First Impressions: Darksiders 2 or Hail Death

Darksiders 2 offers something great: You get to play as DEATH. Unfortunately, he does neither speak nor write in capital letters, and for some weird inexplicable reason, his horse is named Despair, not Binky.

Anyway, in the twisted mythology of Darksiders, Death is one of the Four Horsemen (former Nephilim, rebellious demons who went rogue and slew their own evil Nephilim brethren). Why? The game doesn’t tell you from scratch. In fact, Darksiders 2 starts without much explanation: You’re thrown into a strange world where you get to know your job is to prevent your brother War (from the first Darksiders) who is accused of unleashing the Apocalypse from purgatory. To do this, you must resurrect humanity. Sounds weird, and for the next ten hours (where Rabidgames is now), that’s all you got.

Apart from the lacklustre story, Darksiders 2 offers a unique gameplay experience. True, it’s just relatively unique since it borrows tons of ideas from other games: There’s the simple yet a bit dull hack’n’slay (God of War comes to mind), the rather basic RPG level-up system (Borderlands), the easy-going platforming with occasional control hick ups (Assassin’s Creed), the random loot system (Diablo) and the dungeon crawling with tons of – sometimes quite challenging – puzzles (Zelda). But the point is, it works fine when it’s mixed together.

Although not perfectly fine. After a couple of hours into Darksiders 2, you feel like you’re just repeating everything all the time; riding to your next dungeon, jumping, fighting minions, solving puzzles, and then fighting bosses to add a small piece to the story, which is still unfolding really, really slowly. Here is hoping the next ten hours will bring some diversity to Darksiders 2’s experience. The loot system is also strange at first: You get tons of stuff, but as to be expected, most of it is useless junk. But in this case, you can decide not to sell it. Instead, you can feed possessed weapons with your unwanted stuff! Possessed weapons can be levelled up 5 times – and if done correctly (they inherit attributes of their sacrificed brothers and sisters) you can forge yourself a powerful weapon (which you can even name).

Technically, Darksiders 2 is solid. However, there are some minor clipping issues and frame rate problems along the road (the latter especially in vast environments), and some descriptions are accompanied by the wrong buttons. But there has been nothing to hinder Rabidgames’ progress so far (which means anybody but graphic whores will enjoy it).

Last but definitely not least: And maybe being one of a dying breed, Darksiders 2 is old-fashioned. It’s wonderful! When watching cutscenes or finishing off bosses, there are no QTEs! You just control the gameplay sequences and watch the cutscenes – as it is meant to be. The more you advance the heavier the puzzles come into play – and sometimes you have to look around the room and actually think your way through instead of getting glowing hints all the time (optionally, your raven Dusk will show you the general direction of the next action). It’s nice to see such a refreshing game these days for a change; a game which does not want to show off its coolness by breaking a new QTE record …

Rabidgames recommends: Darksiders 2 might be hard to get into, but once you’ve unlocked some special moves, built yourself some nice possessed weapon and have solved a tough puzzle, dungeonitis sets in: You know, that addiction which whispers “just this dungeon” or “come on, let’s have a look what’s in the next room” …

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