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05/31/2019 10:02:13 •••

My Favorite Portal of Warzeltroidvania Game

Like its predecessor, Darksiders II wears its inspirations on its sleeve: it's an open-world RPG with dungeons, multiple locales, locations that can only be reached with a hookshot, a portal gun, a won't find any revolutionary gameplay concepts here. What you will find, however, is an excellent game.

D2 revolves around the Horseman Death's quest to absolve his brother War of the crime of apparently kickstarting the apocalypse by undoing the crime: he aims to revive all of humanity that was slaughtered in the chaos. I should note that it's not necessary to play the first game prior to this one, as it takes place parallel to the events of D1, but this game will spoil a crucial plot point for War's story, and a lot of the story and characters are given more weight with knowledge of what they have or will go through. That said, while Death's driving motivation takes a backseat at times in terms of how much it is mentioned, that in no way is a detriment to the plot, which is complex, epic, and constantly engaging. Every single voice actor in this game breathes life into their characters, regardless of how much screentime they get (I can quote so many lines from the dialogue), and special mention must go to Michael Wincott as Death - he doesn't seem to have done much voice work, but he absolutely KILLS IT in this game, with every scene and every line perfectly encapsulating the millennia-old ender of civilizations with a hurting heart that you're playing as. Not once am I ever taken out of the experience by a poorly-done cinematic or interaction when playing or replaying this game, which is very rare.

On the gameplay front, D2 offers you what feels like 60-70 hours of gameplay if you wanna get every last thing, and it will most definitely scratch your collect-a-thon itch if you do while also making sure you're reasonably strong even if you don't. Exploring is always a delight thanks to the solid movement system and visually diverse and interesting locations you explore, and with the Metroidvania aspect there's always reason to revisit old areas in search of new treasure. In combat, Death handles very differently from War: he can't block, he has a dedicated dodge button, and he hits MUCH faster. You still have light and heavy attacks/weapons a la God of War, in this case several different TYPES of weapons that you can switch around as needed, and you now have stats that are augmented by the clothing you pick up and wear (Death can look real damn stylish by the end of the game, lemme tell ya). You also get special points on leveling up and finishing certain quests that grant you new abilities and techniques, which really spice things up (the ice crows are a favorite of mine). With how many new enemies and bosses the game gives to you alongside the new gear you acquire, the action never becomes boring and there's always more to accomplish.

In short, Darksiders II is, thus far, the pinnacle of the franchise, improving on what D1 brought to the table and notably outshining D3, and will remain my favorite RPG for likely the rest of time. Highly recommended.

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