The journey so far…… the Horseman who we all thought was meant to bring death, did the exact opposite. Starting this game every time I wanted to play, felt like playing The Witcher 3 again with the narration that gave me a recap of where I was. That’s right, Darksiders II is complete and it’s a far richer game than the first, but equally as enjoyable.
This game’s story takes place parallel to the first, while War is sent to Earth to clear his name, his older brother Death sets out on a journey of his own to save War from imprisonment and believes that if there was a way to restore mankind, it could erase the crime. The story also opens up much more lore to the Darksiders universe: that Death and the other three Horsemen are the last of their kind: the Nephilim, and they slay the rest of their kin upon the start of their servitude to the Charred Council, during the battle of Eden; A world originally intended for mankind until the other Nephilim hoped to claim it for themselves.
Death’s journey seemed simple at first: Reach the Tree of Life and restore humanity, until Death learns that his task is more than just reaching the tree. The tree is a portal between worlds: the world of the Makers, the dead, Angels, and Demons and what he really seeks is the Well of Souls. To make matters worse, there’s a Corruption spreading where the root is one of Death’s brothers thought to be killed.
To me, the Corruption is a combination of an infection and an imbalance in worlds leading towards nothingness, or so the Crowfather described it. Sure, when you have to do a lot of tasks for a character to get what you need, the story drags a little, but when you finally get to that point where shit gets real, does the story get good!
As far as gameplay goes, Death is a lot more agile than War. Not only can he run along ledges, but he can also climb up certain points, jump from others, as well as run along walls or jump from one to another. His more powerful form the Grim Reaper, no surprise wielding his signature scythe the Harvester which is badass.
While its predecessor is more linear, this game offers a more open world approach with classic RPG elements like buying new abilities with skill points each time you level up and changing your weapons (though scythes are always primary) and armor. But some of the tracking progress of certain quests isn’t done very well such as for ones where you have to find collectables. There were also significant bugs to point out, one of them even caused freezing but luckily, I was able to fix that.
There are also additional short campaigns you can play and I will cover those DLCs later. Another great feature is the Crucible which is basically a survival arena.
Other than that, same old hack and slash combat that I love, with some improvements, puzzles are easier for me now that I know what to expect, and similar abilities along with new ones.
Alright, so characters, Death is not who I thought he was. I always imagined him to be a loner and rather quiet, but instead he talks more and even has a sense of humor. There’s even a time in combat where you can make him squish those scarabs and he gives a little laugh. Well like I said, Michael Wincott was the perfect choice for Death’s voice. He really brings out Death’s charm, wit, and sarcasm. Michael seems to voice villains more often so it’s a different take for him to do Death and I love it.
Vulgrim is back, though his role is a lot smaller. Instead of trading souls with him to get abilities, you can buy loot boxes from him that contain random items. I’ll never get over his sneaky sounding voice, and I also enjoyed Lilith and her seductive sounding voice, as well as her way of trying to convince Death to bring back his own kin. Even though Death refuses to call her his mother, let alone even let her touch him, she tries to act all sweet to him. I could have sworn that was her voice talking to Abaddon in the first game before he becomes the Destroyer.
The Crowfather is another interesting character who in the beginning, doesn’t seem to be on our side at first, until after we kill him, and then when we find his soul, he agrees to help us. Hell, he narrates the story every time I boot up the game and I can’t believe he’s voiced by Keith Szarabajka, whom I know for the Didact and Harbinger (He actually does three voices in this game!). When he turned into War at the beginning of the game, I almost didn’t want to fight him. But, the scene where he reveals what the Well of Souls can do, only made me question Death’s current fate since the souls of the Nephilim were now branded on his chest.
There are honestly a lot more characters in this game than there were in the previous game, Thane I always thought was related to Ulthane and it must have taken me over five times to beat him in that sparring match.
Speaking of the Makers, I found them the most interesting; they’re a lively bunch opposite from the dead who work all the time in their forge. Alya’s voice sounded so much like Cerys, but then I found out it’s not the same voice actor which was slightly disappointing. Why doesn’t Valus talk? It’s a mystery, but Muria’s quests were worth my time since I got a talisman from here that gives me reaper energy, regardless of what weapon I use. Then there was learning from her in another side quest about the soul Nathaniel was inquiring about: Abaddon which could never be identified due to him becoming the Destroyer.
I’m glad that I got to see Samael and Uriel again, though the latter continues to uphold her duty while still addressing me in a sharp manner.
