Over the holidays I picked up Darksiders 2 and I’ve put a few hours into it with some pleasant surprises. While the setting is simple enough (4 horseman, angels & demons) it has the comic book feel that Joe wanted. There’s a “big-ness” to everything which just feels right. There’s a good spread of bosses and they all seem to get bigger and badder as you go along. The story takes a couple odd turns but nothing too out of the blue.
From a gameplay perspective, it’s more akin to Zelda than I would have thought. There’s an overworld with travel on a horse. The majority of dungeons are about puzzle solving rather than continuous combat. There are 4 general skills that affect puzzles with the traditional grapple hook and teleportation. There’s a cool character split mechanic, allowing you to work in tandem with yourself. Combat is like most action games, weak attacks, strong attacks, combos, special attacks. Your weapons actually make a difference though, as all gear has stats and some weapons attack at different rates (maces vs gauntlets). Plus the weapons can be upgraded, adding a nice little RPG mechanic.
It’s hard to pick a weakness other than the typical “Zelda” weakness of not wanting to complete anything past the final boss. There are plenty of side objectives but in terms of relative power/effort, they rarely seem worth the time. Mind you, one particular side quest was well above my character level and I died multiple times, which was fun in itself.
I’ve completed 2 of the 3 acts and I’m still entertained. Each zone is designed into chunks, so you can drop in, play for a bit and feel like you’ve completed something rather than the extra long chains of other games. While I like God of War’s combat, no one can say that Kratos is relatable, the story is anything near quality and that the dungeons don’t bleed into each other. Darksiders is a nice break from that tradition and I’m hoping someone buys the IP from THQ and continues the quest.