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Darksiders II review

Death takes life in a dynamic, brawling experience worthy of its AAA label
Tue Aug 14 2012, 17:00
Darksiders II Death and Dust

THE ROUSING Darksiders II follows directly on from its predecessor, seeing you take the role of the horseman Death after his brother War has been imprisoned for eradicating humanity.

The game kicks off to see you riding your steed Despair down frozen wastes toward the Tower of Secrets seeking a way to bring humanity back, thus saving War from an eternity in chains. Death's quest to save his brother is the driving force of the Darksiders II plot and informs every part of the story, following Death as you jump city to city, dungeon to dungeon trying to piece together what happened in the last game and how to undo it.

The story itself is told in a variety ways, using both interactive cut scenes, hidden clues and interactive dialogue with non-player characters (NPCs). This open flexible mesh of storytelling styles is mirrored in the Darksiders II gameplay, which itself is a composite of classic adventure games like Nintendo's Legend of Zelda series, hardcore platformers like Ubisoft's Prince of Persia on the Xbox 360 and classic brawlers like THQ's own Space Marine.

Darksiders II Death on Despair

The game is split into various city hubs. Each city has its own stores and NPCs, complete with both plot and sub-quests. The quests are picked up either by talking to the NPCs or reading a relevant clue in the area.The quests' goals are varied, seeing you do everything from recovering lost treasures and hunting down specific enemies to reactivating behemoth golems.

The majority of the quests see you travel outside the city hubs into the wild and traverse the many dungeons there. The areas outside the city are vast and each has its own character and dangers.

Traversing the vast plains is made faster by the game's quick travel option that lets you jump between already visited locations simply by clicking on them in the map screen, based upon Death's ability to summon his steed Despair.

Despair can be summoned whenever Death is an open enough area and is an invaluable tool when exploring the game's vast open plains. Like the original Darksiders, a vast amount of your time playing will be spent dungeon diving.

Dungeon's in Darksiders II follow a design philosophy similar to those seen in modern Prince of Persia and Legend of Zelda titles, effectively being giant monster filled, multi-level puzzles. Going into the dungeon you'll often have a specific goal like activate the bell tower or relight the complex's power sources.

It's in these sections that Darksiders II really shines, bringing together platform, arcade combat and puzzle elements. The platform sections of Darksiders II are quite similar to those in Prince of Persia, featuring similar controls and level design, tasking you to get Death from one section of the dungeon to the other.

 

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