Scythe For Sore Eyes: Vigil Wants To Fix Darksiders’ Port

By Nathan Grayson on August 17th, 2012 at 5:00 pm.

Wait, you're looking for the guy who was supposed to add all the PC graphics options? Yeah, he challenged me to a staring contest the other day. He won, actually. It was pretty incredible. But then I took his soul anyway. Oops!

To hear John tell it, Darksiders II is a wondrous thing – a Frankenstein chimera of other games’ best bits, but infused with its own unique spirit and rippling apocalypse biceps. But, shockingly enough, all is not well in the land of War, Death, Strife, and Fury. The PC port’s been decried as incredibly barebones – with nearly non-existent graphics options, lousy menus, and the occasional irritating glitch composing its emaciated frame. To Vigil’s credit, however, it’s incredibly sorry about Death’s wardrobe malfunction at his big bash, and – at the very, very least – it’s trying to patch up the missing bits.

Now, I say “trying” because, at this point, Vigil’s not entirely sure what is and isn’t feasible. Here’s community manager Mathew Everett’s official stance on the matter:

“During the Community Summit both Jay Fitzloff and I were under the impression that full .config files and final keyboard/mouse and controller hookups were going to work as promised when the PC version of the game launched. That was the plan at the time from a specifications perspective. Unfortunately, especially at the end of the development cycle, sometimes things change at the last minute, and this was one of them. This puts us in an uncomfortable spot as we were acting on the best information we had at the time, and it has turned out not to be in the final game (at this point).”

“Since it was always the intention to implement these features, as I type this, the development team is checking to see what items can get added into the game. While I can’t promise what can be done, I can promise we are working with the proper teams and have expressed the importance of including them in a patch.”

And really, that’s all we can ask for at this point – especially since Vigil doesn’t technically owe us anything beyond a functional game, which it already provided. Bravo to Vigil, though. It’s a bit sad that we live in a day and age where it’s atypical to see big-budget game developers hold themselves accountable and act like people, but it still makes me feel like I ate a big ol’ ice cream scoop of butterflies when someone finally does. So thanks, Death and Friends of Death. You guys are the greatest!

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71 Comments »

  1. Ninja Foodstuff says:

    I’d also appreciate it if they fixed their distribution system to allow us Limeys to get in on the action, rather than just read about it.

  2. Lewie Procter says:

    I don’t know if that is all you can ask for at this point. If it doesn’t include features/functionality that it was advertised as having pre-release, I think you could ask for a refund.

    • Roshin says:

      Yeah, it is a full price release, a stonking 49,99 euros. The graphics options in Darksiders 2 are about as limited as they were for console ports back in ’99. Why should PC gamers settle for sloppy ports?

      • Nevard says:

        Because the only alternative to settling for sloppy ports is “buying an xbox”
        Boycotting ports isn’t going to make the ports better it’s just going to stop anyone making them, they already have an audience

        • Apocalypse says:

          The alternative is: Buying good pc games. There are more games on the market than I ever will be able to play to their fullest.

          • CptPlanet says:

            A game being good has very little to do with its pc port, well for me at least. I dont really care if us pc users dont get any special features, for me DS and DS2 are some of the best action games of the last few years.

    • bill says:

      But does that count as advertising? If i ask an employee a question and he tells me an answer he thinks is right, but it gets changed later?

      • Tommando says:

        Is it advertising in the strictest sense? Perhaps not. But it is someone representing the game in an official capacity and the information being given is going to influence buying decisions. It’s one thing to say “I don;t know, maybe” , and then we buy at our own risk. But when the answer to the question is a definitive “yes, the game will have this feature” that answer ought to be reliable.

        Especially when we are talking about basic features that the majority of games on the platform possess, not some Molyneux-esque pie-in-the-sky thing that no one’s ever done before.

  3. grundus says:

    “but it still makes me feel like I ate a big ol’ ice cream scoop of butterflies”

    I don’t get it, why would it make you feel like a complete monster?

    • sakee says:

      Because it became quite a trend to release unfinished products and fix them later… sometime… if at all.

      I agree with woodsey on this. As much as I like the game the “well.. at least it runs” is really not enough on PC.

      It’s a good point for Vigil that they are fixing it but… this should been in the game since release.

      It really is like eating a hot dog without ketchup or ordering a kid’s menu at McDonalds and getting a bun in a box. A really fancy box nevertheless but no meat, no salad, no cheese, and no toy or anything just that lone bun in the dark of the box.

      • Shakes999 says:

        Yeah, I was interested in it and picked it up for 20 bucks but its one of the worst ports I have ever played. Scratch that, it IS the worst port I have ever played. To compare, Just Cause 2 runs perfectly on my computer with the graphics maxed out. Darksiders barely runs at slide show pace and it looks like garbage compared to JC2.

        Im glad they are going to fix it but f-them. Not a big fan of purchasing a broken product.

