Darksiders 2: Be your own Death

Can brotherly love save War from a crime he didn't commit?

The original Darksiders borrowed a lot of elements from Zelda. Dungeons often lead to equipment which would allow you to access other dungeons. In Darksiders 2, that hasn't changed, but the developers have decided to flesh out an area where the original Darksiders (and Zelda) have been pretty lacking: Character customization.

In Darksiders 2, you command Death, tied for coolest among the four horsemen alongside his brother, War. In the first game, War was framed for bringing on the apocalypse a tad early, ending all life on Earth. Death's job is to set things straight.

Death feels like a much lighter, more agile War. Whereas War would often stand his ground, blocking incoming attacks with his massive sword, Death seems more apt to dodge and party attacks. He's a rogue to War's tank, basically. His speedier movements make world traversal (jumping up cliffsides, swinging from poles and the like) much more fluid, letting you get to the meatier stuff.

Combat seems to have gotten the most attention in Darksiders 2. Again, it plays into Death's more agile nature, but everything feels faster, making me feel like I have more control over my attacks.

That control is aided by the amount of customization Death has as a character. Basic customization elements, like armor pieces, are there, adding passive upgrades and giving Death a whole new look. Armor pieces are dropped as loot from enemies, Diablo-style, constantly giving you an excuse to farm enemies for something better. They'll also drop subweapons.

While Death's transforming scythe handles most of the attacks, you can also mix in sub-weapon attacks depending on what you've got equipped. I played through the first 15 minutes of the game, and within that time i was able to choose between a giant hammer and a giant axe with which to dole out punishment.

Paired with the armor, your sub-weapon should favor your style of play. If you preferred the slower, more methodical combat of Darksiders 1, you can still equip Death with gear that will make him feel more like his brother, War. The devs have divided gear by style of play, or you can mix and match if you're not the min-maxing type.

The short gameplay segment didn't go into much dungeon delving or puzzle solving, but representatives from Vigil have said it remains pretty true to the original, though the map and amount of content is more substantial than before, with a focus on side quests as well as the main story.

My time with Darksiders 2 was enjoyable, but I was left with the feeling that more work is still to be done. The original Darksiders launched with nefarious screen-tearing issues. A patch was eventually released, which ended up fixing the screen-tearing but hindering the framerate pretty severely. Darksiders 2's framerate appears to be on par, hovering in the 10 to 20 frames-per-second range, depending on what's happening on screen. On the bright side, a recent delay pushed the game's release back to August, and with the content all done, that time will hopefully be used for polish and optimizations on this front.

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