Darksiders II still finds the series in the shadow of The Legend of Zelda, but it is an improvement over the first game, although not much of one. Standing at a similar length to the original game, Darksiders II suffers from similar issues to the original such as repetition and tame storytelling. Despite the flaws though, Darksiders II is definitely a fun game worth your time and hard-earned cash.
As a direct follow-up to the original Darksiders, you play as Death, looking to free his brother War after the events of the first game. However, rather than being set almost entirely on a post-apocalyptic Earth, it is set in a variety of different places. The variety of locations make a nice change from the dreary designs of the first game, and add in a lot of colour and colourful characters along the way.
Despite this, I always got the feeling that Darksiders II was a little too big. It’s not a long game though, as it should take most people between 20 and 30 hours to complete (depending on how many side-quests you choose to complete). Playing through Darksiders II however feels a little slow and it certainly has an issue of laborious quests that are fuelled on repetition. Indeed, repetition is the main aspect holding Darksiders II back from greatness, as a lot of the game is great fun.
Playing as Death is cooler than playing as War ever was – Death is more agile and has a few more tricks up his sleeves than his brutish brother. His main weapon of choice is dual-scythes, which allow for a combat system that works on the speed of attacks, overwhelming your enemies with your quick movements and deadly combos. Or you could use the hammer, or the great sword, or something else entirely. There are quite a lot of options of weaponry to use in Darksiders II, and even each class has a lot of options within it, with lots of different weapons available with different styles and stats accordingly.
Darksiders II builds upon the RPG aspects that were present in the original game, as not only can you level up Death, but you can get lots of different equipment – weapons and armour. Thankfully, each weapon and each piece of armour looks fairly unique, changing how Death looks; it’s always a nice touch that really helps the visual side of a game.
Talking of the visuals, Darksiders II is comparable in fidelity to the original game, but it has a more diverse colour palette on show throughout, which helps the unique art-style to pop. Unfortunately, the Wii U version of the game does suffer from the odd bit of slow-down, and fairly long load-screens. The framerate issues never become unbearable, but it is a prevalent issue nonetheless.
Another prevalent issue is the game’s storytelling, which isn’t exactly great. Darksiders II is very rooted as a videogame, and as such, its story suffers and becomes uninteresting and too dragged down in making the game make sense. The basic storytelling works itself into the gameplay, and often you are tasked with menial things like collecting five objects to pass onto the next area of the game – it can become a little tedious.
Thankfully, the combat is fun enough that the large amount of enemies available to slice through never becomes a chore – like a good hack-n’-slash. Boss battles are a definite highlight though. The large scale and danger of each boss really shines through and each boss fight is a tense, yet enjoyable experience. There are also plenty of neat puzzles to get stuck into, which is another aspect Darksiders II borrows from the Zelda franchise. Some puzzles however I felt were a little too vague and others became frustrating thanks to the slightly clunky physics and camera in the game.
Darksiders II never feels as smooth as you want it too (except from the combat) and the climbing and jumping aspects of the game certainly do feel slightly clunky – sometimes jumps just don’t want to work, and at times it did feel a little glitchy. It all adds up to a slightly disappointing game that should be better than it is, but it feels slightly unfinished and unpolished.
A slight lack of polish, repetitive gameplay and basic story hooks let down what is otherwise a quality action game with slick combat and awesome boss battles.