Darksiders 2: Deathinitive Version Review
Back in 2010, THQ released a sequel to the popular Darksiders game titled – not surprisingly – Darksiders 2. Now in 2015, the game has been enhanced and ported to the Xbox One and Playstation 4. While subtle changes have been made, there doesn’t seem to be any reason for previous Darksiders fans to come back and play the game again. For those that have never played, however, Darksiders 2 on Xbox One will make you feel like you are playing something developed within the last year, as opposed to something that came out nearly 4 years ago.
No Change to the Story
Whether you played the original Darksiders game or not, the beginning of Darksiders 2 is going to confuse you; dropping the game within the first hour or two would be a huge mistake. You will quickly move between multiple landscapes – it is not often you go from an ice tower to a forest almost instantly! – and pick up tons of gear, and frankly, nothing is really explained to you that well. As a veteran of the loot game, I instinctively opened my inventory to swap my old gear for better gear. Darksiders 2 will not do any hand holding for you, however. Adapt, or be killed. It is that simple.
What confuses most people is that Darksiders 2 is not actually a prequel or a sequel to the original, but rather a game that operates in the same universe, at the same time. Your protagonist this time around is Death, not War like in the original Darksiders. Once the confusions subsides, you are left with a typical hack and slash adventure game. There are big areas to explore, loot to collect, puzzles to solve, and yes, buttons to mash. Much of the game can be completed with a simple attack and dodge combination that at times feels a bit easy, and sometimes wildly unfair.
It is hard to pinpoint exactly who Death is. He’s never one particular thing at any given time. He moves quickly between witty and brilliant, and dumb and cold, perhaps a good representation of what we might consider Death today. In Darksiders 2 you are tasked ultimately with saving the entire world; after all, this ancient corruption that Death is tasked with defeating does threaten to destroy everything, since the beginning of time.
Looting Subpar, Leveling Impressive
For a game that places a fair amount of emphasis on loot, it is fairly disappointing. Unlike games we have now, there is little customization of anything you pick up. You might find a better scythe, a better hammer, better boots, etc. but nothing that would make you Ooh and Aah at the screen. The leveling up and the perks that come along with it, however, are excellent. There are two separate skill trees to upgrade, with about 30 skills in total. Harbinger – which allows you to upgrade your physical characteristics – and Necromancer – which allows you to summon a wider variety of increasingly more powerful allies – are equally as important and can really be a game changer, especially in hard to finish areas. Staying on top of these skills is a must for anyone hoping to find real success.
There is no shortage of things to do in Darksiders 2, and right now we have only scratched the surface in this new, Deathinitive version. This is my third time playing this title, and this is by far the most rewarding experience. The game world is huge, almost 4 times larger than the original Darksiders. What this game does well is making sure the large game world is justified. Players with lots of time to kill will find a multitude of side quests to complete; the downside to this is repetition can quickly set in as many of the side quests revolve around the same mechanics. Going on an endless run of side quests will quickly sour your experience, and we recommend doing them in between story missions.
The reality is that Darksiders 2 is a game that does many things average, and very few things amazing. The combat is good and the puzzles are OK. I would never say they are better than your average hack-and-slash RPG, but they definitely are not worse. Where this title excels is the sense of adventure and exploration. Every environment is interesting to explore, and almost everything you do seems to have a purpose; even the story progresses fairly consistently after your initial bout of early game confusion is over, which is more than can be said for other, similar games.
The Deathinitive version of Darksiders won’t make you feel like you are playing a true current generation game. For one, the game still seems to be running at 30 FPS; ideally this would have been bumped up to 60 FPS, but it is still passable. If you have played previous versions of Darksiders 2 you will notice an incredible graphics overhaul, which ends up making you feel like you are playing an early game from this current generation rather than a late game from last generation. The changes will not blow your mind – especially when compared to something like Halo 5 or Assassins Creed Syndicate – but they are obvious.
When enhanced editions of games come out the inevitable question we get asked is, “Is it worth playing a second time?” The answer to that question, in this instance, is probably no. Darksiders 2 is a HUGE time commitment. The only reason I could get this review finished within a few days of receiving my review code was because I had played before. It is easily possible to sink well over 50 hours into a game originally came out almost four years ago, and where the age still shines through in places. However, if you absolutely loved the game when it came out in 2012, and are willing to make the commitment again, by all means pick this up.
You will not be disappointed. For those who have never experienced Darksiders before, and the current game offerings are not peaking your interest, I would also strongly recommended playing this title. This is a true adventure game, which is saying a lot; very few games that set out with this purpose every fully realize it.