Darksiders 2 picks up almost right where Darksiders 1 picked up (beware: that sentence might not have said what you think it said); this is because their stories occur at roughly the same time. The premise is that in the first Darksiders, War - a Horseman of the Apocalypse - was blamed for triggering the end days early, and was then sent back to earth to prove his innocence. Darksiders 2 follows the journey of his brother Death (the most feared of the Horsemen) as he seeks out to undo the end of mankind in order to redeem War.
His journey will take you to many different worlds, and have you meet a lot of people along the way. The different environments are all very nice and interesting places to visit. If I had one criticism in this regard, it would be that the hub worlds are almost a little too big when you consider how little there is actually in them. This means you spend a lot of time traveling long distances to get to your next main location. While there is a quick travel system, which allows you to quickly move from any discovered area to another, you will still find yourself backtracking through the same areas multiple times to speak to the right person.
On the bright side, you will really enjoy speaking with people as most of the voice-acting is top notch - especially Michael Wincott as the voice of Death. Unfortunately, while most of the game sounds great, I did experience a few bugs. This mostly involved the sound cutting out when opening chests or characters not speaking while the subtitles are going.
Sadly, these aren't the only technical issues I faced. The game crashed my Xbox twice and I fell through the world once. The game also suffers from framerate drops during bigger battles and often stalls for loading times while moving into different rooms.
It is a pity the game has so many bugs because on the gameplay side it can be a mixed bag of awesome. Genre wise this is an action / adventure / RPG / dungeon crawler (try saying that three times fast). The combat feels a bit like God of War, except it’s not quite as smooth.
Death is a very agile fighter, so he’s all about dodging enemy attacks and trying to cut them with his scythes and various other weapons. When this works, it can be a blast, however the game has some major issues with its camera. Frankly it can be horrible at times, and was the cause of a lot of frustration while I played. This issue was even worse when there were large monsters on the battlefield, because the camera would often get too close and completely block my view.
Putting those issues aside, I still really enjoyed the combat when the camera wasn’t being a pain. I also enjoyed the platforming and puzzle solving required to get through each dungeon - and this is coming from someone who generally hates jumping and puzzles games.
A big part of the reason I enjoyed the platforming was thanks to the wonderful animations; Death looks cool running along and climbing walls. As for the puzzles, they were mostly challenging but fair. I often felt smart when figuring them out and almost never frustrated or stumped for any longer than 5-10 minutes. With that said, I will say that some of them had a few too many stages to solving them and were repeated a bit too often.
This is actually a common issue with Darksiders, it’s a game made up of various pieces from other games and they all generally work very well together. However, it is also a case where perhaps less would have been more. The game will take about 20-25 hours to get through, depending on whether or not you do sidequests or try to complete all the extra dungeons in the world. However some of the dungeons were too long, and about 75% of the way through, I was tired of going through the same motions in order to make progress.
The thing that will keep you going is the loot. There is a lot of loot to find in this game, which allows for plenty of customisation for how you want your Death to look and play. For the most part, the loot system is awesome and handled extremely well. My only issue is that I wish there was a quicker way to compare the exact stats of new loot, as compared to what you’ve currently got equipped. Also, some items / weapons have a special ability but there is nothing in the game that tells you what exactly those abilities do.
Besides the loot, there are also two skills trees for you to put skill points into as you level up. This gives flexibility for how you want to play your Death and it can be fun to experiment with, as some of the powers you unlock can be very cool indeed.
I have heard a lot of people compare Darksiders to Zelda games and while that is certainly valid, for me, I related it more to the Soul Reaver: Legacy of Kain series. This is not only due to the art-style of these games, but also the way the story is presented and how the levels and puzzles are designed.
If you were a fan of the first Darksiders, then this is definitely a worthy sequel that you should enjoy. However, if you are new to the series I would advise reading up on the first one a little so the story isn’t too confusing before you pick it up. Either way, if you enjoy a dungeon crawling adventure game with RPG elements, then I can easily recommend you grab a copy of Darksiders 2 and embrace Death, with just a few reservations.