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Now, I have never played the Darksiders series, even after recommendations from a few friends. So today, I finally decided to take the time to see what all the fuss was about, seeing as I like a good adventure game. Darksiders II, set to release in North America on August 14 and Europe on August 21, is the newest game from the Darksiders series. From seeing the gameplay, storyline and graphics, I can safely say I think that Darksiders II has the potential to be a huge success.
THQ has confirmed that Darksiders II‘s story will take place in the same time period as the first game, only this time players will take control of the Horseman Death, instead of his brother War. The game will reportedly take place across an entirely new ensemble of maps, confirmed to be double in size to that of its predecessor. The game will also feature the remaining two horsemen.
Darksiders II starts at nearly the exact same time as the start of the first Darksiders. After War is convicted and sent back to Earth by the Charred Council, they inform the other three Horsemen of his fate. Death, knowing that War is the most honorable and incorruptible of the four and would never have started the Apocalypse early, flies into a rage. Believing his brother is victim of a conspiracy, Death defies the Council’s orders and sets out on a personal mission to find proof of his brother’s innocence. Death travels to the Nether Realms, a place between Heaven and Hell, to call in favors from powerful beings that rule the realm.
The first thing that struck me was the graphics—they feel very familiar and remind me of The Burning Crusade expansion to World of Warcraft. In some places, the colors are often very bright and vivid and are very dark and dingy in others (the horse/mount really reminds me of the Warlock Deather Charger from WOW for some reason). There seems to be the same sort of shadow model and texture package as that of World of Warcraft. When you see the view of the game from a far angle you can often see spectacular landscapes on the horizon with brilliant light dynamics and gloomy skyscapes that bleed together so well as to make the game feel right. The character models are also very detailed with sharp deisgn focus on the characters’ clothes and body sculpture. The character can choose from a variety of armor found throughout the game that will affect appearence. Players can swap and change to their desired style, which is a nice touch as many RPGs have a standard set of garments that don’t change as the player levels up. Loot will also be included, which drops from encounters as rewards ranging from 12 different armor piece categories that can have different enchantments and can power up Death’s Wrath Powers. The game will take Death across multiple dungeons and city hubs. City hubs feature NPCs who can give out side quests, etc. One city hub will connect to a number of dungeons and that one city area will feature more dungeons than the whole of the original Darksiders.
Darksiders II‘s gameplay will feel very familiar to fans of the action-RPG genre. The mechanics feel like a mixture of Kingdoms of Amular, God of War and even The Legend of Zelda. As in the original game, the game will mix a blend of melee combat and ranged attacks, giving players a multitude of weapon options, including a gun with different ammo types. On-screen numbers float up after each blow is dealt, giving players feedback on critical hits, damage-over-time effects and elemental damage. In addition, racking up a high combo score can cause various status effects, depending on the weapons equipped. Enemies aren’t pushovers either, as later foes will block, evade and counter, forcing players to pay attention to the flow of combat and make effective use of a number of combo strings.
Overall, the Darksiders II offering seems like it is going to be a solid title, backing up the previous installment. There are a few subtle changes that make the game a bit more accessible to new players; however, Darksiders II brings back enough of the first game that any fan of the series should be pleased. With an August 14 release date for the Xbox 360, expect Player Affinity to have a review up soon after its launch. We are all looking forward to this release—the gameplay and graphics do more than enough to whet the appetite of the action-RPG fan!