The Horsemen of the Apocalypse are back for another battle against the demoniacal corruption. In a savage battle against evil, and the original formula, we will see if Death can redeem what War could not.

THQ and Vigil Games return to Darksiders with Death staring as the lead Horseman. Dispersing further into the Nether Realm, Death is on a mission to prove his brother's innocence. In a tale that runs parallel with the original Darksiders, those who've played the first game will find more value in revisiting Darksiders' world, although it's not necessary because Darksiders II spits out enough long-winded apocalypse babble to get you caught up. Engrossed in the narrative, or not, Darksiders II is a demon smashing affair possessed by the spirit of a RPG. Levelling up and smashing more than talking is the name of the game here. Fans of the original will likely enjoy this follow-up, however the expansive “hybrid” taste takes a lot longer to quench your thirst. Often I felt let down, or more-so exhausted by the non-action in-between parts. Still Darksiders II has its moments as it tries to become even more like 'Zelda' then the more likely 'God of War'.

Between the ball rolling puzzles and fast-paced combat, Darksiders II embraces a “smoke-and-mirror” approach to making the adventure feel more like a role-playing game. However, no matter what loot you salvage, or what how you level up, the game doesn't get overly involved. Its very much an A-to-B affair with a lot of needless travelling and item fumbling to fatten its play time. This is fine, but it's not going to be for everyone; especially those who just want to throw down some scythe beheading. Darksiders II is one those ambitious types, who wants to be more than it is. At times it miraculously succeeds and others it ends up short. It's a slothful construct, which isn't always great when trying to suck players. Even with all its content, quick paced combat and demoncentric lore, Darksiders II might not be enough depending on your expectations.

Navigating to the next big battle can be daunting, peculiarly with Darksiders II expansive “open-world” map. Travelling between sites loiters, although some creative scenery has been provided, it feels like you're beating a dead horse, rather than riding it. For a quick comparison, the metal epic 'Brutal Legend' comes to mind. Aside from the somewhat exhausting traversing, dungeons can also be a little too “Prince of Persia” like with their pillar parkor jumps. Truly, it is odd to watch Death run and jump like an acrobatic muscle bound ape - it really doesn't fit the ambiance of the game. Really, shouldn't he be taking souls in some fantastical way? It is strange how the horsemen look like outcasts from the 80s cartoon, He-Man. Still digressing from the odd design choices, Darksiders II once again tries to wear every hat with a 50/50 chance of pulling it off.

Furthering this, the drive to complete objectives lack the proper motivation to really draw the player in. No real back story is given on Death, or the main antagonist, 'the Corruption,' making Darksiders II a bland roast. Sure, it is amusing to kill big monsters and talk to the various characters in the land, but nothing has any depth. Death just carries on much like he is making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, rather than slaughter hundreds of dark minions. Fetching, unlocking and climbing around vacant tombs are the blueprints here, and sadly it fees ultimately shallow. Thankfully, this the core gameplay is ultra smooth and simplistically fun, which helps you forgive Darksiders II follies.

The combat, which is based on two button melee attacks and magical powers, is satisfying. Death and his magical skills can upgraded, directed towards two skill trees; Harbringer – close-range melee attacks and Necromancy – summoning of minions to help you in battle. Expanding on your powers feels like a proper progression for Death to take, and more so, you can even build on this more if you take on Darksiders II more than once with its new game + feature. Furthermore, Darksiders II never becomes too complex and feels right at home with its auto-feeling combo system and fast paced mashing. I rather enjoyed most of the conflicts even if the battles themselves aren't too challenging. It is fun, and fun goes a long way.

Lastly, the production is a concisely sharper than the first Darksiders with the same frame-of-mind art direction. The environments, while larger, aren't overly distinguishing, but the use of colour has more diversity with more brights. The audio does its job, but doesn't exceptionally stand out. The selections of flute-laden orchestral tracks and clashing blades are crisp and voice-overs work within the context of the Darksiders' universe. Darksiders II could have used a few more variants with a little less steroids, however, at the end of the day, it looks great and performs without a hiccup, which is the most important component.

With scythe in hand, Darksiders II slices apart the soul of the original by adding a little more of everything. Good or bad, Darksiders II has become some sort of hybrid action game with borrowed concepts from a variety of popular games. This makes the once original concept of controlling a Horsemen of the Apocalypse feel watered down because of its lack of a decisive direction. No, Darksiders II isn't a bad game, it's actually quite polished and entertaining at times. However, at the end of the day, it's ultimately forgettable and fails to live up as a worthy successor to War. Third times a charm, let see if Conquest or Famine can redeem the series.

  • improved graphics with more diversity
  • smooth gameplay - plays like butter
  • combat retains is simple, fun and rewarding
  • if you're into it, lots of loot, loot, loot
  • hybrid style gameplay has something for everyone
  • a muscle bound version of death, pfft, say what!
  • the story, characters and world isn't overly interesting
  • navigating is often dull and tedious
  • still a painted up, copy-of-a-copy
  • lacks a decisive direction
Quote: "No, Darksiders II isn't a bad game, it's actually quite polished and entertaining at times. However, at the end of the day, it's ultimately forgettable and fails to live up as a worthy successor to War. "
Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy | 08.27.12 | Platform Reviewed: Playstation 3

Similar Games: Darksiders (7.0) | Viking: Battle For Asgard (7.5) | Brutal Legend (8.8)


Darksiders II


Vigil Games


US Release
August '12


X360, PS3

Players 1
5.1 Surround
HD 720-1080p
D/L Content