And Hell Followed With Him...
We finally got a chance to take Death and Despair for a test drive in Darksiders 2. Find out how Vigil's sophomore effort is shaping up.
Published: March 22, 2012
...And the Horse You Rode In On
Darksiders 2 already seems like something more than a simple “like the original, but wrapped in bacon with 100% more ninjas” kind of sequel and all I saw was one dungeon. I didn't get to fully explore the skill trees, nor did I spend too much time deciding what gear to equip. Out of all the new weapon types, I only tried one or two, and the demo didn't gave me a chance to explore the more open world structure the game now enjoys. For all the extra depth that Vigil has packed into their sophomore effort, I essentially played it like it was Darksiders with a new character, and it still felt fresh and involving.
I think a lot of it has to do with just how strikingly designed everything in Darksiders 2 is. Joe told me he felt the art team was really hitting its stride this time around, and from what I saw on screen, I believed it. I asked him if his past in comics led to him getting over involved with the art and while he admitted that he couldn't overcome the impulse to “meddle” (as he put it) during the first game, at this point he feels that, “the art team is just so good that it's exciting to just watch them do their thing.” Being able to have such confidence in them has really freed him up to put more focus on other elements of the game, the fruits of which are already plain to see.
Even 2 years later, it's hard for me to pinpoint exactly what it was about Darksiders that made it so appealing to me. It has all the menace of a gritty, gothic fantasy, as well as the vibrant colors and exaggerated proportions of a graphic novel, and yet it maintains an air of plausibility that many fantasy based worlds lack. The combat isn't any deeper than say God of War but I found it infinitely more satisfying. And in terms of adventure mechanics, it was certainly playing in a well explored space, borrowing and refining far more than innovating. Yet, it ended up being greater than than sum of these parts for me. Now with the story and lore expanding far beyond the familiar reaches of Earth, and the gameplay incorporating some seriously meaty RPG elements, Vigil has an opportunity to distinguish themselves by putting forth something wholly their own, rather than something skillfully fused from found parts. If all that extra complexity pays out in full and the team can polish it to the glossy sheen they managed in their first outing, Darksiders 2 will prove a force to be reckoned with.
Be sure to check back here for updated impressions and a full review as its June 26th release date approaches.