Darksiders II Review
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Darksiders II is an exhilarating action-RPG set in an enormous game world. Featuring an addictive loot system, tons of side quests, and rich gameplay, Darksiders II easily deserves a spot alongside the other greats of the genre.
- Fun combat and combos
- The loot system is highly addicting
- The enormous and engaging game world
- The camera issues
- Some minor visual glitches
- Average narrative
(continued from previous page) ...of the lengthy adventure, you’ll learn new abilities, new combos, and new special attacks. This largely comes through a simplistic leveling system, which is based on experience points earned by completing quests and killing baddies. In no time you’ll earn skill points to invest in two trees—one unlocks and boosts melee abilities while the other focuses on magic. New abilities are locked to levels, and you’ll rarely feel levels lack progression.
Loot fans are going to love Darksiders II. Like any good RPG, your stats are largely based on your gear. Vigil showed a fine appreciation for its loot system by giving hardcore fans a chance to delve deep into the numbers, and less-serious players a simplistic color system—green numbers boost stats, red numbers decrease stats. Every dungeon is peppered with chests containing armor, weapons and potions. Enemies frequently drop loot and you can even purchase items from vendors. You’ll rarely go 10 minutes without coming across something shiny and new. The loot system rivals any other RPG on consoles. In addition to random drops, you’ll find complete sets of gear. Legendary armor is awarded for getting through sections of The Crucible, an arena system that rewards you for eliminating waves of baddies. There’s even an online mail system that allows you to send items to friends—a treat that is sure to make many salivate. None of this even touches on the ability to upgrade certain gear—you’ll just have to experience that for yourself.
When you aren’t traversing the giant world on your horse, you’re probably spending hours upon hours deep in a dungeon. Vigil held nothing back when it comes to exploration. Dungeons aren’t only varied and vast, they include tricky puzzles, mini bosses and regular bosses, hordes of enemies, and plenty of secrets. Many levels allow you to control a robotic vehicle, which smashes through crystal barriers and allows you to open locked gates. The stone robot also serves as a functional giant weapon.
Throughout the world Death will have to navigate puzzles and environments. He’ll do this by wall jumping, running up wooden planks, using Death Grip, pulling levers, and pushing magical giant balls. This all works fine, but it’s all too easy to just barely press the wrong directional button and have Death run across a wall instead of up it. In addition, he has a tendency to miss his mark. It’s not a huge issue, but it’s fair to say wall navigation is not perfect. Using walls to navigate and gain access to hidden areas is a great idea and executed well enough. Puzzles are rarely difficult, but they are interesting enough breaks from the vast amount of combat you’ll do elsewhere.
What dungeon wouldn’t be complete without a fierce boss battle? Fortunately, Darksiders II nails its boss battles. While most revolve around mastering attack patterns and learning the proper counter, others require your attention to the environment. You’ll frequently make use of bombs (also used in solving puzzles) to exploit weaknesses on your big bad enemies. Other bosses call for you to ride Despair.
For all the praise, it’s fair to point out that, in addition to some minor wall navigation issues, there are some graphical and texture-related glitches. It’s to be expected for such a large game, or so it seems, but it’s unfortunately common enough for textures to pop in and out of focus. But the bigger issue has to do with the pesky camera. While camera control is tied to the right analog stick, sometimes during combat the camera won’t catch up with you, leaving you guessing which direction you are moving. It’s even worse when in a narrow passage. Sometimes the camera just doesn’t know what to do, so it does the absolute worst thing and zooms into your head. These are not game breakers, but they are annoying enough to detract from an otherwise superb game.
What makes Darksiders II likely to stay in your PlayStation 3 longer than a week or two—outside the fact the campaign is at least 20+ hours long—are the numerous side missions and quests, leaderboards, and The Crucible arena. The latter allows you to collect special loot every time you get through five waves of enemies. You can keep going and hope to make it through the next five for stronger ... (continued on next page)