Darksiders 2 review: the ride as Death is long, but is it good?

First comes war, then comes death. Darksiders 2 puts you in the mask of the horseman of death as he sets out to save his brother from a wrongful punishment. The game starts right after War gets imprisoned by those he answers to for breaking the laws he adheres to and thus dooming humanity, allegedly. Death takes it upon himself to save his brother, and thus he sets out on a long journey to set things right.

If there’s one thing that Darksiders is known for, it’s the way it mimics aspects from other games. Darksiders 2 is no different. In fact it does this to an even greater degree, bringing back and refining old aspects as well as new ones.  The God of War style combat returns, and Death’s fighting style fits it even better. The meat of the game is taken from the Legend of Zelda, and the addition of large overworlds makes the connection even easier to make. A new loot system has been added to the game, adding a Diablo-esque feature. It’s actually one of the best things about this game; having leveled gear handed to you on a regular basis keeps you playing and searching for the next piece. In many ways Darksiders 2 copies features from other games. This amalgamation actually works together to create great gameplay at its core. It’s too bad other shortcomings prevent it from being a great game.

Back when the first Darksiders came out, the visual style was unique, but the graphics were just passable. That was back in 2010, and unfortunately the graphics have remained the same. This leads to some less than desirable textures, and an overall graphical quality that doesn’t hold up well to the standard this game was trying to set. The visual style itself is interesting, and it leads a unique quality that makes up a bit for the lack of enhanced graphics.

The story that drives Death is one of epic proportions, at least in concept. With characters that have over the top personalities constantly talking about the world around them and ancient ways, it’s hard not to get swept up in the scope of things. But this scope is sort of minimalized by the main story, which eventually boils down to making your ways to one place that has the power to fix everything. In order to do this, you must receive help from quite a few figures that apparently have much more power than you do. Death must do a multitude of fetch quests for them all; essentially turning the game into one fetch quest after another, some of which end up not even mattering. The story falls a predictable line that rarely deviates very far, if at all. This won’t be a game that is known for a gripping story.

Despite a boring story and less than stellar graphics, Darksiders 2 is still a good game at its core. The fighting is just as fun as any other brawler it imitates, and the voice acting is excellent enough to make you overlook what the words really mean. Not to mention it has one of the longest campaigns I’ve seen in a single player game. But the game suffers from this as well. Between no real gems to find outside of the main story, and the main story not having much pull, the length of the campaign starts to become more of a chore than a bonus. But when the game is fun, it’s really fun, and is at least worth a look. It is a good game, but only surpasses its predecessor in size, sacrificing a bit of quality to do so. This is one example that proves quality is better than quantity.

6.5 out of 10

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