Honestly, I’d never have thought the premise of Darksiders could be continued into a sequel. Fairly ridiculous even for a hack’n’slash, it involved playing as the incarnation of War, a Horseman of the Apocalypse, who accidentally brought about the end of the world on a whim, and consequently wanted to win back the favour of the Gods who hadn’t planned to wipe out all of humanity just yet. After all, once the world’s ended, that’s it, right?
Not necessarily, as Vigil Games have somehow managed to continue this orgy of violence and damnation in Darksiders II, a follow-up in which you play as Death, brother of War, attempting to reverse the damage and bring humanity back. Even more surprisingly, they made it work.
I say ‘it works’, and that sums it up really. The first Darksiders was an adventurous, action-packed ‘slash ‘em to bits’ romp through hell, and Darksiders II is essentially more of the same, with a little more content. There’s more gear to be picked up, many more side-quests – not to mention a much prettier world with more exploration to be had – but ultimately Vigil are making sure to not fix what isn’t broken.
Personally, I found some presentational choices seemed less inspired than before; for example the game hasn’t any voice actors that match Mark Hamill’s performance in DS1, and Death lacks his brother’s ‘badass’ factor a lot of time, not least that he doesn’t wear 200 sets of armour at the same time. However, combat is more fluid than ever (Death’s twin scythes are a great addition), platforming is a joy, and a few more role-playing elements and New Games Plus features mean Darksiders II isn’t a one-trick pony.
This is also a game that won’t be in and out of your system in a weekend, unless you’re the bing-ing type. It might not be a full RPG, but provided you’re doing your fair share of side quests, it can be well over 20 hours for a single play-through. However, considering the ways you’re rewarded for playing again, this is a long term purchase that strives to give bang, hack and slash for your buck.
While Platinum Games’ Bayonetta aims to be the most stylish and innovative hack’n’slash on the market, Darksiders is more on par with God of War. It’s brutal, it’s fast and it’s got about as much of an extreme plotline as it can get. Darksiders II doesn’t stray from the path, and while it’s likely going to be exactly what you were expecting, that’s no bad thing at all.
Published by: Vigil Games
Developed by: THQ
Platform: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC