Some time ago I bought the original Darksiders on Steam for a paltry 5 bucks during one of Steam’s many, many sales.
I loaded it up very excited about the possibilities of a modern take on the apocalyptic themes of the Christian Bible’s Book of Revelations. What I got instead was a severely broken port that was so unoptimized even having a controller plugged in while the game was running caused my camera to pan straight down to the ground no matter how I configured the game. I use an Xbox 360 Wireless Controller for Windows, so you can hardly claim incompatibility. I ended up just quitting the game in disgust and proceeded to ignore all future hype about the series.
Now Darksiders 2 is available on Steam at an extremely reduced price and I just couldn’t resist the urge. I bought and downloaded it and to my pleasant surprise it is well optimized and really fun. I am having a great time!
If I had to describe the game to someone who was like me 24 hours ago (interested but oblivious), I would say it utilizes a God of War/Devil May Cry/Fable combat system, with a Soul Reaver aesthetic and art direction, an Ocarina of Time over world, Prince of Persia style maneuverability and verticality and clearly Zelda inspired dungeons. While it lacks innovation, it’s definitely in good company and manages to merge this Smörgåsbord of mechanics into a compelling game.
The story line surrounding Darksiders 2 is basically a ‘mythology slurry’ whereby every popular concept in western religion is placed in a blender, set on purée and then poured out onto a canvas.
You have the Norse Tree of Life (Yggdrasil), mixed with a menacing Lovecraftian horror known as ’Corruption’, the protagonist is Death a member of a quartet of supernatural beings apparently originally belonging to the Niflheim race (by definition a realm of ice and snow and one of the Nine Worlds) who is on a quest to restore humanity after it was apparently wiped out by the premature Christian apocalypse brought on by the previous game’s protagonist: the horseman War.
Our own Stretch reviewed the game when it first came out and he wasn’t as impressed with it. I can imagine part of his disappointment was with the fact that he paid full retail price for the vanilla version of the game.
Many of his points still ring true. The combat can be a bombastically crowded mess of particle effects, early on the enemies are ‘damage sponges‘ and Michael Wincott, as the voice of Death, does an exquisite job.
This updated version tempers the initial difficulty by granting you a half dozen pieces of overpowered gear just for registering with THQ (who are currently in dire financial straits having recently filed for bankruptcy) and the amount of DLC included for mere pennies (twelve in total) is impressive.
If you’re looking for a great, controller optimized game with intense combat, an unorthodox story with mythological connotations and a large; unique world to explore you can’t do much better than Darksiders 2.
I would hurry and buy it while it’s still on sale!