Darksiders 2: Deathinitive Edition on PS4
Remastered games were all the rage early on, but have slowly been going away thanks to backwards compatibility and services like PlayStation Now. But the folks at Nordic Games aren’t going to let that stop them re-releasing Vigil Games’ Darksiders 2 for the PS4 and Xbox One, under the stupidly clever subtitle ‘Deathinitive Edition’.
If you didn’t play the first game when it released back in 2010 here’s what you need to know: the Horseman War accidentally started the apocalypse earlier than planned and had to go on a quest to clear his name. After killing the power hungry angel responsible, War looked to the sky and saw three comets hurling toward earth, signaling the arrival of the other Horsemen.
Darksiders 2 doesn’t continue from that cliffhanger, but rather takes place during the 100-years that War was in prison. His brother Death goes on a quest to redeem his brother’s name by going and restoring humanity through the Tree of Life, but getting there and continuing on is much more difficult than it actually seems, thanks to Corrupted enemies plaguing the worlds. And even that would be a cakewalk if it didn’t mean Death may end up potentially restoring his own kind that he was responsible for murdering in the first place.
From that point on, the story just adds on new layers of mythology that are interesting apart, but a bit cluttered when put together. Death’s a more interesting protagonist than his brother, but the game never fully goes into why he should feel responsible for the dilemma he has to face. Heck, even when he finds out who the actual antagonist is, it doesn’t feel like as big of a deal as it should. It’s all entertaining and comes together nicely at the end with an awesome potential for a sequel, but be prepared for some confusing moments.
Where the story stumbles, the gameplay shines. Combat from the original Darksiders largely hasn’t changed, having you hack and slash your way through grotesque demons. Unlike War, whose weapons were only his sword and a few extra weapons, Death has a much larger arsenal that ties into the game’s loot system. Upon death, enemies drop new clothes for Death to wear that increases his stats or new weapons for him to slay his enemies with. Along with scythes, there’s claws, gauntlets, axes, and plenty more for you to equip, and the game rewards experimentation when combined with Death’s powers that come courtesy of a two-tiered skill tree. The fighting feels a lot more fluid given the weapons and the Horseman’s ability to dodge attacks instead of block them, even though bad guys still find a way to gravitate towards you just when you think you’ve avoided them.
In addition to being a master at hacking enemies to pieces, Death is aces at traversal. He’s much more agile than his brother War; aside from the artful dodging he does during combat, he’s required to wall run and climb for much of the game. It all controls quite well for the most part, alternating between being really simple as pie and loud swearing levels of frustrating; there’s a boss fight that requires you to climb up its leg and use a grapple to get at a vital weak point, but the game was very stingy about just where I was supposed to climb up. Other times, Death is required to work through puzzles in order to progress. They certainly do require you to think outside of the box and use multiple abilities and items at once. This isn’t going to be like some of the toughest levels of the Portal games, but it won’t be a breeze either.