Vigil and Gunfire's epic Darksiders franchise began with a bang and its sequel is now available for Switch so sharpen your scythes.
Back in 2012, Darksiders II released and while everyone was enjoying it, I was eagerly awaiting the Wii U version which released a handful of months later as a launch title for the system. Why would I do such a silly thing? Well, it took advantage of the GamePad in a very cool way and had some nifty additional content. However, after playing it, I was a bit let down as I loved the original game a great deal and for better and worse, Darksiders II steered the series in a new direction. Now that I played it again on Switch, I must admit that I'm pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed myself.
You play as Death who's on a mission to prove that his brother War is innocent of a crime that the Charred Council accused him of. However, he soon finds himself on an adventure throughout the Forge Lands where he assists the Makers in ridding the region of Corruption. The journey that follows takes him to memorable locales like the Land of the Dead and he'll meet many unforgettable faces along the way. Although the overworld area is expansive, Death can ride his horse named Despair and doing so reminded me of Link and Epona yet more sinister. Overall, it's a huge and complex world that's a pleasure to explore.
Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition looks and plays fantastically on Switch. Its visuals are top-notch with detailed environments and smooth animations whether you're playing on your TV or undocked and the audio is satisfying, too, with its ambient score, gratifying effects, and talented voice actors. All of that being said, every version of Darksiders II has the odd loading screen in the middle of exploring which interrupts the gameplay so I wish that was remedied here. Also, considering Darksiders II released back in 2012, it would have been great to see some additional content instead of just better visuals and more balanced gameplay.
Speaking of gameplay, controlling Death feels fantastic as you tear through demonic enemies, climb intricate structures, and solve puzzles. The combat is where the gameplay shines brightest as you can use scythes, secondary weapons, and a gun known as Redemption as well as powerful skills that may turn the tide of battle. It's supremely rewarding to lock on to an enemy while hacking and slashing then dodging at the right moment only to use a skill that makes you home in on your foe yet again until they perish. Traversing stages is also a joy as Death is highly acrobatic and can run on walls with intuitive controls that make scaling large structures fun.
As you play Darksiders II, you're constantly rewarded with loot and secrets that you can uncover by defeating enemies and exploring every nook and cranny. You'll amass a load of different weapons and armour pieces that you can swap out whenever and doing so will make Death much more capable. Plus, levelling up rewards Skill Points that you can redeem to upgrade and unlock Skills. Both the skill and loot systems are very similar to what you'll find in Borderlands which is kind of cool. Also, if you ever get lost, you can send your bird Dust to show you the way which is handy although he won't always help with solving the tricky dungeon puzzles.
Even though I love Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition, I enjoyed the first game a substantial amount more. One of the coolest aspects of the original is its setting as you primarily play within a post-apocalyptic Earth and fighting demons in a destroyed city feels awesome. The setting in Darksiders II is beautiful yet it simply doesn't feel as epic. Another aspect that I thoroughly enjoyed in the first game is its amount of variety as it constantly keeps things exciting. There's a lot of downtime in Darksiders II and mastering dungeon after dungeon between trips to the overworld is rather formulaic. Finally, aiming to throw and shoot things was a problem in the first game and it's still annoying here because the cursor moves way too fast so you have to keep adjusting for way longer than you should.
Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition is a classic so it's great to see it on Switch, especially because it runs so well on it. If you enjoy 3D action adventure games then you should definitely sharpen your scythes and give it a try.
- + Enjoyable campaign complete with great combat, puzzles, and exploration
- + Loot system and unlockables are rewarding
- + Generally runs great on Switch
- - Not much has changed over the years
- - Setting isn't as awesome as the first game
- - Could use more variety / aiming is annoying