Jul 21, 2014Expansive semi-open world adventures aren't really the most common thing on the Wii U, and Darksiders 2 is one of the earliest available options for fans of the genre to get their fix.
It's fitting that this game came to a Nintendo console, because the gameplay structure is very obviously based on The Legend of Zelda: you brave dungeons in search of keys, a dungeon map, and a new item,Expansive semi-open world adventures aren't really the most common thing on the Wii U, and Darksiders 2 is one of the earliest available options for fans of the genre to get their fix.
It's fitting that this game came to a Nintendo console, because the gameplay structure is very obviously based on The Legend of Zelda: you brave dungeons in search of keys, a dungeon map, and a new item, with a boss encounter in the end. The actual controls are closer to a traditional brawler, however, with plenty of button-mashing and combo options. It is a pleasant structure that should sway fans of both action RPGs and hack 'n' slash titles.
Sadly, some problems do take away from the experience, beginning with some stylistic choices. You play as Death, one of the four riders of the Apocalypse, and it's fair to say his character design looks straight out of a He-Man cartoon. He isn't ominous or mysterious: he's just a muscular, testosterone-filled zombie thing. His bad-boy personality is also quite annoying, and the world itself is a bit too dreary to be as inviting for exploration as settings like Hyrule and Skyrim. The storyline itself is confusing and uninteresting, especially if you haven't played the first game in the series.
The Wii U gamepad is used for inventory management, which works quite well. The effort to integrate the hardware into the game here is commendable, and way better than third parties generally offer on the console. Still, I couldn't find an option to make it display a map, and that's certainly something the game needs. I found myself pausing often to look at each area's general design, since the on-screen map display is very restrictive. There are also some quite sketchy motion controls in place for swimming sections, but thankfully those can be turned off.
Most problems in the game can definitely be overlooked in face of the enjoyable action, but one of them is absolutely inexcusable: four or so hours in, I ran into a game-breaking bug. I accidentally knocked a puzzle piece out of reach, and as a result couldn't complete the dungeon. The game's auto-saving feature meant that I had no option other than restarting from scratch. Looking for a solution online, I found out that there are several other known glitches, none of which were the one I ran into. This sort of careless design is one of my largest pet peeves with the game industry nowadays, and one that I can't really overlook.
Calling Darksiders II a darker version of a Zelda game would be somewhat accurate, and this alone will be enough to convince some gamers to take the plunge. The game is a decidedly fun experience while it lasts, only without the level of polish seen on better titles. Its world, characters, and lore lack charm, and glitches threaten to cut the enjoyable hack 'n' slash action way short.
Rating: 6.0… Expand
Awards & Rankings
Jan 17, 2013Darksiders II is an excellent launch game to test your Wii U. Its mixture of gameplay styles puts the console through its places and proves that the Wii U is well adapted to traditional games. Besides that, Darksiders II is an enormous adventure and the Wii U version even includes the first round of DLC on the disc, so if you've been holding out on Darksiders II, the Wii U version is the one to get.
Games Master UKJan 15, 2013If you're a Wii U owner who hasn't played this on other systems, and are itching for Zelda, this is a great way to make the wait more bearable. [Feb 2013, p.77]