Darksiders II Review
Darksiders II merges action, exploration, and loot-driven progression into an excellent and sizable adventure.
- Fluid, colorful action that evolves over time
- Clever, progressively more challenging environmental puzzles
- Allure of new, cool loot pushes you onward
- Expansive adventure, with lots of dungeons to explore
- Great audiovisual presentation sets the right apocalyptic tone.
- Some performance and technical issues
- No proper visual customization options
- Disappointing bosses, especially the final boss.
First comes War; then comes Death. Appropriately enough, Darksiders II turns its eyes from its predecessor's protagonist to a new one: Death himself, War's brother and one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. His story plays out over the same time period as War's, but Darksiders II's narrative isn't so much about plot as it is about place and tone. The original Darksiders set a darkly fantastical mood, but the sequel hones its edges. The armor is still chunky and the sound of steel on steel still rings across battle arenas, but the skies are more ominous, the shadows grimmer, and the architecture sharper, as if every spire threatens to puncture the heavens and make them bleed.
If you're playing on the PC, unfortunately, you must overcome some minor but annoying obstacles as you flex Death's sizable muscles. As with the original Darksiders, Darksiders II features few visual sliders, and the game looks more or less like its console counterpart, without any of the bells and whistles you'd expect to see in a modern PC game. (You can't even adjust the resolution until you have started the game.) Even with v-sync turned on, you might still notice some screen tearing. The missteps aren't just visual, however: the option to send weapons or armor to residents of your Steam friends list is nonfunctional as of this writing.
In spite of the technical missteps, Darksiders II still draws you in, though not by narrative, in spite of its characters' frequent and raspy soliloquizing. Rather, it uses sights and sounds to impress upon you the importance of your deeds. While one level harks back to the angels-versus-demons, Christian apocalypse themes of the original game, Darksiders II springs forth from a more inventive vision. The dusky dungeons and desert expanses are more diverse than before, and the character designs are more imaginative, as if they've wandered in from biblical legends you've never heard. The characters you meet--undead rulers and impossibly proportioned behemoths among them--speak with humorless gravity, and Death often responds with a sneer and a verbal challenge.
The joylessness of Darksiders II's characters is a contrast to the pleasure of existing in this world. An icy opening introduces you to the basics of combat and movement. In traditional action game style, you slash away at clawed creatures with primary and secondary weapons. You run along walls and jump across beams like a devilish Prince of Persia. But most importantly--and in contrast to the original--your enemies drop coins, armor, and weapons. You can don equipment, sell it to a merchant, or sacrifice it to level up rare possessed weapons, which you can customize at certain thresholds.
If the original Darksiders was an action/adventure/puzzle game, then the addition of loot drops role-playing elements into that mix, which brings to mind a potential concern: Darksiders was already a heavy mixture of recipes that had come before, recalling games like The Legend of Zelda, God of War, and even Portal. There were so many mechanics and so many tools to keep track of that the game struggled to find its own identity.
In Darksiders II, a funny thing happens on the way to the apocalypse: it establishes an identity all its own, rather than one defined through the games that inspired its existence. The game's expanded scope (about twice as big as the first game) and thoughtful pace (about twice as long as the first game) are most responsible for this. You now have a chance to breathe between battles, and each new mechanic has time to settle in before a new one is introduced. The more leisurely sense of pace is obvious from the very beginning. Darksiders' first hour was front-loaded with explosions, angelic cries, and the bloodcurdling sights of demonic forces swarming across the earth. Here, there are moments to take in the frozen chasms beneath you, and to enjoy the slick new motion mechanics that have you defying gravity in heady flights of fancy. (You won't miss War's wings in light of Death's fleet-footedness.)
You might miss the up-front barrage of action at first, but Darksiders II is more about adventure than constant onslaught, though there are plenty of battles waiting ahead. As you ride your steed to the first main dungeon, you can relish the green fields of the first of multiple major regions, and simply enjoy the act of being. If you want, you can explore some of the surrounding ruins, where treasure chests protect valuable pauldrons and cloaks. Or you can slash up the baddies that roam the land, even from atop your horse. But once you get into the dungeons, Darksiders II becomes special--more cerebral than your average action game, and more energetic than your average exploration game.
Simply Awesome, the best game i have played so far, darksiders ii states are more interesting, i am addicted, thanks vigil games and THQ...
Half hack'n'slash, half RPG, not many new moves, and Death - in my opinion - is weaker than War. Anyway, it's a good game.
Again Kevin lets the bad out weigh the good A LOTTTTTTTT and A LOT of what he says isn't even the way it is when you play. I think he just tries to hard to penetrate the subtle things in a game, that in the end most gamers don't care about, just the overly intellectual people do.
Fantastic game. 10/10. If YOU ARE PLAYING IT WITH KEYBOARD AND MOUSE, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG. Get a 360 controller
Great game, but not a Pc friendly game like Assassin creed or such.,, this backfires hardly, the fact is bosses are not really the hard part, but the real hard part is using mouse for movements and camera angles... If they solve this issues then this is perhaps on of the best games of all times...
