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OXCGN’s Darksiders II Event: ‘Death’ comes for us all

OXCGN’s Darksiders II Event 

‘Death’ comes for us all

by Chris Fox

© 2012 Chris Fox

THQ were nice enough to invite me to their European headquarters to show off their new game last Monday.

The place: sweltering hot London.

The game: Darksiders II.

The food: really, really good burgers.

The question on the lips of everyone present was can Darksiders II take the enjoyable exploration and even more enjoyable combat to the next level for this sequel?

It was time to saddle up with the four horsemen and find out.

Death Lives

These initial questions were answered immediately.

Yes, Darksiders II boasts varied and rich environments to discover and traverse.

Yes, the viscerally chaotic combat is back and better than ever.

And yes, the burgers that THQ fed us were really, really good.

Darksiders II promises to be bigger, badder and more brutal than its predecessor… and it delivers.

The events in Darksiders II unfold at exactly the same time as the original.

With War caught in the struggle between heaven and hell (as seen in the first game), the next horseman of the apocalypse, Death, steps up to the spotlight this time to attempt to clear his brother’s name and deal out all kinds of ass kicking to anyone foolish enough to fight a horseman.

Cool as Death

It is instantly apparent that Death is a far superior protagonist than War when it comes to the cool department.

Death wields two deadly sickles that can be combined to form his iconic Scythe.

He also rides an undead horse named Despair. And he’s the Grim frigging Reaper himself, for crying out loud. Who hasn’t heard of Death?

The highly stylistic Darksiders visuals are back and look as gorgeous as ever.

The character models are chunky and environments are much more colourful this time around, which certainly elevates this game over the original’s grey and sometimes drab locales.

Everything adds up to an excellent aesthetic. The locations are truly beautiful and take Death from snowy peaks to Dwarven villages.

Dark Reaper

Unfortunately for Darksiders II, these new fantasy settings will invite even more comparisons to the Zelda franchise than before.

Riding from location to location on Death’s horse Despair did feel more than a little familiar, but Darksiders still has enough individuality to stand on its own.

It’s still gaming in the ‘Metroidvania’ style, but it is executed with great panache.

To accompany the beautiful visuals is one hell of an amazing score.

Not only will I be picking up this game upon release, but I’ll be buying the soundtrack as well.

The animations are incredibly smooth too, making the game flow satisfyingly from climbing to combat. Death will scramble up a wall like a feral beast before landing on his two feet to dispatch of some bad guys, all in an incredibly fluid way.

And speaking of combat, I cannot tell you how satisfying it was to tear through hordes of enemies after journeying to THQ’s office on a boiling hot, crowded London train.

Death becomes him

Customisation is taken to new heights this time around, with Death able to equip almost everything he finds, from boots to armour, to give his defence or attack that little extra boost.

As we all know, every thing is improved by ‘RPG elements’ so Darksiders II looks to be a lot deeper than the original.

Along with this vein, conversations have branching paths and the voice acting is a pleasure to listen to, especially when it comes to Death.

All those years of reaping souls has given Death an incredibly dry sense of humour with an undertone of angry sarcasm. I liked it. His reaction to being given a fetch quest will resonate with many gamers.

Darksiders II unfortunately suffers from fiddly platforming at times. On more than one occasion it was unclear as to where Death was supposed to jump next and more often than not he would fall to his doom.

This kind of platforming felt dated and may well hold the game back as a whole, which is a shame.

Likewise, as great as the combat is, it still does not reach the heights of a God of War title, which again is a shame.

The Darkness cometh

It was clear in the few hours that I had with the game that Darksiders II takes gameplay, characterisation and visuals to the next level.

Fans of the first game will already be eagerly anticipating this title, but if some people were put off by the dull locations or lack of depth the first time around should definitely give this sequel a second thought.

Darksiders II releases soon on Xbox 360/PS3/PC and then on Wii U in the future.

© 2012 Chris Fox
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About dkpatriarch (633 Articles)
Co-owner and EIC of oxcgn.com

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