I think there are three ways to look at this Darksiders 2. First is the simplest: as a sequel to one of the most fun third person action games of late which got improved on just about every part. Fans of the first Darksiders don’t need to know how Death will do as you’ll have the game in your console for days and weeks. You quickly lose 20 hours for the main story, and then can play a multitude of that to finish all quests and extra missions.
The two other ways can be described as two sides of the same medal. The makers have borrowed quite a lot from other games. A very notable source of inspiration is the Zelda series as this action game is filled with structures and ideas that seem to have come straight out of this icon games. There’s a large world in which you can your horse roam around looking for missions, and challenging dungeons filled with puzzles, opponents and the occasional boss.
Also you regularly get new stuff – just like Link – which in due time can be used to overcome new challenges. Also Prince of Persia is never far away, especially now that this second lead character appears to be a lot more agile than his brother from the first game who’s innocense you need to prove at the same time as the previous game plays. It’s worth noting that this gives you more freedom of movement, more different and varied locations (from green outdoors to dark caves) and you’ll have to do a lot of jumping. I just said Prince of Persia, not?
The combat is probably the best worked out in this game, especially as there’s enough depth brought to a system inspired by Kratos from God of War. You equally look at nothing, but combos are even more dynamic, if that’s what you want, and the balance has shifted a bit from blocking to evading. Very enjoyable, especially in combination with the sometimes giant bosses, and dressed up with an RPG sauce in which you can upgrade yourself in various ways, can use different weapons and also constantly get new loot. Not a second of boredom, guaranteed!
This all sounds excellent and it is if you’re looking for a combination of the above kinds of gameplay. Everything was neatly put together and there’s not one part that disappoints. Even better, we finished this game with a lot of joy. Even the surroundings, characters and enemies need to be classified as better than decent, even though we missed a bit the more daring choices or the pure Apocalyptic world we saw in the first Darksiders.
The flipside of this colorful and varied medal, however, is that the makers unfortunately don’t offer added value compared to the best games they intelligently borrowed from. In Legend of Zelda you get amazed by the dungeons and the fantasy-filled use of all your gear, in Prince of Persia you sort of never touch the ground and feel the most handy guy in the world, and in f.i. Shadow of the Colossus the creativity put in one giant is more than five bosses here.
On one side that comparison isn’t an honest one, but on the other side you do get constant reminders of all those examples as too little time was put in qualitative features that could have given Darksiders 2 a face of its own. This doesn’t ignore the fact though that there are few games that offer so much value for money and do fill hours with immersive gameplay, an all in all original story, and slightly different setting than we’re used to. We remained a bit left longing for more, but that’s most of all because we still feel that this series has high potential and really want the makers to fulfill their ambitions. Time for the rest of the brothers to make this series truly climb to the top?