@ErvinJackal My Logitech F710 works great with this game, why use a mouse+keyboard for games like this when there are great gamepads available on PC? I can understand using M+K in first person shooters but not for these kind of games.
Why does the PC version get a lower score than the xbox version? What is the difference if playing with a game controller? I thought if any difference, it would be better graphics?
@Blue_Tomato Not for all games, but playing with a controller really makes playing this game much better. the combos are fun to execute with a controller. IME
Let's see: there are two more horsemen to go. Conquest sounds like a badass ass-kicker, so I think a pretty good game could be made.....as long as he can slice and dice with attitude.
But that last horseman is called Famine. Imagine a game built around this character. Would he be questing for refrigerators? Would we gamers weigh 300 pounds after playing?
I think War lived up to his name nicely, and he looked pretty pissed most of the time. Death, on the other hand, has a tough act to follow.......and a tougher name to live up to.
I keep waiting for Dark Soul Pc 's review. If DS PDE gets higher score than Darsksiders 2, I will not visit GS anymore.
Sorry kevin but this time i can't agree , i have the Pc version and it works just fine , no screen tearing , no fps drops , it just plays fine , as for the game , it's a lot better then the first one , cool music , lots of exploration , , exactly what a sequel should be.
No mention of new game + in the review and how this can help to extend the games lifetime? Other than that, sounds like a very fair and well researched review, thanks Kevin!
10 minutes of fight then 2 hours of puzzles?he is suppose to be death and he fucking errand boy/lara croft solving puzzles......?great visuals,nice combat but the half game was puzzles?
@fang_proxy I do agree a bit, there was a bit too much puzzles but.. I dont complain THAT much..
Main problem is that combat is so bloody easy
i know a site that sell credits, www.ksgamer.com, i only play wow ,buy wow gold from the site, you can go to the site to buy swtor credits
GTA IV > Max Payne 3 = Skyrim = Sims 3 = Call of Duty: Black Ops > Borderlands > Darksiders 2
Just a random chain. I could go deeper, like to say Transformers War for Cybertron is better than GTA IV, which means its better than Skyrim? I know I'm tossing around different scales, mine and Gamespot's, but it just starts to make me think being a game journalist should be a low paying part-time job or done for free like Huffington Post. Fake gamers like Kevin likely have been forced to review too many games for work and not fun and it gets frustrating for them, so they very often rate games out of whack to what their audience would rate it. It's weird that when a review is spot on the crowd seems to agree on mass, but when it's off, we detect the insincerity and everyone disagree. People will call it polarizing, but once you've been "tricked" by enough insincere reviews you'll know the difference between a farcical review and a polarizing one. Maybe they should movie on a only edit reviews of the games they like and let actual gamers just review they games they play instead of reviews like this where you can tell the reviewer had no interest in the game, despite how eloquent they were or that they would give a game a good review because they were expected to.
"Darksiders II features few visual sliders"
Darksiders II features no visual sliders, or 1 if you count the resolution setting.
And changing the resolution doesn't even work like it should, since at 1080p the menus look like ass.
The only real complaint I have about the PC version is the stability issues. It was really bad on launch night, and is better now, but the game still will crash here and there, and usually requires a reboot after or it will keep crashing. Fortunately autosaves are frequent, and you can save whenever you want in addition, so the prospect of losing a lot of work is minimized.
Otherwise, it plays very nicely on PC, and is actually just what I was looking for. I have a computer hooked up to my TV with a wireless 360 controller adapter, and it basically gives me an upgraded console gaming experience.
I don't know what the console experience is like, but I rarely ever see the streaming cursor, and when I do it's gone within a fraction of a second. The tearing is noticeable at times - I didn't attempt to turn on VSync in the driver (it's not an option in the game) - but the framerate is otherwise very smooth on my HTPC powered by a 2600K and GTX570.
I think as much as we hate the fact, the FACT is PC gaming is dying these big publishers don't like the PC for many reasons not just because they blame us for PIRACY but because they have much more control over consoles. Second hand ports will be the only way we get ANY games soon PC exclusives will be a thing of the past :(.
@MADPADDY "PC gaming is dying" then why did they keep making more and more high end GPUs.And if what you said is true then the graphic card manufacturing companies would be fucked.May be in your future only consoles have better graphic card and PCs only hold GPUs like intel 4000.Which wouldn't make sense either since every console games are made on PCs.
@noeway Wow you got me your Superior intellect and grasp of the way things work has made me see the light.
@MADPADDY PC gaming is NOT dying.
Just the fact that we got Paradox as a full time PC supporter tells me it aint dying any time soon.
@alioli It's dying as a main gaming system I didn't say it was dead yet could take another 10 yrs. And I would'nt think paradox is going to save us how many AAA titles do they publish, yes the pc may keep going as a niche strategy machine but as a main gaming platform it is constantly playing second fiddle to consoles. I'm an avid PC gamer but over the 30+ yrs ive been a PC gamer ever seen it constantly losing ground and over the last 10 yrs console ports have started to become the norm.
