Holy Zelda, Batman! That thought actually crossed my mind while I was playing Darksiders II, which is a lovely tribute to my favorite video game series of all time. Here is a game that doesn’t shy away from borrowing from other games; it does so obviously and without remorse. The original Darksiders took this approach as well, but Darksiders II does what it did in bigger and better ways. However, some technical issues and a shoddy narrative bump Darksiders II from near-perfection territory into almost near-perfection territory.
As I mentioned, Darksiders II is basically a carbon copy of one of the Zelda games. You will traverse several dungeons throughout the game, collecting chests and battling massive bosses. All of that stuff is very familiar and, fortunately, very awesome. In order to make his way through the aforementioned dungeons the main character, Death, borrows a moveset from the Prince of Persia himself. Running along and climbing walls is just as fun in Darksiders II as it is in the Prince of Persia games.
Death channels Kratos from the God of War series whilst in battle, relying on an impressive and devastating combat system to dispatch foes. Death can become an unstoppable killing force at times in the game, tearing through any obstacle with ease. This can be annoying. The camera can sometimes lose track of Death in the midst of all the chaos, causing confusion and, in rare instances, even cause Death to plummet to his doom. Thankfully, Death always respawns near where he fell.
Darksiders II features an unbelievably great loot system. New weapons and armor lie around every corner and I found myself constantly swapping out my gear for something more powerful. Leveling up weapons with other weapons is a very cool idea and I tip my hat to Vigil Games for that particular addition. Some weapons come ready-made with different attributes (arcane, elemental, etc.), which is to be expected from a game with RPG elements.
Jesper Kyd’s score is stunning. In the Shadow of the Colossus style battle against The Guardian I was blown away by how great the music is. I heard bits of compositions in the dungeons that reminded me of the Forest Temple theme from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It’s the kind of perfect score that is never too over the top and manages to captivate at every moment. Kyd deserves every video game music award for his work in Darksiders II.
Looking for a game with a coherent plot? Look elsewhere. Darksiders II, much like the first game, features a confusing story. I phased out on what was going on shortly after I started playing. I know there’s something in there about a tree or something, but I really don’t care. I was too busy having fun to pay any attention to the poorly written tale of Death’s journey. However, the extraordinary art style kept my eyes glued to my TV screen during cutscenes. Darksiders II doesn’t win if we’re talking polygon count, but it’s still a beautiful game nonetheless.
The first Darksiders sold well over one million copies. I hope Darksiders II sells more. It really is a great game. It’s filled with so much content and is a joy to play, especially if you’re a Zelda fan. Don’t buy it for the story. Buy it for the adventure. Buy it for the fantastic combat and loot systems and creative dungeons. I’m glad I own a copy. It’s one of my favorite games of 2012.