Darksiders 2 Wii U review
Darksiders 2 is a hybrid game that burrows many ideas from other series. A little bit of Zelda, a splash of God of War, and finished off with elements of Diablo just for good measure. With so many elements inspired by legendary series, Darksiders 2 is a superb game- perhaps the best action adventure game is recent memory. The only letdown is the serious technical issues on the Wii U version and the sub par story telling.
The story of Darksiders 2 occurs parallel to the events of the first game. War has already been convicted for the crime of prematurely starting the apocalypse. Like any loyal and loving brother, Death has set-off to redeem has brother from his crimes.
The story itself is pedestrian. There is nothing in the story that screams out excitement nor are there any complex developments. It is all straightforward story telling. The story unfolds only within dialogue between characters. Cinematic events and exposition are few are few between. Death is given an explanation of the events, and sent into a quest. Darksiders 2 also implements the innovative dialogue tree from Mass effect. But unlike Mass effect, there is no emotional dialogue or game changing decisions to be made.
Darksiders 2 dialogue is mundane. Death really only asks simple questions. Tell me more about the Tree of Life? What is the Cauldron? Where can I find the Well of Souls? Not exactly superb writing, is it? You can see Vigil games was attempting to establish a mythology and an universe for the Darksiders series. The whole story and mythology is forced upon your, instead of allowing you to discover it for yourself.Fortunately the Voice works isn’t terrible. I quite like the accents from the British isles. It has Norse mythology quality about them.
For a game made for consoles so far into their life cycle, Darksiders 2 can seem out-dated. It isn’t a technical or impressive looking game. But I did like the art style. It has a cartoony, almost comic book style which suits the Darksiders mythology. The Makers all look like gigantic Vikings, which might explain the Irish accents (or Scottish accents).
Darksiders 2 has a heavy resemblance to the Legend of Zelda games. In particular the Dungeon crawling and problem solving shenanigans of the Zelda series. Don’t be fooled into thinking Darksiders 2 is a cheap imitation, Darksiders 2 hold its own against the colossal series. The first few dungeons you encounter are fairly straightforward. Move the ball over there. Turn that particularly switch on. find the key to the door. Vigil games did not rest on its laurels. Some of the environmental puzzles at the later dungeons are a product of pure genius by the developers. Not only are they tricky but are highly original. Some of these puzzles would fit perfectly in a Zelda game. Vigil games should be applauded for the level designs in Darksiders 2.
Combat in Darksiders 2 is sublime. I wasn’t expecting so much depth, honestly I was expecting another hack n slash affair, and fortunately this isn’t the case. Death can use his primary weapon the Scythes and a secondary weapon of his chosing, ranging from arm blade, gauntlets, axes and hammers. You can chain a deadly combo by alternating between the scythe and your secondary weapon. The real depth comes from the skill tree. As you level up, you gain a skill point, which you can invest into skills. There are two branches in which you can invest in – harbinger and Necromancer. Harbinger has a strong focus on attacks while necromancer allows you to summon ghouls or flock or ravens. Personally invested on the necromancer side of the tree.
Strategically using your skills in battle is essential in winning the tougher fights. Darksiders 2 is a challenging game. There are instances were death is placed against incredible odds and tough enemies. I am a bit embarrassed to admit, I died quite a few times throughout my playthrough. I had a strong impression that some of the fights were inspired by the superb Bayonetta, some parts were honestly fight after fight after fight, it lights up my heart that a game isn’t scared to be challenging.
To complement the superb challenge, is just as superb boss battles. The boss are fierce looking and have a decent challenge behind them. There is even a boss battle with the same scale and magnitude from the Shadow of the Colossus, it seems giant boss battles are all the rage in the modern adventure game. I enjoyed the variety of bosses and the strategies needed to beat them. My favourite is the gilded arena boss, a sand creature that can attack you whilst beneath the sand, but also can attach itself to a large and bulky body. The last 3 boss of the game (one will be I can imagine the boss can be a handful in the harder difficulty.
Darksiders 2 has a fantastic loot system that is easy to use and just as easy to understand. Similarly to Diablo 3 killing enemies will have the potential of dropping, ranging from gilt, armour or weapons. The loot system is brilliant, just walk over the loot, a screen will show whether the loot is an improvement or not. From here you can select whether to equip or stash it away in your inventory. Managing your inventory is easy and can be done real time, just by looking at the gamepad screen. It is not a necessity to pause the game often. Vigil could have taken this a step forward, by placing the skill tree on the gamepad. Speaking of the gamepad, other than the inventory screen, Darksiders 2 doesn’t use the second screen in any interesting ways. You can play the full game on the gamepad but that’s about it.
I don’t have many complaints about Darksiders 2. But Darksiders has one serious issue that almost ruins the entire experience. I can’t speak for the other version, but the Wii U version suffers from often and persisting technical issues. Loading icons were something common back in the 90’s, but not something that you would see in a modern game. Darksiders 2 has many instances of loading; they are common and prevalent throughout the entire game. It breaks up the pace and it is downright annoying. The technical issues don’t end there, when a large group of enemies are on the screen, the frame rate drops to a teeter. It makes a difficult fight unnecessarily difficult. I did find my fair share of bugs, like walking on invisible platforms, falling through walls and a death grunting through the final cut scene.
I wanted to give Darksiders 2 a higher score. It is a superb action games in every right. Superb Dungeons, head scratching puzzles, challenging combat and fierce boss battles – what more can you ask for? In fact Darksiders 2 is probably one of the best action adventures in recent memory. It is a bit disappointing that the Wii U version of Darksiders 2 is plagued with so many technical issues. A little more time on the port, Vigil games could have had a certified winner.