I missed out on the first Darksiders, a game that has been recommended to me before, so I thought I’d give Darksiders II a look. Since I wasn’t familiar with the storyline, a representative from THQ explained that it takes place in parallel with the first game except you control Death, one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, who believes his brother War was wrongly convicted of, well, ending the world.
The demo I played started in the very beginning of Darksiders II with all of the tutorials in place. I rode around on Despair, a horse Death can summon at anytime, before reaching a frozen area. I jumped off Despair and started fighting ice skeletons using Death’s twin scythes. He’s a fast fighter, but for someone named "Death" he can’t take too many hits. Players have to dodge roll away from attacks, which gives Darksiders II a God of War feel. One thing Death can’t do is dodge in mid-air so if you launch an enemy or try to close in on an enemy with an air combo, you’re completely vulnerable to enemy attacks.
Enemies drop extra weapons and Darksiders II will have a ton of loot. Weapons are randomly generated with different parameters. I got to try out two – a slow, but powerful hammer and an axe that gives Death a whirlwind attack. Darksiders II will have rare weapons and there is a certain class of weapons that players will only find one or two of throughout the entire 30 hour game.
After shattering ice skeletons, I climbed up a ledge then ran across walls. I… didn’t realize Death was as agile as the Prince of Persia. Other platforming parts have players cling on to columns and then rotate Death so he can grab the next hand hold. While there were plenty of jumping challenges, I didn’t get to see Darksiders II’s hub world or anything like that. The demo level ended when Death confronted the Crowfather about War.
Then Death started fighting War, which was a good way to contrast the two Horsemen. War mindlessly walked towards Death brandishing a huge sword. I couldn’t knock him back, so I had to do small columns then dodge roll away to avoid taking damage. Wounded from the Ice Skeletons earlier in the level, I had to use the sole health potion I got from an enemy drop to keep going. I managed to defeat War using a combo with a few light attacks and a hammer smash. Was that really War? Nah, it was the Crowfather disguised as him. Mortally wounded, the Crowfather doesn’t give much of an explanation, but an item Death finds opens a portal to presumably the rest of the game.
Darksiders II comes out for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC on August 14. A Wii U version is also in development slated for release later this year. While THQ wouldn’t say too much about the Wii U version, the tablet controller will be used for inventory management.