Oh. poor old THQ. Last year they basically went bankrupt, and all of the properties that they owned went to different gaming companies and developers. I blame the massive disappointment of Homefront to be their downfall. I remember seeing pictures and videos of E3 when they were hyping this game to be the next Call of Duty and Battlefield. In the end, Homefront was a middle of the road first-person shooter with, to be fair, an interesting, but not fully plausible story. The only thing that was worth anything in the game was its 32 player multiplayer. Of course this would be outshined by Battlefield 3’s 64-player multiplayer. After Call of Duty and Battlefield 3 came and showed them what they had to offer, Homefront became very outdated in about everything else. I remember reading after Homefront was turning out to be a flop that THQ was losing money fast. Homefront was, in my opinion, the reason why they shut down. Then again, I would also blame the developer behind the game, since they had the potential but not the talent to make a new military shooter franchise. However, THQ did try to stay afloat with games like Vigil’s Darksiders 2 for the PS3, 360, PC, and Wii U. I played the Wii U version, but what do I think of the game? I liked the first game, and it was the start to a promising new series of action games that mixed God of War and Zelda together with God of War’s epic-ness. How did it go? It has some really cool stuff in it that is well done, but it also has some clunkiness that makes the whole package off-putting. Let us get started with Vigil’s second and last game, Darksiders 2.
This game’s story takes place during the story of the first game, which is kind of interesting since this is a sequel to the first game. Sequels usually take place after the first game, but this game takes place during War’s storyline in the first game. I think it’s weird. Anyway, you play as Death, voiced by Michael Wincott. For fans of the film The Crow, he played the character Top Dollar. Death goes out on a quest to free his brother from his fate for apparently bringing up the apocalypse. Death meets different and unique characters, like the Crowfather, voiced by Keith Szarabajka who is holding an amulet that holds the souls of the Nephilim that Death needs to acquire. After beating the tar out of the Crowfather, the amulet is broken and Death gets combined with the Nephilim. He is transported to a different realm and must find his way to a place called the Tree of Life and the Well of Souls to save War and the human realm. For the most part, the story is basically about redemption, with Death wanting to redeem War’s mistake, because he knows that War didn’t start the apocalypse. However, the story can be a tad confusing at times. Death, while having a few good lines and a great voice actor, is a bit bland. He has a cool design, but his character isn’t that interesting to me. Maybe it’s because he doesn’t have a constant sidekick with him to bounce off of, like War did with the Watcher from the first game. It’s still interesting enough to keep you going till the end, but it does use design choices and storytelling techniques from Skyrim and Kingdoms of Amalur’s worlds. By making the story stretched out, they want you as the player to be engrossed into that game’s world. I just think Vigil’s strong point was crafting and making an interesting world artistically, but they were not really strong in the storytelling department.
The gameplay however, is one of the better aspects of this game. It’s an action-adventure game, with elements of God of War and Zelda combined with a very creative art style. You play as, of course, Death, and your main weapon is a scythe that can turn into two smaller scythes. Death is a more fast-paced, in-your-face kind of attacker, while War, in the first game, was more of a tank character. Death can also get a multitude of side weapons from hammers, axes, spear-like weapons, gauntlets, arm blades, and you get the idea. Death also has a set of sub-items, from a pistol, a grappling hook-like device, a portal-making device, and an item that can split his soul into two beings to solve puzzles. Besides the gun that is used to shoot baddies, the sub-items are mainly used for puzzle solving. The worlds are much bigger now, with the realms you go into having multiple small dungeons and then one large dungeon-like area that has a host of bosses, mini-bosses, and items that Death can equip to himself. Yeah, the RPG elements in this game, like armor and weapon upgrades, are vast and have different attributes, like adding more defense, attack, and etc. The dungeons, for the most part, have the same kind of stuff the last game had and more, but I’ll talk about the pros and cons about it later. Overall, you have a very big adventure that will last you about 20 hours or more if you include DLC. For the Wii U version, a lot of the stuff you can do on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 versions is done on the GamePad, and you can even play this game on the game pad. It’s pretty fun, but it’s a bit clunky to play on the pad instead of on the TV.
Graphically and artistically, this is where Vigil is at its best. The game is amazing looking. I love the art style to the game. It is just a cool-looking game, and it gives the game’s world its own personality and vibe. The music is very good. It is composed by Jesper Kyd. He is mostly well known for game series Borderlands, Hitman, and Assassin’s Creed. Voice acting is excellent. Even if all the characters are not all that interesting, they at least got them good voices. I also liked the scale of the game. You really do feel like such a small thing compared to how huge everything can be, from the places you travel to, to the giant bosses that you have to fight. Like the last game, the entire package of voice work, graphics, art style, and music is all very solid.
However, I do have some complaints that I think can be blamed for THQ’s financial issues, and how Vigil was forced to lay off a huge chunk of their staff a couple months before the game was released. While the world in Darksiders 2 is indeed bigger, it feels padded. I say this since a lot of the puzzles are the same within each world. Each dungeon does have a gimmick here or there, but all the puzzles that are in those dungeons feel similar or familiar. Like in the Sly Cooper games that I will mention and review in the future, the dungeons overstay their welcome, and are a bit too long. I also ran into some ugly glitches from my controller getting locked, two crashes, and some minor graphical glitches that didn’t ruin anything, but were noticeable at times. I also feel there are too many armor and weapon sets. This game has Diablo and RPG-style loot systems where there are just way too many pointless pieces of armor and weapons that you don’t care for it all. You are able to sell your items, but only when you are at a store, unlike Kingdoms of Amalur, where you could just junk the worthless pieces of loot for cash while you were playing. I only really bought 3 armor sets because I would either find better pieces in the levels or just wear an already existing armor set because pieces I found in the next level were weaker. It just becomes pointless looting after a bit. I also wish you could upgrade the amount of potions you can bring because the game, even on the easiest setting, can be a bit chaotic at about the halfway point and fights become tough. Sometimes, if you don’t buy your potions, you will be left with half your health or little heath left from a couple of fights. The other complaints I have are minor, but those are the ones I wanted to talk about.
Overall, I can see why this game didn’t help THQ stay afloat, but that isn’t to say it is a bad game. It is a very good game. It isn’t in my top 10 games of 2012, but it would be in my top 20. You can get this game for a multitude of consoles. I’d recommend the Wii U version or the two other console versions, but that is just for me. It is now up to the hands of fate to see if we will ever see the third game, but I hope we do because this is an interesting franchise. Let’s hope we see our four horsemen of the apocalypse sooner than later.
This game gets a 7 out of 10.