It’s been three years since the release of Darksiders II on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Just a few months after the game’s launch, THQ, the publisher and owner of the Darksiders franchise, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy leaving the future of the action-adventure series looking decidedly bleak. Fortunately, the franchise was given a much-needed shot in the arm in mid-2013, when Nordic Games announced it had snapped up the rights to the Darksiders IP alongside Red Faction. Fast forward three years and the company has re-released the 2012 sequel on current-generation platforms as the appropriately-titled Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition.
Composed of ex-Vigil Games staff, Gunfire Games took the reigns of remastering the gothic actioner for current-gen consoles. Like most remasters released over the past two years, Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition sports native 1080p resolution and all previously released DLC, making this the most complete version of the game. For the uninitiated, Darksiders II takes place before and during the events of the original game in the series, which was released in 2010 on PS3 and 360. Death sets of on a quest to prove his brother’s innocence in destroying mankind and restoring humanity, fixing his sibling’s mistakes along the way. On his quest to redeem his brother, Death travels to multiple realms to find the Well of Souls where all of humanity’s souls are kept waiting to be judged.
Throughout his travels Death encounters Corruption, an unknown force threatening all the realms and all life in the universe; however, it’s a shame that the game’s story just doesn’t quite deliver the same punch as its predecessor did. With Darksiders II’s massive environments to explore the game’s core story starts to take a back seat when Death is forced to run errands for rulers of their respective realms just so they can point him in the right direction. As Death, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, you would think he would have a little more pull in the universe than simply running errands.
Thankfully the game’s combat holds up against some of the best in the industry. Battles feel like a combination of God of War and Devil May Cry, with gamers able to chain attacks together and perform aerial combos. Death is able to switch between his dual scythes and a combination of slow but powerful hammers and axes or fast quick gauntlets giving you plenty of depth to experiment with. The other major aspect of Darksiders II is exploration. Dungeons riddle the game’s various realms and are actually pretty fun to explore, and generally involve a lot of puzzle solving. Thankfully all the riddles in the game are exciting to solve and some may actually flex that brain of yours. But it’s not all positives. There were plenty of times in the remastered version that I encountered various bugs and glitches that I never did in the original release. Some of these problems involved doors not opening when completing a puzzle, and the camera getting stuck during key platforming and transversal sections. I also encountered some game crashes and sound would cut out forcing me to exit the game and restart it to fix the issue.
One of the changes that Gunfire Games has implemented is to the game’s balancing and loot distribution. It’s hard to say how much the loot distribution has been adjusted due to the random loot drops, but the difficulty is a lot more apparent. I actually felt Darksiders II’s difficulty has been increased overall. Enemies seem to do more damage and I found myself restarting a lot of battles by the sheer number of enemies I encountered at once due to the lack of any health drop vials dropped by enemies and chests, which was aplenty in the original release.
Hopefully with this re-release of Darksiders II, Nordic Games will decided that the franchise has a future in this generation. It may be another remaster but the quality of the game speaks for itself. If you never got a chance to experience the Darksiders franchise, now is the perfect time. For a more in-depth review, check out our original Darksiders II review.