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Darksiders 2 Hands On Impressions

by Diogo Miguel August 16, 2012

Vigil Games had a difficult task at hand when it started work on the sequel to Darksiders. Will the sequel manage to live up to high expectations?

It’s difficult to find the appropriate words to describe the opening to Darksiders 2. It’s almost as if it is straight out of an epic Greek tragedy. It all kicks off with new main character Death riding on his trusty horse Despair. Yes, it is possible to ride a horse from the start. This is still limited to certain areas, but will help the player cover large distances quickly.

Combat in Darksiders 2 has been modified to make it even better. It still feels similar to the first entry, but it’s now even easier to get used to fighting. There are plenty of new combos to play around with.

Death can obtain skills by levelling up. These skills are spread out across skill trees. It’s possible to get any of the skills, but the player must get the previous skill in the tree, so the next one is available to obtain.

Each of these skills is available to use at any moment. They make use of Death’s power but most use only a small fraction of it. One of the skills unlocked, Teleport Slash, was really helpful during some of the fights encountered. It’s possible to map each skill to a short-cut that is fairly easy to access.

Each weapon has a different effect on enemies. Some are defeated quickly by using a certain type of weapon. Death only has access to his trusty scythes at the beginning. But there are other ways to get weapons and armour – such as the ones enemies drop sometimes.
Locking on to enemies will make it possible to dodge attacks. This works exceedingly well thanks to the camera, which never gets in the way of the player’s view. This will make it very handy when fighting some of the fearsome bosses that Darksiders 2 pits players against.

There is an emphasis on making Darksiders 2 feel like a true role-playing experience. Lots of hit points show up above enemies, when Death is attacking them. There are plenty of weapons and armour to find. It’s fascinating to think how different players will make use of such an in-depth system. This is made even better thanks to an interface that not only looks stylish, but makes it easy to find any of the various areas.

The level design is a lot more structured, in that the areas to explore aren’t as open based. There are still various paths to take, but it’s designed in such a manner that it makes it difficult for the player to get lost. Death can also make use of a crow guide which flies towards the current goal.

Each of the two areas played through felt completely different. The area after the introductory area consists of a rural landscape. There are various unique characters here that Death meets; which seem like they have been taken out of Nordic mythology. It’s these characters that set events in motion throughout the portion of Darksiders 2 that was played.

If this impressive hands on is anything like the rest of Dakrisders 2, then expect plenty of platform sections. These mainly consist of jumping from one location to another. However, like in the original, it gets more complex. Simple puzzles, such as one that required the player to throw bombs at switches, are introduced fairly early into the story. It’s so well integrated that it never really feels like it is there just to stop the player from quickly progressing through the game.

One of the high points from this short demonstration was the atmospheric soundtrack. It’s almost as if it is slowly building up to a grand moment. Fortunately it doesn’t disappoint when this moment arrives. It’s pretty incredible to think that the team at Vigil Games managed to improve the visuals in this sequel. Everything feels a lot more details – from the environment to the enemies.

It’s not a surprise that Darksiders 2 is nothing short of incredible. Vigil Games seems to have done wonders with this sequel. If the rest of Darksiders 2 is anything like this short demonstration, then it is a strong contender for game of the year.

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