Once again, this game has a lot of boss fights and some of them are based off of finding the weak spot. Like the Guardian for instance, is the only one on horseback where you have to do that. It may seem tough at first, but the soundtrack during this fight is so epic it makes it fun no matter how hard you struggle! I’m still mad for it not being included in the OST.
My other favourite boss fights would have to be the Wailing Host, Deposed King, Archon Lucien (another fight with an epic theme), and Samael who felt like the toughest for me in the main story. But it turns out he was just testing me to see if I would be desperate enough to take the key by force. It makes me always question whether he is good or evil.
But fighting the Guardian was my favorite part of the game as a whole if we’re talking boss fights: the buildup towards restoring it and when Eideard sacrifices himself to revive it free of Corruption so it can clear a path to the tree.
The Kingdom of the Dead has the most vast options for exploration, and I found that this is where the game made me do all these big tasks just to get what Death needed most. The Lord of Bones makes him recruit three souls that used to serve as his advisors (I think) and this is where a point of no return came, because as soon as you bring them back, you lose the ability you can use them for to obtain the Soul Splitter. All those tombs become more difficult to access if you feel that you need to backtrack at any time.
The story gets even better when you have to travel to the angel and demon realms to obtain the keys to the Well. Going back to Earth to find the Rod of Arafel with Uriel’s help is where the game felt the most challenging with enemies around every corner and Nosses firing swarms constantly. Once again, the Archon is a character who sends me on a wild goose chase only to make me feel used again and I have to kill him since he’s corrupted too.
Towards the end of the game when I had to get the Demon Key from Samael did I really see the toll the Corruption was taking on the world and it seemed to hit the demon world the most. I thought it was funny when Death went to find Lilith, he was nearly ambushed by one enemy, but he killed it and his pet crow Dust pecks out its eye and eats it before Lilith emerges.
I showed Lilith to one of my friends and already he’s got a crush on her, while another one of my friends is swooning over Fury. But Samael, man it was good to see him again, even though he tricks me a lot, and makes me fight him. His voice is awesome and fighting him left me exhausted but relieved because he was teleporting a lot, and there’s nothing more annoying than teleporting enemies. But since it’s Samael, I won’t complain and I’ll call it a fun fight.
So, Absalom, is the source of all the Corruption in this game. After the Guardian is defeated, we learn he dwells inside the tree. He looks intimidating and is revealed to be the first Nephilim to be born from Lilith.
Absalom led the other Nephilim in the battle for Eden against the four and was slain at the hands of Death. However, that didn’t mean he was no longer a threat. Absalom was then reborn through hatred and agony and the Corruption was born. The Corruption then spread to the other worlds and apparently he controls how it spreads to who and where. So what were his intentions by infecting everyone and undoing the balance? Well, I did some digging and learned that the Nephilim never had a home of their own and the crusade they went on to other worlds conquering them. Imagine if mankind was not in this series’ universe maybe they could have Eden for themselves. But that was not the case.
Of course, four of them were no longer interested in the onslaught because doing so would undo the Balance of Creation so they pledged their loyalty to the Council. Absalom was the first to see his own siblings against him in Eden.
Fighting him was tricky because his attacks spread far and he had this one attack where these tentacles would grab and plunge you into the ground. You would have to press the button shown as fast as possible to break free before he grabs and slams you several times to the ground (Puny Death!) and that deals a lot of damage.
He’s a cool villain, but my only complaint is his lack of screen time. Reminds me of the Didact who only appears twice and directs everything within a bubble, that is also Absalom.
When Death stood at the Well of Souls at last, and chuckled unknowing what to do. I thought this was going to be where we had to choose which comes back to life, but I knew to be suspicious about the Nephilim souls on his chest all along. He sacrifices himself, and them, to bring back mankind by jumping into the well. But, not before giving the Crowfather his mask, pity we never saw his face. I know he’s going to come back because as soon as the seventh seal broke, it brought back War and the other three Horsemen soon arrived on Earth.
Overall, this game is much more vast compared to the first one. I was hoping to obtain the Abyssal Armor like I did with War, but unfortunately I had some notable bugs interfere with my ability to do with that.
It’s a great game with an amazing soundtrack, more exploration, a good story that had some parts that were long, but it was still full of surprises, and gameplay just as fun as the last. It also had a great protagonist who was charming and funny despite any misconceptions someone might have about the fact that he’s essentially the Grim Reaper.
It still had notable bugs that have to be made known that prevented me from completing some quests. However, since I’m an open-minded kind of gamer who doesn’t let that ruin my experience, I’m not going to lower my grade because of that.
Time to start preparing to begin the third game with Fury.