up instead of climbing, basically the game thinks there is nothing above him to grab, even though there is. You move right a centimeter and then it kicks in and recognizes the ledge. It will happen a few times to everyone that plays, but again it's minor. For it being an "open-world" game, there isn't a ton do in said open-world. You will ride around on your horse to get from one location to the other, but aside from a few "hidden" chests (they show up on the map) or a random scalable building, the open world mostly serves as your mechanism for travel and little else. Also, they did not do a great job of showing what Death can and can't climb, meaning he can scurry 15ft up a wall, but can't jump up onto a 5 foot ledge. Once you realize this it does not affect you in anyway, but it's funny to see him wall run and acrobatically swing from post to post, but can't jump up a 5 foot block. Again, all these issues are minor and in no way detract from the overall experience, which is an absolute blast.
Closing: By now you probably want the "should I buy it or not" answer, and I will say YES absolutely everyone should experience this game. If you like adventure, puzzle solving, great dungeons and finely tuned combat wrapped in a replayable package, this game is for you. It even tracks tons of statistics for you (best combo, most damage, a TON of things) that get posted to leaderboards so you can compare against your friends. You can even gift items to your friends! I will say, please avoid the IGN review of this game as the clear bias of it baffles me. As of now, they are the only reviewer to give this game less than an 80, and as an avid gamer and review reader will openly say they got it wrong. Read or watch any other review and you will see nothing but admiration for this title. It was a long time coming, but THQ finally has a game that fits the hardcore mold, and Darksiders 2 is the perfect game to pick up now and dive into before the fall / year end bonanza of games come out. Go get it now!
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 9, 2012 3:14:17 PM PDT
Albert Chen says:
Thanks for the great review. I want to ask, did you play through the first Darksiders with War? (I assume you did in order to compare, but it's polite to ask anyway) I'm asking because I found the story and gameplay ideas great, but in execution, some parts of the gameplay were unrefined and occasionally overly difficult. For instance, I had to ask my younger brother to fight the final boss because I couldn't get the button-mashing correct, even though I've played God of War II and III fine for instance. Can you comment on if the gameplay has improved or gotten more refined?
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 12, 2012 7:36:21 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 12, 2012 7:38:16 AM PDT
Hi Albert thanks for the comment. I can definitely say the gameplay here has been refined. Fighting as death feels a lot smoother than fighting as War. "Button Mashing" isn't nearly as prevalent here. Yes you can get through many smaller encounters buy doing that, but with the evolution of the combo system and adding loot to the mix, you always have a way to swing the tide of battle in your favor. For example, you're getting crushed by a large brute of a boss, no matter what you do, you can't get enough swings in with that high damage heavy hammer you're weilding before he slams you because it's too big and slows you down. Well now you can switch that hammer for something faster so you can pop in, get a few quick strikes in, and back up in order to dodge the attack of your enemy. I agree that by the end of Darksiders 1 there were times where I felt like I was just hitting Square over and over until I could use my wrath attacks or turn into the huge red demon to do real damage, but in DS2, your "demon form" is built into your combos so there's no waiting game to be played. If you liked DS1 (a few issues aside), you will find plenty more to like here in DS2, as even the basic Square, Square, pause, Square combos feel much tighter and easier to pull off properly than ever before.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 15, 2012 4:34:57 PM PDT
Albert Chen says:
Thanks for the info. I also wanted to ask, you're playing on the PS3, yes? Have you had the graphical tearing issues that I saw reported for the PC? I saw that you said there's a range in graphical quality, but I'm wondering if you had actual visual screen tearing.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 18, 2012 8:44:16 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 18, 2012 8:45:28 AM PDT
I have not noticed any screen tearing at all. I have heard about it on pc and 360, but can't say the same for PS3 (not to say it couldn't creep up), so if asked which system to purchase it for I would go ps3. The most issues I have seen is a muddy texture here or there when your character is right up against a wall or something.
Posted on Sep 18, 2012 10:04:51 PM PDT
Good review. I'd like to offer a little friendly advice. I certainly don't mean to offend. Add more white space to your reviews. Huge paragraphs are hard to follow, especially on a mobile device. Break them up. More white space make it easier to read and to follow. You'll get even more readers that way. Don't forget about people reading the review on a mobile phone. Good luck.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 20, 2012 10:33:32 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 20, 2012 10:33:49 AM PDT
Nice suggestion Chevy I will definitely do so. I'll have a Borderlands 2 review coming up within the next day or two and will look to add the extra white space to make it more readable. Thanks for reading and appreciate the feedback!
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