Darksiders II Review
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Darksiders II merges action, exploration, and loot-driven progression into an excellent and sizable adventure.
As expected, each dungeon requires that you puzzle out how to get from one point to the next. At first, this involves scaling walls, throwing the naturally occurring bombs you stumble upon, and pulling a few levers. Then, you get a phantom grapple hook that allows you to swing from glowing hooks and extend your wall runs. Later, you split yourself in three, petrifying your main form and using two doppelgangers to stand on switches and move platforms. Ultimately, you fire portals to travel across great ravines and even through time itself--and these are hardly the extent of the tools you use to make progress through Darksiders II's clever self-contained puzzles.
Where the original Darksiders' puzzles could drag, Darksiders II's are more expertly crafted, each one a little more difficult than the last--but never too difficult as to be frustrating. The learning curve is silky smooth, and once you reach the final dungeons, there are some outstanding moments when puzzling out a solution makes you feel remarkably smart. It's a tough tightrope for a developer to balance: making environmental puzzles feel challenging without becoming a roadblock to progression. Darksiders II's dungeons get it just right, giving you enough hints through camera angles and other subtle cues, and then trusting you to work out the solution. The only cue you can't rely on too heavily is your crow, Dust, who is supposed to point out your final destination should you get stuck, but might lead you astray, or flutter high above you and then teleport back.
Fortunately, you won't often need Dust's services, given each dungeon's natural progression. Nor will you need to worry about using a spinning blade to play connect-the-bombs, which was part of Darksiders' less appealing puzzles. You also needn't constantly fiddle with menus to switch between items and abilities. Given the sheer breadth of abilities, you still do a bit of control micromanagement; you might need to switch between an ability and your revolver often in a particular level, for instance, though the related ability wheel is easily accessed with the D-pad or tab key. Nevertheless, managing your abilities and equipment is smoother than it was in the original.
Combat skills are divided into two trees and allow for powerful offensive moves (a vicious spin attack, for instance) or for summoning creatures to assist in battle (a murder of crows, perhaps). The action is largely satisfying: it's smooth and responsive under the fingers and is colorful and bloody onscreen. Death's primary scythes make for fluid combat, while his secondary weapon provides rhythmic diversity. That weapon might be a huge axe that sets wraiths on fire, or superfast gauntlets with an electric charge. Your grapple and your gun can also be valuable assets when certain foes join the fray, and battles are at their best when you confront multiple creatures with diverse attack patterns.
That isn't to say that Darksiders II's combat is all that challenging on normal difficulty, though it is more energetic than in the original. No longer can you whittle down a demon's health and perform a single-button finishing move almost every time. You can still perform such finishers, but they are far less common, though some equipment can raise your chances. Provided you have enough health potions (and there's no reason you shouldn't, given your easy wealth), you won't often feel in danger. Even certain bosses can be conquered in a single go, in contrast with Darksiders' more challenging endeavors. That's a particularly disappointing development when you reach the final monstrosity and realize it's an anticlimactic pushover.
The challenge is hit-and-miss, but the thrills are unmistakable. Easy as many are, the bosses are often enormous in scale, and some require the use of your special abilities--your grapple, for instance--to succeed. With only a couple of exceptions, Darksiders II doesn't use quick-time events to elicit excitement: the torrents of blood that spew across the screen are the direct result of your combos and volcanic fury. The biggest battles are pure power fantasy, reinforced by Death's ever-more-threatening armor and ever-more-potent weapons. Even the way Death opens doors and chests is part of this power trip, with the horseman summoning ghostly arms to perform such lowly labors.
It almost goes without saying that like so many third-person action games of its ilk, Darksiders II is best when played with a controller, though the keyboard and mouse function properly, at least. And so its console roots are apparent, but Darksiders II is great on PC nonetheless. It uses its expansive geography to cultivate a poetic tempo in which your intellectual triumphs are rewarded with the immediate pleasures of fleet-footed platforming and demonic brutality. In Darksiders II, Death is not an end, but rather, a portal to a memorable saga of snarling brutes and stolen souls.
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
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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.