Sunday, September 2, 2012

Darksiders 2: First Impressions

Within the first few moments of Darksiders 2 you can tell that you're embarking on something purely Epic.

The stakes have already been set up very high in the previous game; the Horseman War has been imprisoned for bringing on the Apocalypse, earth is dust and Humans are extinct. As  Wars Brother you take it upon yourself to prove his innocence and bring back humanity - You are Death... and you are a Bad Ass.

The first thing that grabbed me about the game is the music, and trust me this is normally something I almost never compliment right away, but Darksiers 2 has a score that gives every task a sense of grandness and urgency.

The music drives you; it drives you to ride, it drives you to move like a beast in combat, it makes you want to save the world.

Then there's the look of the game. Where Darksiders 1 had ruined cities and sad grey subways to bring to life its dead world, Darksiders 2 has massive forests, ice lands, and areas that are just a wonder to behold. The main hub of the game where you get your weapon upgrades and spells is a wonderfully crafted area with giant architecture blended nicely with the green around it. So nice that I love visiting it over and over.

To some extent the world reminded me a little of World of Warcraft, maybe because of the similar art style.

The combat in the game is a gem as well. Gone is the bulky fighting style of War. Death is quick and fluid, leaping in to a blood spilling frenzy with ease. Combat is also very tight and responsive, with Death doing exactly what you want him to, when you want him to. In fact the dodge roll in the game is so effect that it's almost cheating. But I'm pretty early into things and I'm sure I'll need it badly later on as combat gets heavier.

But what adds extra spice to the game is its little RPG touches. You get to fashion Death into your own style of killing machine. Through out the game enemies drop loot, this can be anything from clothing to weapons that carry different stats. Want your Death to be a strong tank filled with defence and resistance? so be it. My Death is fast, full on damage and crit.

The items also change the look of Death too, so this adds to even more customizations ecstatically.

One of the coolest parts of Darksiders 2s weapon list is the addition of "Possessed Weapons", these are items that level up with you. Plus they have this ability to "eat" other items. So if you feed it an item with a particular stat, those stats become part of the possessed weapon. You can also name these weapons so at the moment I have a pair of custom Scythes I named "Twin Peaks." I am massive loot whore, in WoW it was almost an obsession, so this aspect of Darksiders 2 keeps me venturing forth like mad.

There are also combat tress that carry this even further. Now these tress aren't that extensive, it's basically just two paths allowing either direct damage or damage through spells. My Death is all about the hands on.

The story is driven through dialogue wheels similar to Mass Effect and Dragon Age 2, though the dialogue options aren't as extensive they do a good job of moving things along. If you are one for story and lore, Darksiders 2 has it in plenty. All the dialogue is wonderfully brought to life with awesome voice work, so it's all a gem to sit through.

What drives me on in the game is exploring. I've said this over and over. I love to explore, and Darksiders 2 gives you lots to explore, and you get to to do so on your trusty horse Despair. As you ride along to objectives you come across ruins and caves that lead to side dungeons filled with special baddies and loot. This keeps the game from becoming stale story wise as you constantly have heaps to do.

The characters that drive the game are brought to life beautifully, but the star of the Show is Death, as it should be.

Michael Wincott is bad ass
Death as voiced by Michael Wincott, and is probably the coolest character I've played in a while. He is mysterious, bad ass, calm in the face of everything... with has a dry humour that actually makes you laugh now and then.  With all this Death actually has a certain charm to him that I haven't seen in to many recent characters in gaming.

Plus I've always been a fan of Wincott's voice and could never get enough of it in the past from his films, so him playing Death makes me giddy as a school girl. Ever since I saw him in the Crow I thought he had one of the coolest voices ever. It's kinda cool too how in the Game Death has a crow that shows him the path to follow when moving around in the world.

I remember how Darksiders 1 really reminded me of Soul Reaver: Legacy of Kane, well Darkisers 2 feels the same way. It really nails home the old school adventure game feel with larger than life locations and characters.

But Darkisers 1 for all its awesomeness did get a little boring some times, with its derivative puzzles and long gaps between combat. Thankfully this hasn't happened yet with Darksiders 2. 

When I first saw Darksiders 2 it was the game I didn't know I wanted. But if you're a fan of such titles as Castlevania: Lord of Shadows, God of War and the like, then Darksiders 2 will be a welcome addition to your collection.

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