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Gaming: Darksiders 2 review

Last updated on: September 17, 2012 13:48 IST

Gaming: Darksiders 2 review

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This sequel to Darksiders is an epic fantasy, says  Murali Venukumar. His review of the game

Murali is a full-time marketing exec, part-time writer and a life-long gamer.

Darksiders 2 is a tough game to dislike. Unlike your typical modern videogame, it heaps on more content than you know what to do with; and often to its own detriment. But let's deal with that later, shall we? This much-awaited sequel to the first Darksiders unfortunately doesn't pick up right after its end, but instead takes place in parallel with its events. War is still in hot water over triggering the apocalypse a smidgen early, and you now play Death trying to clear his fellow Horseman's name.

Platforms: Xbox 360 / PS3 / PC

Price: Xbox 360/PS3: Rs. 2799 / PC: Rs. 999

Developer: Vigil Games

Publisher: THQ

Distributor: E-xpress Interactive

Genre: Action-Adventure

Rating: 8/10

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Photographs: THQ

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You'd think there were better ways to tell a tale set in the end of days than with fetch quests or barely coherent objectives, but that's exactly what Darksiders 2 ultimately boils down to. As the sprightly reaper, you're shuffled from one ethereal world to the other, staying overly long in some while rushing through others in the blink of an eye. There are four overworlds to work through, and even with the last pair being shorter than the first, you're still looking at a 25-hour videogame -- and that's before you work through the side quests and the optional missions.

The overworlds are massive enough that you're given your own very steed to ride around on (and a fast travel option if you're in a hurry), and contain a series of intricate dungeons to fight, puzzle and platform your way through. Each is also home to a set of chunky, exquisitely detailed and pleasantly voiced NPCs who help out with quest-giving and story progression. The visual design in general is pretty good, even if some of the textures are quite low-res and Death himself looks a tad generic. Another standout is Jesper Kyd's superlative soundtrack.

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Photographs: THQ

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Unlike War, Death is a sprightly chap who's able to pull off lightning quick moves in combat and climb steep crevices like an undead free-runner. In short, we're talking God of War style combat and Tomb Raider platform-ing and traversal, both of which the game pulls off with reasonable success -- barring the awful combat camera and Death's tendency to leap off ledges in the wrong direction. They're annoying miscues to be sure but aren't game killers.

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject as 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.


Photographs: THQ

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Darksiders also inches precariously close to the RPG side of the gaming fence. There are two skill trees to spec up based on whether you're more magic or brute force kind of person; and you'll also find a copious amount on loot (both weapons and armour) in chests or dropped by enemies.

What's nice is how you can see loot stats by standing over an item and then instantly equip it by holding the select button. While this is neat and all, a lot of the pickups do start to blend into one another. You'll also find it hard to discern tangible differences between some your pickups -- possibly a consequence of there being too many of them.

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Photographs: THQ
Tags: RPG , Darksiders

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You have a button each for your heavy and light weapons, and stringing combos using the two is fast and fun. In addition to your run-of-the-mill weapons, there are unique possessed armaments that gain in strength as you feed normal weapons to them. These pack quite a punch and significantly ease the difficulty of underling and boss combat. The bosses especially are old school pattern-based relics, but are never condescending in their difficulty.

All this looting, hoarding and spec-cing is for the best as Darksiders 2 also comes with a New Game Plus mode, where you carry all your hard work over and replay the game on a higher difficulty. It's just perfect for a game such as this and practically doubles the replay value straight out of the box. The later worlds are also when the developers start feeling frisky, trying their best to mix things up with fresh game mechanics (there's one straight out of left field later in the game that almost turns the game on its head) and fashioning more intricately laid out puzzles.

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Photographs: THQ

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It's hard to knock a game that gives you this much bang for your buck. You'll be playing Darksiders 2 for weeks, questing through random dungeons and battling an obscene number of baddies. Granted there are missteps along the way. The camera and platforming are most definitely undercooked, and the lengths of the individual overworlds needed to be more evenly divided between them.

Fortunately for Darksiders 2 and Vigil Games, those issues are more or less drowned out by everything else they've got right. The key is to play the game in moderation so as to not burn yourself out. Do that, and you should find Darksiders 2 an immensely rewarding experience.

Are you a gadget/gaming wizard/afficianado? Would you like to write on gadgets, gaming, the Internet, software technologies, OSs and the works for us? Send us a sample of your writing to gadgetsandgaming@rediffmail.com with the subject as 'I'm a tech wizard/afficianado' and we will get in touch with you.


Photographs: THQ

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