Over the holiday, Nintendo was running some pretty sweet discounts. Among them was Darksiders II for $8, which regularly runs $40. This is the sequel to the 2010 THQ game Darksiders. Both games have been decently received by audiences and critics. I played the original game back when I had my 360 because of all the praise people gave it. However, I found it to be clunky and awkward to play, but I’m thinking that was a result of my inexperience playing these types of games. For whatever reason, I passed on the sequel and didn’t give it any thought. But as I started to hear reviews for Darksiders II, the one phrase kept sticking out: “It’s like a Zelda game.” As I started to see more and more price reductions and clearances, I was tempted to grab the game. At $8. I felt that even if it didn’t meet my expectations, it at least wasn’t a waste of my money.
Continuing the plot from the first game, Death sets out on a journey for the Tree of Life, which holds the secret to restoring mankind back from extinction after War inadvertently triggered the Apocalypse on Earth. Darksiders II takes place in a fantasy-like realm that has been overrun by Corruption, an evil force that has hindered the way of life of an ancient culture. To get to to Tree of Life, Death is going to have to restore order and stop Corruption.
Darksiders II is, for all intensive purposes, a good game. It plays like a God of War game, with button mashing attacks and combos, mixed with Zelda-inspired dungeons and boss battles. Couple this with level gains, weapon upgrades and ability trees, and you’ve got yourself a mighty fine experience. I’m barely halfway through the game, and I’m having a blast. Dungeons seem to be taking longer and longer to complete, which is great. Boss battles have been interesting and definitely draw their inspiration from Zelda. While challenging, I never feel like the game is unfair. When I die, it’s typically through my own error or stupidity.
The game does have its flaws though. On the Wii U, everyone wants to integrate motion controls into the game-play. I have no opposition to this if it enhances and enriches the experience. In this case, it does not. Do you need motion controls for swimming or steering stone giants? No, absolutely not. Cut that out. Luckily, this can be turned off, making all these little tasks so much easier to complete. At times, the controls can be mildly convoluted and act wonky. While doing wall-climbing tricks, the game often mistakes side motions for up and vice versa, leading to a fall and death. While the game doesn’t punish you for this, it IS annoying. Executing special moves requires a touch on the gamepad too. In theory, it makes sense. However, in the middle of a fight, having to look down at the gamepad is often distracting and leads to taking a hit. It’s something you have to learn to compensate for and it forces you to make immediate decisions. I’ve mostly found these quarks to be a mild annoyance; nothing really game-breaking, just stuff you learn to adapt to.
Overall, it’s acting as a nice hold over until Zelda comes out. If we ever see a Darksiders III or IV get made, I’d likely pick them up as well. Since THQ went under though, I don’t know that we ever will.