Knocking on Death’s Door: Darksiders II Review

by Rob Williams on August 14, 2012 in Gaming

In the original Darksiders, we assumed the role of one of the four horsemen, War, who’s been accused of unleashing the apocalypse on the world. In this second title, we play as his brother, Death, who vows to clear War’s good name. Though the stories are shared, Darksiders II proves to be one of the best aRPGs we’ve ever played.

Page 1 – Introduction

There are a number of reasons why gaming can be so much fun, but one of the highlights is that it allows you to push aside real-life for a bit and become someone or something else for a while. At any given moment you could be an Italian plumber on a personal quest to find a princess or could be fending off hordes of zombies trying to protect your town or maybe even the universe.

Of all the characters you could play as, however, could there possibly be a cooler role to assume than that of Death, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse? I think not.

The original Darksiders became somewhat of a cult classic right from the get-go. It featured an interesting aesthetic, superb gameplay mechanics, cool environments, an epic soundtrack and possibly best of all, an intriguing story. Sure, stories featuring the four horsemen aren’t uncommon, but Vigil Games’ rendition captivated audiences all over.

Darksiders II – The First 20 Minutes

Continuing this epic story, Darksiders II is neither a prequel or sequel – rather, its story perfectly aligns with that of the original game. You might recall from that game that Death’s brother War was accused by the Charred Council – the group which maintains a balance between heaven and hell – of starting an apocalypse prematurely. Throughout the game, War’s quest was to find the one who summoned him and to clear his name. In Darksiders II, it’s his brother Death that more or less seeks out to do the same.

If you were a fan of the original game, you’re pretty-well guaranteed to enjoy this follow-up. All of the hack-and-slash aRPG elements are brought back, but this time with a larger world to explore and a lot more to do. If the original took you 25 hours to beat, expect this one to take you even longer – a lot longer if you are a completionist.

At the start of the game, Death is introduced to the story in much the same way War was in the original. You’ll quickly be back to hacking and slashing, finding minor secrets right from the get-go. You ultimately reach Tri-State, a small town where you will learn much about the current state of the world. Your first order of business is to help the local forge get back up and running, eventually completing enough objectives to reach the Tree of Life to restore the world to its pre-apocalyptic state.

Darksiders II - PC Version
Greetings, Horseman.

Though it might seem like an odd comparison given its gritty nature, Darksiders II offers similar gameplay elements as a Legend of Zelda game. Both series feature familiar over-world areas to explore and many dungeons within each – and Darksiders even has dungeon maps located inside each. Perhaps the biggest difference is that Darksiders II has a lot more chests to locate and open… a lot more. Aside from phat loots dropping from bosses, the harder to reach or more secret a chest is, the better the chance a good piece of equipment is going to drop.

Generally speaking, the objective of each dungeon is to clear on through to the end and then take on a massive boss. Some dungeons exist only for side-quest reasons, but all tie into the story in some way. Helping to prolong the number of hours you can sink into the game, many of the dungeons in Darksiders II won’t be left alone after a single visit. As you gain new abilities, many can be explored a second time in order to access areas previously deemed impossible. As you’d expect, this is a great way to earn better gear and even health / wrath potions if you are running low.

Darksiders II - PC Version

Side quests in Darksiders II should not be avoided, as they aren’t run-of-the-mill “go fetch 10 of these from this one area you’ve visited 12 times before” quests. Sometimes they can introduce entire dungeons that have little or nothing to do with the main quest. One such example is with “The Hammer’s Forge”, a quest where you can go and recover a lost sword from a dungeon for an NPC. Embarking on this quest, I didn’t realize that I’d be spending more than an hour in a totally unique dungeon, which can almost be considered a reward in itself (don’t worry, you get XP as well).

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Rob Williams

Rob founded Techgage in 2005 to be an 'Advocate of the consumer', focusing on fair reviews and keeping people apprised of news in the tech world. Catering to both enthusiasts and businesses alike; from desktop gaming to professional workstations, and all the supporting software.

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