@MADPADDY We`ll still have Total War series exclusive on PC, coz it just can`t be played on a console. Rome 2 is a proof.
@MADPADDY Or PC gaming will just be PC gaming that basically sticks to single player, single screen (including VR) experiences and online, while console goes back to a flesh and blood couch experience. After about a month of Xbox Live, I see why Blizzard never incorporated voice chat.
@Kryptonbornson Yeh MMOs and online will keep us going for a while but i dont think it will save the PC gaming.The PC doesnt have ANY advantage from a Dev / Business model and the next gen consoles will be a mini PC in everything but name.The sad fact is all they need to do and have never bothered is make the PC conform to a more unified structure so its easier to develop for.They have talked about it for years but never done it,sony MS and nintendo want the money for themselves and dont want to share it with the PC component makers.
@MADPADDY idk. Everybody has PCs, that's why companies like Blizzard shot at a level of graphics that even crappy PCs can play on alot of games. I currently see PC as being more open than console, but not as wild west as Linux. Valve might almost have to roll their own steam distro like Android. Devs will benefit because in the future when they get clout, they don't need to pay publishers fees--so like the Devs of Minecraft get 100% of the profits minus what they pay to Visa for credit card transactions. I don't know what Microsofts plans are honestly. Maybe Xbox will be the super powered box for games, while the PC will morph into Surface Tablets and Surface desktops (now known as PixelSense). I'd do most gaming on Xbox, most reading and browsing on my tablet, and the heavy stuff I'd do on my 42" Surface desktop. It would be in Microsofts interest to kill PC gaming if they wanted to direct their business elsewhere they can reap profits. As it stands, Microsoft only makes money when you buy their software, that's how Apple became more profitable than them. I disagree in thinking it doesn't benefit the devs, there is plenty benefit, it just doesn't benefit Microsoft. Intel/AMD/Nvidia will always be a part of it, even if it cuts out OEMs. If there were a more unified structure, someone has to benefit either Valve, Microsoft, or somebody. It'd benefit devs and consumers most I agree.
my "first" console game on PC.. and i love the story so much that i forgive developers everything else :)
This got an 8.0?
You give Spec Ops: The Line 6.5, and this gets 8.0!
GameSpot you suck at scoring.
Spec ops the line deserves a 5,it really sucks,& Darksiders...think 7,too much bugs & is full of things of no use(weapons,stats,etc),in hard diff its like play on easy,story sucks and bores,poor graphics,bad & easy bosses,few skills(and far for being spectacular),repetitive(going to earth again and again?),shadows sucks,lighting effects???? Its a 6!!!! feels like a game who havent been properly tested,like a beta!!!!
@Peter_Eater outdated graphics ? graphics are amazing and the combat are also really enjoyable
maan you play games because of graphics?!
This comment has been deleted
Please don't ever reply to my posts again.
I have had one too many discussions with you.
Unfortunately GameSpot does not have a "block user" feature, otherwise you would be blocked in my field of view.
You are a troll in your heart, and I wish nothing to do with you.
This is a request, if you however decide to continue posting replies to my comments, you will be ignored by me further on.
Goodbye (hopefully forever).
Oh, and just an additional note:
If this game was released 10 years ago it would be fair, but even then would get 7.0-7.5 max from me.
Outdated graphics, shameful console port on PC, simplistic combat, uninventive gameplay, no graphic or control options... pathetic.
It gets measly 4.0 from me.
Good thing I tried the game before purchasing it.
@Peter_Eater 10 years ago?come on now, don't exaggerate to make a point. Of course there are a lot of games out there with better graphics, but a game always follows a concept, and the graphics are just a platform to explore that. The history is very interesting, and the gameplay improved a lot since the first one.
@Peter_Eater outdated graphics ? graphics are amazing and the combat are also really enjoyable
maan you play games because of graphics
then stop giving your shitty opinion
comparing this game with spec ops makes you a noob dude
its like comparing call of duty with chess LOFL xD
I've been playing games for over 20 years, so calling ME a noob is just a proof of your ignorance.
Graphics in this game ARE outdated. It looks like Warcraft 3 at best,and that game came out in 2002.
And I don't play games because of graphics, but in this day and age there is no excuse for using outdated engines, especially for AAA companies.
@Peter_Eater Combat is the best I have seen in a long time
Graphics are hardly that bad, and as a whole its gorgeous.
Graphics are fine, looks great, game doesn't has to have graphics like in BF3 to look nice. This game doesn't look anything like console port, try to compare it to Resident Evil 5, which was one of the worst console ports ever, and plays very good with keybord and mouse. Simplistic combat? So many moves and weapons, great special move variety, of course if you played on easiest dificulty level then you don't need those special moves, just click action button as fast as you can. Control options are hidden in inventory under joystick icon.