In 2012, Darksiders 2 was THQ and Vigil’s answer to still-hungry fans of the original Darksiders. Where its predecessor followed War, the sequel switched to his spritely brother and fellow horseman of the apocalypse, Death. Seeking his brother’s redemption for his transgressions in the first game, Death traverses the otherworldly realm, opening the way forward to the Tree of Life where he’ll finally get some answers. Fortunately for us, fate has covered the land in deadly corruption resulting in plenty of monstrous foes to Death to bash through on the way.
By comparison to the first Darksiders, the gameplay is more energetic and what you end up with is an acrobatic hack and slash that mixes some of the best elements of genre peers like Devil May Cry, Prince of Persia and God of War, whilst retaining a fairly simplistic inventory management and levelling system appropriate for a game of this decidedly nippy pace.
2015’s Darksiders 2: Deathinitive Edition is a GOTY-style collection of the base game and all its previously released DLC (Abyssal Forge, Argul’s Tomb and The Demon Lord Belial are all present). Now passed into the hands of Gunfire Games (helmed by Vigil founder David Adams) the developers have taken the opportunity to tweak and enhance the game’s performance and visuals.
The visuals themselves are of particular note, not just for the advertised technical improvements of the Darksiders 2: Deathinitive Edition but also for the plain fact that this is already an art style that appears well thought out and executed beautifully. Although clearly grounded in the angel-ridden lore of Judeo-Christian mythology, there’s clearly a melting pot of influences at work as you barter with chunky shouldered warriors, buxom giantesses and skeletal tricksters. The technical improvements just help add a layer of polish.
Sadly, what is gained in visuals leaves the plot a little threadbare and an often lifeless script can leave one wondering if even Death himself would rather be doing something else. Darksiders 2: Deathinitive Edition Dialogue is delivered by the numbers and whilst appropriately mystical in its presentation, what should be rapier-sharp wisecracks often end up seeming rather laboured.
The game’s main menu is unavailable until at least one game has been saved. It’s a strange choice that risks causing consternation from the typically unforgiving PC fraternity who will be initially unable to manipulate graphics options until after the opening cut-scene. That said, after a bumpy start its business as usual.
Combat evolves nicely overall and what starts out as little more than button-mashing slowly incorporates more elaborate move combinations as Death’s repertoire of moves becomes more expansive.
The Darksiders 2: Deathinitive Edition loot/gear system is quite engaging but ultimately involves little more than switching to better armour pieces as you pound them out of your enemies. An interesting addition though is ‘possessed’ gear which you can ‘feed’ your inventory junk to in order to increase its base stats. Any gear you don’t feed can still be sold for ‘gilt’ to the various merchants littered around the game’s hub area.
Darksiders 2: Deathinitive Edition is a solid combination of Tomb-Raider style puzzle solving and acrobatics and mythological monster mashing. As someone arriving fresh, there’s a definite feeling that you’re getting the full package. Seasoned fans, on the other hand, are unlikely to find much to entice them back other than a somewhat richer visual experience; something that admittedly may be offset by the generous discount offered to owners of the original.
This review was originally published on GamingUncut.com
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