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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Be Not Proud? Does Darksiders 2 Rise or Rot? Darksiders 2 - REVIEW

Developer:       Vigil Games
Publisher:         THQ
Platform:          PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows
Release date:    August 14, 2012

We’ve written about him.  We’ve sang about him.  Ultimately, we feared him.  He is the Reaper, the Pale Rider – Death.  Where its predecessor focused on the exploits of the Rider War, Darksiders 2 (DS2) is all about Death.  The world has ended and War is being held responsible.  Blood proves thicker than water and Death comes to the rescue.  But can even he reverse the final days to save his innocent sibling?  More importantly, can Death and DS2 be worth playing?

Darksiders 2 kicks off at the beginning of Darksiders 1 – where War is being held responsible for Armageddon.  As Death, you are extremely agile, quick and gifted in physical combat.  Your scythes are legendary and you travel through fallen worlds and heavenly cities for the truth.  The story of DS2 is simple and entrenched at the same time – prove your sibling’s innocence and try to keep track of all the characters and relationships you meet and develop. 

Visually, Darksiders2 is a good looking game.  The worlds of the damned and the divine as well as the large landscapes are all worth pausing to look at.  Death is pale and gaunt and the various skeletons, ghouls and undead are all fierce and drooling for your divine flesh.

The voice acting is top notch.  Among the cast is Michael Wincott, known to sci-fi and horror fans as Top Dollar, the evil crime boss from The Crow.  As Death, Wincott is gravely, cocky and at times, impatient on his quest.  Ironically, one of Death’s trusted allies is Dust, a massive crow.

Controls for Darksiders2 are okay.  They attempt to accomplish much with Death’s parkour like moves.  The layout of moving and fighting as Death is never more fun than when you begin to summon your own undead.  These minions scour in front of you and attack anything moving.  Raising your soulless army is one way to develop your powers as you level up and progress. 

Darksiders 2 falls in two areas – one, all this beautiful landscape and so much of it is just that – landscape.  It appears empty far too much.  There should be more creatures and beasts after you rather than a cavern for apocalyptic free-running.  The second failing is that after awhile, the game feels like hours of errands.  Death meets this person.  They need something.  Death goes to get it.  Death meets another person, they need something, and he goes to get it.  It gets old at times.

Zombie Factor / Conclusion
There are undead all around you in Darksiders 2.  Some of them work with you (e.g. Despair – your rotted horse, your ghoulish minions) but most are out to end your life (ice skeletons, corpses to name a few.)  Plus, gamers will get to play the Reaper himself and there’s a life-defying presence to that.  Could there have been more of a disturbing horror feel to playing as the Rider?  Definitely.  However, Darksiders 2 is still worth a try that could lead into a buy.  In a summer and fall of gaming blockbusters, he may not jump off shelves but, of his game, Death can surely be proud.

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