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S&S; Review: Darksiders II

Posted on the 20 August 2012 by Sameo452005 @iSamKulii
S&S; Review: Darksiders II Title: Darksiders II
Format: XBox 360, PS3, PC, Wii U (Q4 2012)
Release Date: August 14, 2012
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Vigil Games
Price: $59.99
ESRB Rating: M
Darksiders II poises itself as THQ's Final Fantasy. The origin stories of Square's flagship RPG series is a bit confused. Whether it was a last ditch effort for Sakaguchi or Square itself, Final Fantasy was a gamble that paid off well and established a classic video game. In that sense, Darksiders II comes from THQ and Vigil at a point of financial decline to say the least. The industry on the whole is bedeviled with layoffs and studio closures, and yet gamers still get the products they want from people who care very much. There's beauty to the images of Death riding across alien worlds in search of redemption for his brother War. If you have not bought the game by reading this review, you should.
S&S; Review: Darksiders II Story and Presentation Players are presented with the story of Death who seeks the Tree of Life in an attempt to redeem his brother War. War at the beginning of the game, we're told, sits chained before the Charred Council following the extinction of Humanity. There's a bit more narrative to the opening of Darksiders II, but this is a title players can jump into without losing sight of the story. Death's story paints him as a sympathetic anti-hero. One important exchange early on between Death and his guide concerns the existence of his soul. That was an odd yet profound conversation that plays an important role in Death development. The story rewards the player as the dungeon crawling and overworld venturing overwhelms. S&S; Review: Darksiders II Graphics I personally have a soft spot in my heart for the character designs coming from Vigil and Joe Madueira. The engine for Darksiders II will be used in the upcoming third-person shooter Devil's Third. While exploring the fantasy realms cranked out by the engine, I wondered what optimizations were made for the Wii U version. I thought about this in the points where the textures got a little muddy or the landscapes weren't as littered with mobs as I cared to fight. In theory, I was possibly playing a ported version of a Wii U game on the 360. That aside, the game is beautiful and the levels are more wide open than in the predecessor. S&S; Review: Darksiders II Music and Sound The score is composed by Jesper Kyd. Along with an impressive catalog, Kyd composed the score for the Assassin's Creed series. The music is fantastical and ominous. Riding through the variety of areas, you get a sense of the epic scale. It's probably cliched to compare it to Lord of the Rings, but that's what the music evokes. The voice acting in game is excellent and the actors convey the depth of the themes well. S&S; Review: Darksiders II Core Gameplay Darksiders is famously a Zelda clone the flow of the game follows the protagonist through dungeons to collect weapons and solve platforming puzzles. Playing Darksiders II, I fully expected the game to follow the formula. I was surprised how many other games I saw in Darksiders II. Much of Death's adventures through dungeons was spent doing wall running as in Prince of Persia. Much of the combat is similar to God of War. The camera shifts top down while fighting regular monsters and Death has the option to perform finishing moves. That said, the game does not feel cobbled together nor is it a mish mash of styles. The dungeons are still in the game and as mind boggling as ever. Thankfully, Death has a friend in Dust, a crow that is the realization of Link's Navi. When the player is stuck in a dungeon, a press down on the left analog will send the crow flying to the correct exit. This saves hours of frustration and trips to Gamefaqs. S&S; Review: Darksiders II Final Thoughts
Death's journey to redeem his brother War demonstrates a natural progression for Darksiders. Hopefully, this is the promise of classic franchise. I'd definitely like to see a game for each of the four horsemen. The talent associated with the project was used effectively and overall the game is a product of care. Perhaps the metaphor of the Apocalypse as it relates to THQ, Vigil and the games industry as a whole is best illustrated through the game's themes and the player's journey. And in the end, Death not only seeks redemption for War, but for us all.
S&S Rating: 9/10

@jeanlucpierite


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