Darksiders 2 (Wii U) Review
Gameplay: 3,5/5 – The gameplay left a bit of a mixed feeling with me. For the most part the gameplay was fairly self-explanatory and you had a lot of maneuverability which I liked. Climbing around the temples and battling monsters was mostly done well. Sometimes the battles could get a bit monotonous, especially when my weapons were a little too weak to make a dent. I was a little disappointed that after fully upgrading one of my weapons I didn’t find a new weapon worth having for a long time. However, some of the boss fights were very clever in their utilisation of game mechanics (and others were just grinds) which I appreciated. I also liked the very Zelda-esque spatial puzzle solving.
My biggest gripe over-all was the menu-system and the button layout. Especially the D-Pad confused me for a long time and occasionally I would confuse myself by switching around the quick commands for the special skills (which was often necessary due to the changing nature of dungeons). Still, I didn’t like moving around menus and sub-menus with the shoulder and trigger buttons. I think they could have simplified the menus considerably and I hated the fact that I couldn’t even pull out a map with a single button press (as there was no map on the screen). By far the worst the gameplay ever got was the shooter-section on Earth, it just flat-out sucked.
Graphics: 5/5 – I was seriously impressed with the art-direction in this game. Sure, a lot of the characters look a bit bulky, but I think the game did a good job adapting the semi-biblical theme of the game without resorting to too many clichés (though Samael definitely was just Satan [or Tim Curry in Legend]). I was also impressed with the variety in locations and enemies. The game avoided becoming monotonous in look (although a lot of time was spent in the Kingdom of Bones).
Animation: 4,5/5 – The cutscenes looked fantastic with a lot energy and movement. In-game animations were also brilliant although some of the corruption effects would end up looking a bit messy. Over-all though, I had no huge complaints.
Music: 4/5 – The game has a very varied and well-produced musical take. The themes are mostly very ambient with a few more dramatic pieces here and there. I don’t think you’ll find yourself humming any of the songs, but the music sounded perfect through most of the game.
Sound: 4/5 – The voice-acting was solid. At times I’d find myself chuckling at just how manly every single character in the game sounds. It really did feel like the voice-actors were having a competition of who sounded like they had eaten the most gravel before heading into the voice-booth. The only reason I’m not giving the game a full score is that due to the very serious dialogue most of it was actually sort of unmemorable. The game could have done with a bit more comic relief.
Plot: 3/5 – It was pretty okay, certainly motivated me enough. Never the less, I feel I probably should have played Darksiders 1 beforehand since I found myself struggling to keep up with the story. As far as I can tell, what the plot amounted to in the end was your typical “save the world” scenario. I found the characters you met up to the finale a bit more interesting than the final battle to be honest.
Replay value: 4/5 – After my really slow start with the game, I actually found it to be very entertaining and I kept coming back with eager anticipation of what I would find. Even when I got stumped and frustrated, I would still come back and I never gave up on the game. The only thing in the game that I could have done without was the stats system, because after a while you’re basically dictated by how much money you can be arsed to collect and sell off (and even then, not having the best equipment doesn’t hinder your progress that much). There is a lot of superfluous elements to this game (as in most RPGs) but I was thoroughly entertained and can definitely see myself coming back to the game.
Score: 80% – Darksiders 2 is over-all a really solid game. It maybe has some problems with its menus, certain game-mechanics and you’ll probably want to play the first game before trying it out – but it’s also got some amazing cutscenes, fun puzzles and dungeons, a solid soundtrack and varied game environments. Definitely worth playing.