The first description I heard of Darksiders was Legend of Zelda meets God of War. I never played number one, but I have to say that number two lives up to that description and then some. It takes the dungeon progression, puzzles, slight open world feel, and dungeon tools (such as the hookshot) from Legend of Zelda, takes the combat of God of War, and then adds loot from the Diablo series and melds them all together. If I haven’t gotten your attention yet maybe I should mention that you get to play as Death, a Horseman of the Apocalypse.
In the original Darksiders you played as War, blamed for starting the Apocalypse early resulting in the eradication of the human race and the release of the Angels and Demons to continue their eternal conflict. War was imprisoned and punished for this and after his imprisonment sought out proof of his innocence.
In Darksiders II, Death is trying to undo what War was blamed for: Death is trying to revive humanity. Along the way Death may help save others from destruction but this is always just a means to the end of saving War.
The combat is fast paced with multiple combos to keep in mind for different situations, dodging out of the way of attacks, and multiple abilities to choose from over the course of the game. Your primary weapon is of course Death’s Iconic scythes, often during combos and cut scenes Death combines his dual scythes in to one larger scythe. In addition Death has a multitude of secondary weapons to choose from ranging from giant hammers and axes to claws and wrist blades.
As Death kills enemies they drop gold and randomized items. These are either new weapons or armor of varying rarities and the gold is used to buy new items from shops across the worlds. In addition to more loot, another way Death gets stronger is by leveling up and advancing his skill trees. Death has two skill trees, one more oriented to up-close combat and the other more of a summoner/mage route.
The worlds that Death travels through are visually spectacular with a lot of attention to detail. The level design is straight forward enough that you shouldn’t feel completely lost, but also leaves you with a feeling of accomplishment after you figure out the puzzle. Death being a more agile character means that you end up running across walls very often and this often times leaves you feeling like a bad-ass when you string together these movements.
While Darksiders II is a good game overall a few things should be addressed. There were some very annoying glitches, some sound drop out problems and getting stuck in situations that meant you have reload the game to continue. Neither particularly terrible since the game auto-saves often. During some of the platforming sections the controls become confusing because of a sudden change to a fixed camera angle.
The game should include a little more combat between the puzzles, but this is alleviated through Crucible Mode, a part of the game unlocked as you play through sections. It is a gladiatorial combat arena where you combat and defeat waves of enemies. After each five waves you are given a choice: take some loot based on your current progress or continue on in hopes of even better loot. But be warned, if you are defeated you get nothing for the entire run and have to start over. This is a fun format that other games should look to imitate.
If you like Zelda games, God of War, or the Apocalypse in general (it is kind of the ultimate “post-apocalyptic” game), give Darksiders II a try. If you are worried about buying a full priced game and getting your bang for your buck, don’t be. That’s not really a problem here. Gameplay is still engaging and the story is great. I might just have to go find Darksiders I and give it a play through as well.