Review: Darksiders 2
By Tara Roth on September 14th, 2012 (8 comments)
I miss sleep. We used to be good friends, she and I. We’d cuddle up on the couch on Saturday afternoons and while the tempestuous bitch would sometimes desert me in the evenings, she’d always return within a few days.
So fuckin’ much for THAT.
So now I’m on my 8th day of 3 hours of sleep per night. The world has taken on a sort of bizarre haze and my bodily mechanics seem to be powered almost entirely on caffeine. So now of course is going to be the time I talk to you about Darksiders 2, a puzzle platformer that requires precision and attention to detail.
Title: Darksiders 2
Developer: Vigil Games
Release Date: August 13, 2012 (North America)
Darksiders 2 is a very addictive game and a definite improvement over the first. You play as Death, the second of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, come to restore humanity to the earth and to clear your brother War’s name. While you’re running around there’s also this whole situation with trying to free these realms from corruption but the whole story gets pretty convoluted at that point and after a while I just kind’ve glazed over. In this edition of the Darksiders series it is revealed that Death’s other two siblings are named Fury and Strife which I suppose gets around the whole issue of what special abilities Famine and Pestilence were going to have (you know, that whole creativity thing).
Combat follows the usual sort of action RPG genre where you play around with different abilities and weapons until you find the “I win” move and then everything from that point on is building around that move. The animations for these abilities carry the same visceral quality that Bayonetta had (albeit without the seamless transitions) and you can use the tools on your belt to add flavor into the mix. Overall the combat has a certain brutal quality that more than once had me cackling with vindictive glee. I wish the camera would back off though. It hovers lovingly 10 feet behind you like an overprotective mother making it impossible to see what has just spawned from behind. I played this game on normal and even at that level I spent more time rolling around like an elementary school gymnastics class than actually fighting because failure to do so meant getting a sword up my ass.
The world and levels are very well designed, giving you an open area to explore without making it feel too enormous or samey. You can enter virtually any dungeon in the game provided you have the correct tools. Be warned though, dungeons and enemies within are set to a specific level and if you have an intrepid spirit, you might find yourself being gang raped by the resident level 30 squirrels. Clues to the solutions of dungeon puzzles are nearly always clearly apparent and as the player you will end up utilizing one of two methods:
Step 1: The switch is there, the heavy thing is here.
Step 2: Move heavy thing to switch.
Step 1: There’s the switch, just need to platform to it.
Step 2: Die 30 times due to a misunderstanding surrounding the direction “right”.
Step 3: Press switch.
The controls are... well to put it charitably, iffy. Here’s an example: The lock-on button (which you must hold down) is the left trigger and the use-ability button is the left bumper. There is no way for me to use both of those at the same time while still controlling my character, adjusting the camera and rolling around without getting a hand cramp. Additionally, I don’t know if it’s just using a controller on the PC or whether it’s a problem with the mechanics but, while the game seems to have mastered “up”, there seems to be some confusion about where on the joystick or D-pad “right” or “left” is (yes, I tried them both). As time went on I became aware that the less input I gave the game about where I wanted to go, the higher success rate I had and the only time it all fell apart was when I actually had to give any input. We saw this automatic platforming-for-dummies in Enslaved and I considered it to be a pretty boring game because of that. Who would have thought that giving me slightly more control would make things a thousand times worse?
Here’s a little pet peeve of mine: If the game developers are going to give us guns and a death grip (i.e. hook shot) LET US LOOK ALL THE WAY UP. I can’t tell you how many times I stood underneath a grip point, unable to target it because you can’t look up, so I would just hop impotently up and down and spam the right trigger in the hope that the game would recognize my desire. It’s more of that platforming-for-dummies where you have to be in a specific location, doing a specific action in order to trigger the Ascend-o-matic. I understand that the developers were using this as a way to prevent us platforming onto places we shouldn’t, but that just stinks of a quick fix to a design flaw. Why not just make the grip point out of reach?
Despite these complaints, I’m still going to give Darksiders 2 a recommendation because very small changes could have fixed all the problems I had. The controls would have been less of an annoyance if the camera was pulled back further, allowing you to plan moves instead of just react. Platforming would have worked better if they allowed you to look straight up instead of forcing you to be in a specific location when the Suda blossoms are open and the third moon of Beta Pictoris it at its zenith. In the end, Darksiders 2 is a very enjoyable game. I may have had some frustrating moments, but ultimately these puzzle/platforming/action RPG’s are the exact sort of games that I enjoy. Add into the mix great voice acting and not one moment of “press X to not die”, and I have to give it the thumbs up.
(70-79%: Solid - A solid title that has a few major issues.)
Tara is a part time writer and full time scientist living and working in San Francisco, CA.
|Follow Us||Back to the Top|
Log in or sign up