Video Game Review: Darksiders II

Developer: Vigil Games

Publisher: THQ

Release Date: August 14th, 2012

Platforms: X-Box 360, PS3, PC

Genre: Action/Adventure

By Nolan Patrick Smith

In the original Darksiders game, players took the reigns of War, one of the horsemen of the apocalypse, as he went in to battle against angels, demons and more in an effort to clear his name from making all hell break loose. This time around, you are another of the horseman, this time the masked rider, Death. The story is still about clearing War’s name, but it goes down a very different path. Does the sequel ride high, or is it the same old song and dance?

Story: The story for Darksiders II follows Death as he tries to come to the aide of his brother in arms, War. This takes Death to some new territory with some familiar faces along the way. Whereas War was very serious and intense throughout his journey, Death has no problem cracking a joke here and there and being a sarcastic terror to those in his way. I was a bit worried when I heard that the story would run concurrently with the original Darksiders story, but the experience is one all it’s own.

Design/Art: The character design for the game shines throughout the story, as Vigil Games has a knack for that sort of thing. For those that don’t know, Vigil Games was created by famed comic book artist Joe Madureira, who is best known for his work at Marvel Comics, as well as his “creator owned” series, Battle Chasers. His larger than life artistic style comes through magnificently, as it gives the game a look that stands above all games on the shelf today.

Gameplay: The gameplay is what has the biggest changes to it, and they are all for the better. Darksiders II goes from being a regular hack and slash action game to having many RPG elements added to it. Fans of World of Warcraft and Skyrim will no doubt see some nods to the genre in this sequel, like equipping and selling items, leveling up, changing and upgrading armors, choosing what to ask people and so on. It feels like a natural next step, and I can’t see anyone being upset with this welcome addition.

Sound: The soundscape in this game simply sounds epic. With a Lord of the Rings type feel to it, the musical backdrop is perfect for this dark and vibrant world. The voice acting is superb, as can be expected from what we heard in the first game. Overall, we get a game that excels on the sound aspect on every level.

Overall: When looking back at this game, it is hard to find anything to fault, but there is one part that I am sure all will be a bit let down on: the load times. This is something we didn’t see much of in the first game, and it is a huge detractor to the fluidity of the game. Other than that, I feel Darksiders II met and exceeded any expectations set by its predecessor. This is an action/adventure/RPG that can be seen as a dark, twisted Legend of Zelda, and that’s a great thing to be. Let’s hope a part three is already in the works.  An amazing game, I give Darksiders II a 9 out of 10.

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