Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Darksiders 2 review

Last month I preordered Darksiders 2, I hadn't played the first and still haven't but the game looked too awesome not to play. Once it came out I played it as soon as I could and felt mixed feelings after playing it for awhile, somehow the game manages to be both awesome and really annoying at the same time and a big problem I've found is all the annoying things in the game could have been easy fixes.

As Death in Darksiders 2 you have access to many weapons and abilities, you get a primary weapon which is always a pair of scythes, a secondary weapon from which you can choose from a range of weapons from massive two handed maces to Guyver like arm blades, a slot for mission relevant abilities and four button assign slots for abilities that you unlock as you level up. Scythes are of course Death's signature weapon and with their quick speeds and diverse use, they provide a range of incredible and efficient attacks. Secondary weapons are cool but I rarely use them as they lack the flexibility of the scythes. As Death levels up you get skill points that can be spent in two talent trees to unlock new abilities such as teleport slashes or summoned ghouls, all the abilities I've tried are very cool and provide a lot of help against tougher enemies and in boss fights, however they run off a resource called Wrath and two or three uses of abilities completely drains the Wrath bar, so all your hard earned abilities can only be used sparingly.

 To traverse through buildings and dungeons in Darksiders 2 there is a heavy use of acrobatics akin to the Prince of Persia games and like with nearly all acrobatics in games these can be sluggish and unresponsive especially when dropping or doing a directional jump, however the use of a button to make Death jump backwards works really well as I find jumping backwards in acrobatic games can be extremely awkward. Being one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse Death of course gets a horse that you use to cross the large landscapes quickly or attack enemies from atop the horse, but I find that I barely use the horse as I want to thoroughly explore the map and there's also a lot of areas the horse can't be used in anyway. Death is accompanied by a crow called Dust throughout the game and you can order Dust to show you which way to go, but most of the time this is not very helpful as a lot of it is obvious or Dust will go to a different place every time you call it making finding the way confusing.

To unlock paths and doors in dungeons you often have to solve a puzzle using the environment and mission relevant abilities, for example clearing a path of corruption by throwing a bomb onto the corruption crystals and shooting it with a gun that Death receives after one of the main missions. One type of enemy in Darksiders 2 are small bugs like wasps and scarabs that can be instantly killed by pressing the circle/B button, however this rarely works and the only sure fire way to make it work is to run around the bugs constantly tapping the circle/B button. One of the biggest problems in Darksiders 2 is loading circles, every time you enter a new area the screen freezes and you have to wait for the game to load and this just gets more and more annoying, I really think the game developers should have just had loading screens with some game tips every time you enter one of the large areas.

The graphics of the characters and items in Darksiders 2 are cartoony which works well with the over the top feel of the game and really reminds me of World of Warcraft with larger than life body builds and ridiculously big weapons. The look of the world is also really cool with pleasing and diverse environments, however 2D distant backgrounds look like water colours and look out of place in the game. The soundtrack of the game is also out of place with some music that sounds like the theme from The Shawshank Redemption and some sounding just odd and irrelevant to the environment. One of the coolest things in Darksiders 2 is the voice actor for death Michael Wincott who plays the villain in "The Crow" who provides a rich, haunting voice (that sounds remarkably like Jeremy Irons) and gives death a great chilling and haunted feel. The story line of Darksiders 2 is also very well done with Death trying to find redemption for his brothers actions in the first game.

Over all this game is pretty cool but could have been incredible with a few tweaks. If all the elements of this game appeal to you, you think it looks amazing and you could get over its problems then you should definitely buy this game, but if you only want a game to pass some time and you think this one looks kind of cool do not buy it. So far I have no real desire to play the game for long periods of time and I think once I've completed it I won't play it again, which is a shame because it could have been the kind of game that I'd play for years.

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