Saturday, 09 June 2012 16:16
Games - Games
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With the spirit of the original and added RPG elements, Darksiders II is a beast of a different color. Combat as Death will look and feel very similar to the way War fought in the first, but those are the only similarities. Darksiders II employs an inventory system, skill trees, special abilities, and loot—all things that will add to the depth and breadth of the title.
Now, that's a little scary as I feel that Darksiders was fantastic as is. Currently rocking a score of around 83 on Metacritic, it's a fact that many people enjoyed being War. With Zelda-style level and weaponry design, the simple approach was very effective. But THQ and Vigil Games are trying to push the series to a new level, and it's obvious that more complex puzzles will be coming with all of these new additions.
When you take a step back, the whole character of Death looks and sounds a lot like one you might find in a dark gritty film, so it's only appropriate that he is voiced by Michael Wincott, who you may or may not remember as Top Dollar from The Crow. And the crow tie-ins don't stop there. You've got a crow companion called Dust, who will point you in the correct direction. And although you are free from Mark Hamill as The Watcher, a new character, the Crowfather, firmly takes his place. The character and environment designs still ooze comic stylization and pair perfectly with the first title.
The actual demo was fairly short, taking around 15 minutes to completely beat. I started riding on Death's horse, Despair, through an icy and quite beautiful landscape. Much like in the first title, the game felt very linear. Although Death can do wall runs, mantles, wall bounces, beam running, and pillar jumps, there is one set path you must follow to get from point A to point B.
Using a massive heavy hammer as my secondary weapon, I crushed frost enemies that broke free from their ice prisons, and equipped a few items that I received, such as a new pair of gloves and some boots. Items are level specific, so I even found a few higher level items that I would never have the chance to use as the demo ends before I can level up. Instead of blocking, like War, Death counters, dealing additional damage with fast footwork and quick evasion, so close quarter combat becomes much more interesting.
I moved into a mini boss fight with an ice giant, who proved to be a formidable foe on Normal, but had that ever distinctive fight pattern that was simple to duck and dodge once it was deciphered. Death moves faster than War, so the combat has been kicked up a notch. Enemies are far more aggressive, but it's nothing Death can't handle. He has more muscles than Marcus Fenix, so color me surprised that he can maneuver as well as he does.
Doing wall climbs and jumping across beams, Death is obviously the better sportsman out of all the horsemen/horsewomen. Scaling upward into a huge icy cavern I fought past more frost baddies and broke out into an open area where I was introduced to the Crowfather. The largest difference between War and Death is definitely the attitude. War was much more loyal and a horseman of his word, but Death will lie, scam and manipulate to get what he wants.
The final section of the demo involved a fight between a dark version of War and Death. I was morally opposed to this fight, but my pacifism was met with a loss of 25% of my health. War was surprisingly easy to defeat, although when he landed a blow it did a significant amount of damage, and once he is downed, War exploded into a murder of crows and it's revealed that the Crowfather was just attempting to manipulate Death. A cutscene occurs where I crush the life from the Crowfather, but end up absorbing his powers, and probably his essence. I can't imagine they would introduce a character such as the Crowfather only to instantly kill him off.
There's a lot I wish I had the chance to experience in this demo. I wanted to level up and dole out skill points, to equip new higher level items and see what kind of a difference they made, to be lost and let Dust, Death's companion, guide me in the right direction, to actually activate Reaper form, but this was a very quick look into the world of Darksiders II. What I played was essentially the final build of the game,
But the bottom line is, the new gameplay and story elements are something that I want to explore in a full retail release. It was a bit of a tease, but isn't that the point of a demo? When something is so linear, like Zelda, Metroid, Castlevania, or Darksiders, there's not much you can really do to show off functionality without giving something away. With a release date of August 14th, gamers won't have to wait very long before sinking their scythes into this game.
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With the spirit of the original and added RPG elements, Darksiders II is a beast of a different color. Combat as Death will look and feel very similar to the way War fought in the first, but...
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