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DARKSIDERS 2
DARKSIDERS 2 REVIEW
Date Played Nov 2013

One assumes that the Darksiders franchise was originally intended to be a series of four games giving us the parallel stories of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. Unfortunately the developers, THQ, went bankrupt and sold the IP to Nordic Games. The word on the street is that we could see a new game by 2015 and I hope it pans out. It would be disappointing if this franchise ended.

This particular sequel is in parallel time to the first Darksiders and introduces us to Death, another member of the four horseman. While War from the first game is being charged for the crime of destroying mankind, Death sets out on a personal mission to prove his brother's innocence and restore humanity. His first task is to seek out the Keeper of Secrets, also known as the Crowfather, to find out how to accomplish his goal. However, the Keeper is bitter about being forced to guard an amulet which holds the souls of Death's fallen brethern, the Nephelim, and refuses to open the portal to the Tree of Life. A fight ensues and the amulet shatters and embeds itself in Death's chest, knocking him out and sending him into a vortex created by the Crowfather's demise. Death finds himself in the Forge Lands where an evil known as Corruption blocks access to the Tree. The main quest revolves around destroying the Corruption, opening the way, and finding a solution that will save War and restore humanity.


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If I was to nitpick about Darksiders 2, I would say that I did not feel the same connection to Death as I did to War. The story is a little thin and does not engender any sense of urgency to "fight for justice." Whereas War shows his emotions, Death's personality is one of stoicism, thus failing to hit any real high and low points. However, he does grow on you after awhile with his prominent redeeming quality being his loyalty to his brothers.

A complaint about Darksiders was the keyboard controls and they have been improved and somewhat slim-lined here. It seems the developers got better at porting. I didn't take much advantage of the training elements, though, as many of the fights turned into button mashing exercises. This really had more to do with my particular keyboard and mouse bindings as many special moves use the same key as dodge + mouse attack, which I found awkward. However, I made out just fine with mostly the basics and a few moves that didn't require using that combination.

The visuals lean towards a comic book drawing style with the colors often being a little too monochromatic. This makes it difficult to distinguish sharply between the backgrounds and the figures. Also, during fights, your character can look more like a splattered blob of rainbow colors and damage point numbers than a person. However, this is more apparent in the screenshots than in-game, so it won't detract from your experience very much.

Bosses can be quite difficult before you get properly geared up with upgrades, so you shouldn't tackle them before you get to a higher level. The puzzles are not overly difficult to figure out, but some of them cannot be done till you get the right equipment. Buying weapons can be very expensive, but the gear you find in-game is mostly enough to do the job. You can also buy special boxes with coins, but again these are costly and the contents are hidden till purchased. I do wish there had been a bit more of an in-game tutorial on the possessed weapons as I had a hard time understanding it for awhile.

There are 2 separate skill trees to choose from: Harbinger and Necromancer. One leans towards warrior and the other to spellcaster. I went mostly Harbinger, although the ghouls in Necromancer can save your bacon by distracting the enemy, and the bats can be leveled up to give you health on attack. This came in very handy when health pick-ups were scarce.

Darksiders 2 does have great platforming with only occassional difficultly with the camera, but not much. Dust, the raven and Death's constant companion, is also a great navigation tool and if you get lost or stumped, he will point the way.

For the most part, this game is well-developed and fairly lenghthy depending on your style and whether you like to collect. It's a very open world and not far into the game you can wander at will. Side missions are given as you progress and meet certain characters.

This is one of the the best overall games going in my opinion. It's well-balanced between gameplay, collecting, upgrading, platforming, combat, length and available DLC. And although the graphics and story may not be spectacular, they are still pretty good. Not that this game is perfect, no game is, but it does give you a lot of bang for the buck. After you finish the game, you can play New game + retaining all of your equipment.

As to the DLC, they are not very inspiring and feel rushed. Argul's Tomb is mainly an exercise in using void walker and ends rather abruptly with no real indication that's it over and no instructions. You need to quit the game and go back to the main menu to start New Game +. Abysmal Forge is about using the soul splitter ability. I had problems here with the swim up key not working and a few crashes. It has a terrible boss ending as if the developers didn't really know how tie the mission into Death's story. Demon Belial has no soul splitter or voidwalker and the enemies are a little tougher.

All in all, both games are worth a play.

UPDATE June 2015: Gunfire Games (see Development Note below) is currently working on Darksiders 2 Deathinitive Edition as well as a VR game called Chronos and some other secret project.

UPDATE Nov 2015: The Deathinitive Edition has now been released and the original game removed from sale in most places. The DLC is now included in this version and you can no longer buy the DLC for the original game.

UPDATE May 2017: Darksiders 3 has been announced with an estimated release scheduled for sometime in 2018. It will feature a female protagonist called Fury, the third member of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.
Game Issues Experienced
There is a minor irritation with the menu interface. Every time you set a new key binding the screen jumps back to the top. Also, the arrow bindings show up as number pad numbers. There is no 1680 x 1050 resolution which is my desktop. Some other resolutions may not be supported

The following is a list of problems which were resolved by restarting the game:
- option menu changed languages
- loss of camera control
- escape button minimizes the game
- occassional crashes using alt+tab
- loss of sound

You may encounter a bug at "Return to the Tree of Life" in the City of the Dead quest if you used fast travel. You need to go away and return not using fast travel in order to trigger a cutscene.
Development Note
Darksiders is the first game in what was going to be a franchise featuring subsequent games based on the other 3 horsemen of the apocalypse. Unfortunately, the publisher THQ declared bankruptcy in Dec of 2012, shortly after Darksiders 2 was released. THQ properties were auctioned off and among others, the Darksiders IP was acquired by Nordic Games. Nordic Games have indicated having a commitment to continuing the franchise, so there is hope yet. The developer previously named Vigil Games and part of the THQ family, after a stint as Crytek USA, has now founded a new company named Gunfire Games and has approached Nordic about the possibility of making Darksiders 3.
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Other games in series:  Darksiders
Darksiders 3 2018
GAME INFORMATION
  • Genre: Action RPG
  • Developer(s): Vigil Games
  • Publisher(s): originally THQ, now Nordic Games
  • Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U
  • Release: Aug 2012
  • Mode(s): Single-player
  • Media: Download, DVD, Blue-ray Disc, Optical disc
  • DLC Available: Yes
  • OS: WindowsXP SP3/ Vista SP1/ Windows 7
  • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo, AMD Athlon x 2, 2.0 GHz
  • RAM: 2 GB ( DE 4GB )
  • Hard Drive: 20 GB free space (10 GB free after install) ( DE 13GB )
  • Video: NVidia 8800 GT ( DE 9800GT ) 512 MB or AMD equivalent
  • Sound:
  • Shader Model:
  • Input: Keyboard & Mouse, Partial controller support
  • DRM: Steam (Gog Drm free)
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  • Version: Steam Download
  • OS: Windows 7 SP1
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-3570K; 3.40GHz
  • Ram: 8GB
  • Disk Drive: DVD/CD
  • Video: ATI Radeon HD 7870 2GB
  • Shader Model: 4.1
  • DirectX: 11
  • Input: Keyboard & Mouse
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