Since we're not IGN, we don't get copies of games to review early, so it takes us a week or so to review games. Sorry about that. But seriously, if you had any doubts about Darksiders 2, now's my chance to get rid of them.
The gameplay is great... if you're playing with a gamepad. The mouse and key controls are extremely lacking, but if you played the first Darksiders you'd know that already. That aside, the controls are tight and they feel great, it feels really natural to pull of combos and to move around the world.
The combat is just as brutal as the first game, except with less button prompts and a lot more agility in combat. War had a dash in the first game, but it wasn't as integral to combat as Death's rolls. Rolling feels great in this game, which isn't something I thought I would ever say about a video game. But the combat dodge looks well, flows well, and performs well, which is saying something about how avoiding attacks is just as important as delivering them in this title. Death delivers what he's named for with a lot of style and efficiency, the combos feel excellent and the hits you dish out really feel like you're hitting someone, not thin air.
Moving around feels great. Death's running speed could be a little quicker, or I could just be impatient. The platforming segments are a nice way to navigate dungeons, as forced as they feel, but the "Death's Grip" gadget could be a bit more responsive. The Swingshot from Ratchet and Clank, a game from years before Darksiders, functions the exact same way, but responds and plays much nicer. Death's Grip just feels... trapped. The swinging is a scripted animation with little to no freedom, and for a game with a lot of platforming I'm surprised at that.
The decision to add loot, a change from the first game, was a great decision. It allows a lot more freedom to play the game and play with your stats how you want to make them, something the first Darksiders didn't allow.
If there's anything to be said about the art style of Darksiders as a whole, I would say it's metal as shit. Giant eels pulling floating castles, skeletons breaking out of ice blocks to defend their dead kings, lava filled dungeons filled with constructs out to kill you, it's all very breathtaking. Screenshots don't do the game justice. I have no complaints about the art style or how the graphics look, but something I would have appreciated is a little PC support. Graphics options don't bother me that much, but it would satisfy me as a PC user to get some hi-res textures.
If there's one complaint I have about the design of anything, it's that the warrior oriented gear doesn't look as good as the gear oriented towards magic wielding players. I want knight clothing, not barbaric clothing that shows off Death's pale chest.
The story is great. Enough said. If you went in expecting Death to just make a futile attempt at saving his brother, prepare to see Death ride out his own story. There's a much wider cast of characters than in the first Darksiders, from Scottish giants to undead sparring trainers, and the voice acting is all excellent, especially Death's. Death is explored as a character a lot more than War was, and I liked that especially about the game. If they continue to give as much in depth coverage of the characterizations of the horsemen in the franchise, I'll be much happy. Maybe even go back and revisit War as a character, show me what he's really like when he's not just killing things and hunting his redemption.
Something I didn't like? There needed to be more Uriel.
Darksiders 2 gets a 9.5/10. I really enjoyed it, and I'm looking forward to multiple playthroughs. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes loot, dungeons, things that are extremely metal, and skeletons. There better be sequels.