Hands-On Preview: Top 5 reasons why Darksiders II is (mostly) great
If you’ve been paying attention -- and you should be -- then you’d know that back in January we gave you our first impressions of THQ’s upcoming sequel to Darksiders. We introduced Death, the lead protagonist in Darksiders II, and outlined some new features and mechanics in the game. I walked away from the presentation rather pleased, looking forward to my next chance to check out the latest entry in the Darksiders series.
This time around, THQ and Vigil Games gave us hours of hands-on time with the game, allowing us to make our way through a quest found about 25% into the campaign; the demo took place inside the final dungeon of the Maker’s Realm, the first of four zones in Darksiders II.
Sent on a mission to revive an ancient golem named The Guardian, a colossal stone construct capable of banishing corruption, Death must explore a deep dungeon in search of three Heart Stones which can reanimate the giant. You’re followed by an AI-controlled NPC named Maker Karn who helps you solve puzzles; throw you across gaps, holds doors open, lugs the heavy stuff around for you and even fights with you.
After getting through to the end and fighting the final boss of zone 1, here are the top 5 things I took away from Darksiders II – this is what you should care about:
1. The RPG-esque loot system will keep you hooked
Like we told you about in that first preview, Darksiders II sports a brand-new loot system, adding a touch of RPG to the mix. Upon defeat, enemies randomly drop loot that you can customize Death with. You can also find chests – some more hidden than others – that will reward you with sweet, sweet loot. This is a very good thing. Vigil knows that most players salivate over this kind of stuff, as you may too, once you see how captivating it can be to customize not only Death’s appearance, but his stats and play style.
I found myself checking my inventory about every thirty minutes to see if I picked up anything that would enhance my current build for Death. From piercing damage to bonus experience, there are plenty of stat modifiers that you can go nuts with. What’s more is that the items we were finding are most-probably early-game equipment; we can’t wait to see the late-game loot.
2. You won’t be getting bored of combat
Death has a surprising amount of versatility when it comes to combat in Darksiders II. Between the new and improved combat mechanics in the sequel, the plethora of weapons, skill tree customization and different spells / abilities, there are countless ways to approach combat however you want to.
Want to go all-out melee with your scythes and choice of secondary weapon? You can. Throwing in some abilities from your Harbinger and Necromancer skill trees, like raising the dead to fight your battles for you when needed, or mastering teleport attacks – yup, you are the Pale Rider, after all – add so many angles to combat that we see this being one of Darksiders II’s strongest points. Take into account that loot system we were talking about and you’ll be spec-ing your Death however you want to, adapting your own unique approach to combat accordingly.
3. There’s a huge sense of scale
Put this into perspective: it took roughly three hours to finish the last dungeon of what we were told is the first of four zones in Darksiders II. According to Vigil, that first zone is about the same size as all of Darksiders I. The game is going to be massive.
But we’re not just talking about map size, oh no. Some environments ... (continued on next page)
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