Darksiders 2 – Review

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

If you've ever played The Legend of Zelda, in any of its iterations, you'll know all of Darksiders 2's moves almost before it makes them.

Darksiders returns with a change in central character – Horseman of the Apocalypse, Death, replacing his brother War – but the same feel in terms of gameplay, as once more players concern themselves with dealing out damage to a whole host of nasties before collecting trios of keys in order to progress across the Nether Realms.

If you’ve ever played The Legend of Zelda, in any of its iterations, you’ll know all of Darksiders 2′s moves almost before it makes them, so conformist to the Zelda rulebook are its boss fights, dungeons and overarching set-up. If that wasn’t enough the game’s constantly nudging you in the right direction, seldom allowing for endorphin-releasing bursts of inspiration, and instead simply having Dust, Death’s feathered familiar, show us where to go next.

And, like its predecessor, the game doesn’t stop at Zelda in its seeming determination to flatter by mimicry. Take the combat, which has more than just a passing resemblance to God of War, or multifaceted platforming sections which wouldn’t look out of place in Prince of Persia, as Death, a much more nimble entity than War, leaps and scurries from one handily placed hand-hold to the next.

Combat does at least compare more favourably to that which it aspires to than most aspects of its design, and it’s largely combat that will keep bringing you back to proceedings – unless grandiose tales of Earth, Heaven and Hell particularly float your boat. Enemies are many – and amongst them are enough tough ones to give you something to think about – while full-on boss fights can be epic, even if once more we’re left reminiscing over similar encounters in better games, Shadow of the Colossus for one.

Death has whole reams of combos at his taloned fingertips and can unleash a huge array of primary and secondary attacks depending on what weapon he’s currently packing. Elsewhere rudimentary levelling-up constantly adds to his move list, while unlocking further powers, such as the ability to summon ghouls or call forth Death’s Reaper form, adds to the means with which to devastate enemies.

Being the proverbial Jack-of-all-trades is all well and good, and there’s certainly no questioning the developer’s work ethic, but ultimately cramming so much into one game has created problems; perhaps inescapably. Those dungeons for example miss that hard to pin down shine that makes those of Zelda so memorable, while epic environments – which once more bring God of War to mind – result in a frame rate which rarely runs at optimum, so causing screen tearing, something particularly prevalent when panning the camera around to get a better view on things (NB: this was on the Xbox 360 version).

There’s further evidence that the game was pushed out perhaps a month or two before it perhaps should have done when simple puzzles are made irritatingly difficult. Huge rollable stone spheres (which you’ll come across worryingly often) are central to a great many of the game’s initial puzzles and get lodged in ill-designed scenery all too often for example. Beware too that unsolved rooms don’t reset if you leave them, so if that stone is stuck, it’s really stuck.

The length of the game, like so many other aspects of it, is another cause for both praise and criticism. On the one hand there’s plenty to do, NPCs you come across are all too happy to redirect Death from his main quest to run errands (seriously, can no-one do anything for themselves in the realms between life and death?), while merchants will have him collecting unholy artefacts in exchange for cash. Treasure chests – handily marked on the map superimposed on your HUD – are similarly common and often yield new weapons, armour and items; some of which can in turn be upgraded over the course of the game.

Impressive stuff, but though samey dungeons and repetitive looting quests worked well enough in the first Darksiders, here, because you’re looking at a game 2-3 times the size of the already over-egged original, you’ll soon find yourself sighing as once more you set off to find yet another long lost magical relic with which to progress the plot. There’s a lesson there to be learned for the inevitable third game: less can quite often equal more.

Vigil Games have crafted a decent adventure that fans of Zelda, God of War and games of their ilk will no doubt enjoy and, screen tearing aside, there’s certainly nothing overtly wrong about its design. Ultimately however, and much like its predecessor, it’s a title which won’t linger long in the memory and one that acts more as an ode to the classics than a game looking to become one.

Score: 3/5

Price: £39.99-£49.99
Format: Xbox 360 (tested), PS3, PC
Developer: Vigil Games
Publisher: THQ

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths surrounding the enigmatic singer
Life and Style
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Infrastructure Architect

    £35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Infrastructure Architect is ...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

    Recruitment Genius: 1st Line Support - Helpdesk Analyst

    £18000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a customer focu...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Development Executiv...

    Day In a Page

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn