Darksiders II (Xbox 360)

The Good Fluid, colorful action that evolves over timeClever, progressively more challenging environmental puzzlesAllure of new, cool loot pushes you onwardExpansive adventure, with lots of dungeons to exploreGreat audiovisual presentation sets the right apocalyptic tone

The Bad Performance issues and execution foiblesDisappointing bosses, especially the final boss

The Bottom Line Darksiders II merges action, exploration, and loot-driven progression into an excellent and sizable adventure.

Editors' Rating
8.5 Overall

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Review

Darksiders II (Xbox 360)

First comes War; then comes Death. Appropriately enough, Darksiders II turns its eyes from its predecessor's protagonist to a new one: Death himself, War's brother and one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. His story plays out over the same time period as War's, but Darksiders II's narrative isn't so much about plot as it is about place and tone. The original Darksiders set a darkly fantastical mood, but the sequel hones its edges. The armor is still chunky and the sound of steel on steel still rings across battle arenas, but the skies are more ominous, the shadows grimmer, and the architecture sharper, as if every spire threatens to puncture the heavens and make them bleed.

And so Darksiders II draws you in not by narrative, in spite of its characters' frequent and raspy soliloquizing. Rather, it uses sights and sounds to impress upon you the importance of your deeds. While one level harks back to the angels-versus-demons, Christian apocalypse themes of the original game, Darksiders II springs forth from a more inventive vision. The dusky dungeons and desert expanses are more diverse than before, and the character designs are more imaginative, as if they've wandered in from biblical legends you've never heard. The characters you meet--undead rulers and impossibly proportioned behemoths among them--speak with humorless gravity, and Death often responds with a sneer and a verbal challenge.

The joylessness of Darksiders II's characters is a contrast to the pleasure of existing in this world. An icy opening introduces you to the basics of combat and movement. In traditional action game style, you slash away at clawed creatures with primary and secondary weapons. You run along walls and jump across beams like a devilish Prince of Persia. But most importantly--and in contrast to the original--your enemies drop coins, armor, and weapons. You can don equipment, sell it to a merchant, or sacrifice it to level up rare possessed weapons, which you can customize at certain thresholds.

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Specs / Prices

  • Brand THQ Inc.
  • ESRB Mature
  • Developer Vigil Games
  • Subcategory Action
  • Genre action - adventure
See full specs

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