Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Darksiders 2 - Review 360

Let me start by saying a bit about Darksiders 1. It took me a year to finish. Not because it was bad but because it just wasn’t what I wanted at the moment. I played to about the second boss and then said “fuck it”. I don’t prefer fetching, and I can’t stand walking 3 feet and having invisible walls come up until I beat the next onslaught of enemies. I like the option to piss myself, bitch out and run.
Well after a year I had nothing to play and put it back in. I forced myself to push on and was so happy I did. After the second boss the story started to truly pick up and let me say the mythology this game built was quite good. War as a character who just started out as your revenge driven Kratos rip actually turned into being something Noble and powerful. Willing to wheel and deal to get what he needed and deep down you can see there is a spark for something great to be brought out. People may say he is just a hulking armored hack and slash mass but in reality there is a lot there to work with and personality to still be revealed.  
People compared the gameplay to a Zelda clone but honestly I just didn’t feel that way. Just because a game has a form of a hook shot and dungeons doesn’t mean it’s copying Zelda.
I was super excited at the end of Darksiders when they showed the other horsemen spiraling to earth to help their brother and drooled for a sequel.
Now for part 2.  (May contain spoilers but I’ll try)
Let me start by saying this one suffered the same fate as the first. I made it to the Land of the Dead and almost threw feces at the screen in frustration and shut it off because it just didn’t seem to go anywhere. You would meet someone they would send you looking for 3 of some random BS object and then you fight something, only to then collect 3 more of something. There was NO NEED to have 3 of anything. It was simply to pad out the game experience which could have been done just as well by combining the 3 separate dungeons to one and having me collect ONE of something.  I will say the exploration is phenomenal and scenery beautiful but still I didn’t need to see it all 3 times.
They touted this sequel as massive compared to the first which I will agree BUT it seemed most of the size was by again padding out the worlds. The first game had a massive world to explore which was great but this game is broken into 4 different worlds all about maybe half the size of the first’s one world. Thing is there is also a horse right off the bat and fast travel available so you didn’t have to foot it everywhere. This honestly made the game feel much smaller than it was. Now if you wanted to explore and collect secrets of course it would seem massive but just story wise they felt the same.
AND speaking of story….. there was a long while I had no real idea what the story even was. This game is supposed to take place at the same time as the first but at no point did I ever feel that way. There were subtle hints to the first and the things going on and characters involved but for the most part they didn’t feel connected at all. It would have been nice to get some glimpse of War while you spent a whole 5 minutes on Earth. You wouldn’t have had to interact especially since Death was supposed to be helping secretly but still you met one of the main characters from the first and there was no mention of where in time they correlated to each other.
Also you did get to meet up with Sameal (yay) but I didn’t like the way it was done I didn’t like the aspect of time travel used. If there was time travel available then why didn’t death just stop the seals from being broken in the past and prevent this all from happening? Did it ONLY work in the Demon realm but even then I’m sure Sameal would have liked to know about being imprisoned by the Destroyer and would have probably helped stop the Apocalypse from happening for the info. I think it would have been better to meet Sameal in secret while on Earth and just have him tell you where the key was hidden or just have Lilith give it to you.
The story never really evolved into anything more than your trying to free your brother War but it really seemed like it tried and fell flat.  They introduced a new antagonist in corruption and Lillith but one is gone by the end.
It turns out there are some comics which help fill it all in but really this is stuff that should have been in the game. They hinted at the creation of the Nephilim (which is what the horsemen are apparently) but never dealt with the story behind it in the game, just the comics and this would have helped make the game feel more whole.
I enjoyed the side questing and would have liked to see more of these added to pad then just more fetching in dungeons.
Graphics wise the game is gorgeous. It has a very comicy feel and rightly so. The environments are huge and detailed and the characters are extremely varied. Enemies become a bit regurgitated but there is actually quite a variety per world and aside lockdowns in dungeons (which are not as frequent as the first) you don’t really even have to fight much if you don’t feel like it.
Gameplay was interesting…. I am honestly not a fan of the loot system they went with for this game. After I realized every stupid ant squished gave you some kind of weapon or cursed socks you could sell for buying good stuff I found no real desire to side quest until the very end when my guy could just bitch slap all the quest bosses around like puppies. This in turn usually gives you some weapon but it was already way below stuff I had bought, and the exp was pretty useless because it seemed after about level 20 you kind of capped out and getting higher would have just taken more grinding then it was worth. Also the loot is pretty much nonsense. Armor has so many stats its almost impossible to decide what you want and half the stats stuff doesn’t seem to work. I just ended up picking highest base defense and attack and going with that. I had a regen piece and never once saw my health increase on its own. I had a weapon that sucked health from enemies and pretty much spammed that the whole time as most element effects didn’t seem to matter. I tried fighting an Ice boss with fire and it had no more damage to him than any other weapon and this carried over to a fire boss I used Ice on. I killed a fire boss with my exploding ghouls, fought fire with fire I guess.
Controls were finicky as hell. Battling was pretty much narrowed down to 3 moves even though the list is forever long. Some of the moves as much as you try just don’t seem to work. So you find the 3 that do and wreck the enemies with those for 20 hours (yes 20+ hours long). It makes fighting pretty boring, but hey why even fight when I can just keep summoning exploding ghouls to do my work for me, which is what I did from about ¼ of the way in on. Once you level up the ghoul power you are pretty much playing overlord and barely have to get your own hands dirty if you don’t want to. Jumping and climbing could be annoying as you really almost have to be positioned perfectly to do what you need which caused you to stop and go and ruined the natural flow of acrobatics. And don’t even get me started on the couple of areas you had to climb cylinders away from rising instant death. It’s a royal pain in the ass when you change your POV and realize your right is now left as you lunge into lava, not to mention sometimes Death seems to just like being rebellious and telling you to fuck off while he runs a wall you meant to climb up.
Also I ran into two fairly bad glitches through the game. One at the Wailing host boss which made me have to restart the fight about 3 times because he would  just decide life wasn’t worth it and freeze. Then later on when trying to load my file at a Lillith “story so far” and my file wouldn’t load, which sucks because the game auto saves. Apparently these are both known glitches and after the load file one I found there was an update which seemed to fix it cause I’d be damned to start over at that point.
Few gripes aside the game was a lot of fun. Took a bit to get moving just like its predecessor but was actually really worth it in the end. 60$ price tag may be a bit much but 30$-35$ is fair for its size. I will say character wise and play wise I think I liked the first a bit more and actually really wanted to see War in this game but Death is an interesting character. Seemed a bit Legacy of Kainy to swap main protagonist characters so soon but hopefully War will have a major role if 3 comes out.

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