‘Darksiders II’ cheats death

by Jordan Pollock

Death takes on an ice giant in THQ and Vigil Games’ “Darksiders II,” where giant monsters are commonplace. Courtesy of THQ and Vigil Games

Two years ago, Vigil Games released “Darksiders,” a game fusing elements from “The Legend of Zelda,” “God of War,” and “Devil May Cry.” Despite being a solid game with decent game play, “Darksiders” was dismissed as nothing but a hodgepodge of other games. Thankfully, the wonderful developers at Vigil heard the praise and complaints of the original game and improved and expanded them in the sequel.

In “Darksiders II,” the player takes control of Death, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and brother of the original protagonist War. Because War was tricked into starting the apocalypse and was subsequently imprisoned, Death sets out on a quest to clear his brother’s name by resurrecting humanity. The journey proves to be much more difficult than Death initially thought.The player traverses a variety of scenic locations including the lush “Forge Lands” and the desolate “Land of the Dead.” Along the way, Death meets a variety of characters, each with their own motivations for either helping or hindering his quest.

The gameplay from “Darksiders II” feels familiar, but remains different. Just like its predecessor, “Darksiders II” takes puzzle solving and exploration from “Zelda” games, lightning fast combat from “Devil May Cry” and execution attacks and finishing moves from “God of War.” Additionally, the developers at Vigil also included collectable loot from “Diablo” without the grinding.

Combat is more fluid, complex and varied than the original “Darksiders.” Death is an extremely agile and versatile fighter who wields double scythes, which can be combined into his trademark single scythe. Unlike War, Death has no qualms with using any weapon he can get his hands on. His primary weapons are scythes, but Deathcan use a large variety of secondary weapons. With an expanded inventory system, Death can switch between heavy, sluggish weapons, such as giant maces and axes or light and fast arm-blades, gauntlets and claws. All add more depth to the already extensive combat system.

This time around, players aren’t limited to only buying their skills from vendors. Death is given a skill tree that allows players to emphasize either offense or defense, although the player is free to mix and match skills they want. Also, don’t fret if you accidentally put skill points into the wrong skill—a quick trip to Vulgrim and a 1000 “gilt” with let you reset your skill points.

The world of “Darksiders II” is much more expansive than its predecessor with much more hidden items, chests and events scattered around the world. Side-quests and extra dungeons add hours to the game and serve as a welcome distraction from the main quest.These extras often result in awesome loot that will assist the player out during upcoming troubles in the main quest.

Final Thoughts

“Darksiders II” is a combination of all the best parts of successful games and it mixes them all together extremely well. That isn’t to say that there aren’t a few hiccups here and there. In fact, players should be warned there are some bugs in the game that may ruin the entire experience. For example, there is an auto-save system that may lock a player into a point-of-no-return and force a complete restart of the game.

All in all, though, “Darksiders II” will reap hours and hours of fun.