        • Aphex242 says:

          I’ll preface this by saying I have a fairly nice PC (but over a year old). I think the port is fine. Yes the lack of options sucks, but the game plays and looks fantastic. I’m running at 1920×1200, and since I’m nVidia, I’ve enabled v-sync and triple buffering in the nVidia control panel (as an override for all DirectX software) and it runs fantastic. No slide show. And my video card, while not new, cost less than $300 when I bought it.

          I’m also using the controller, and yes, it’s nice. The game is fun, and it plays fine on PC. Is it a little stripped down? Sure. But I’d much rather have this than nothing. Glad to hear the devs are going to make it even better.

          • PodX140 says:

            Fairly nice PC here (ATI card though), and it’s unplayable. The menu’s take 20-30 seconds to navigate into, do whatever I need to do, then exit out of.

            It’s like the game freezes every time I hit escape.

  4. woodsey says:

    ‘And really, that’s all we can ask for at this point – especially since Vigil doesn’t technically owe us anything beyond a functional game, which it already provided.’

    They don’t owe me anything, they owe everyone who spent £30 or so on the PC version of the game plenty. I mean really, not even including a flipping config file is just bloody ridiculous.

    Yes, brownie points for putting their hands up and saying they fucked up, but they still fucked up. “Well, it runs” doesn’t cut it.

    • BoozeHound59 says:

      I’d argue the game isn’t even functional. The tearing and stuttering makes it unplayable unless you use 3rd party programs.

      • FeartheCalm says:

        Even that doesn’t totally work for me. It keeps my FPS in the right range, but I still see tearing.

  5. Shantara says:

    Great news! I’m happy that I decided to wait and see and not to rush with the purchase after the first reviews highlighted porting issues.

  6. noodlecake says:

    I could see a lot of people turning into rabid badgers over Darksiders 2. Personally it runs fine on my computer and while the lack of graphical options are a bit sad, the art style is wonderful and generally within about 5 or 10 minutes I get used to the graphical fidelity of a game anyway. Great job, Vigil!

    • Njordsk says:

      Same.

      I’ve no problem with the lack of option as it run smooth and is beautiful. Though I can see the problem for people having lower-end machines if they want to turn of a few options for FPS gain.

      • PodX140 says:

        For me it’s not even the FPS or graphical stuff, it runs fine in game and in combat. The issue is if you try to enter a menu, it’ll eat up a good 30 seconds going into it, equipping whatever, then exiting it. In a diablo like scenario with constantly dropping/changing equipment, it breaks the game.

        • noodlecake says:

          I really didn’t notice that at all but then again I don’t check my inventory every time I pick anything up.

  7. povu says:

    That’s good news. It’s always a shame when a good game is held back by porting issues.

  8. povu says:

    Hang on, hang on. They added the price on Steam now for us Europeans. 60 euros, really? That’s almost 50% more expensive than in the US.

    Edit: Actually, it seems it’s currently bundled with the Prima Official Strategy Guide, with no way to buy the game separately, which is why it’s 10 euros more expensive. A mistake from Steam I guess, it’ll probably be fixed soon.

  9. Lekker Pain says:

    Maybe Mr. Grayson should do a bit of research first. Game is playable on my computer, but what about others, thousands of people who cannot for example:

    -RUN the game at all
    -Proceed further in the game, because of gamebreaking bugs

    or have problems with:

    -Camera which is completely horrid
    -PC control scheme which doesn’t even work as intended
    -GPUs overheating due to non functional V-sync -> fixable on users end, but not everyone knows that or is supposed to do this fixing by themselves.
    -etc which I don’t have time to list.

    Note to author: Journalism ≠ Fanboism

    • Phantoon says:

      Your hateboyism is noted.

      Go back to the hell which spawned you, demon.

      • PodX140 says:

        Citing facts = “hateboyism”

        Look, it’s a fantastic game, nobody is saying it isn’t, But the port is absolutely DISGUSTINGLY bad. For me, it’s the menu’s that are completely unnavigateable, entering them and exiting takes at minimum 20 seconds, and in a game like this with constant loot, I spend more time staring at a grey loading screen then playing (or even equipping!)

      • Lekker Pain says:

        Grow some balls sir. Nobody is hating on anyone/anything. Shoddy port is a clear fact. There is nothing rational about saying good job devs following a big applause, after this fiasco.

  10. Trithne says:

    I don’t understand why developers don’t do it the other way: Develop a fully-featured PC version, then hardcode and cut out bits as needed for the consoles. That strikes me as easier than making it for a console then having to add bits and bobs after the fact.

    • grundus says:

      But then they run the risk of having far more console players being like ‘hey what the fuck guy’ than PC players, and all the extra bits and bobs are entirely optional for the most part, they don’t HAVE to add them to get the game to run on a PC. Should a developer wish they could lock a game at 720p, 30fps and make it playable only with a 360 pad, nothing else really matters. Except then there’s the fact that there are a great many ports that don’t even fucking work properly on PC anyway, I never did get to play most Ubisoft games online properly, which suggests that sometimes they don’t even care if the game works as advertised or not.

    • wu wei says:

      MS will refuse to publish any game for the X360 if it lacks features contained in the version for any other platform.

    • Metalhead9806 says:

      They sell ten times more copies on console than they do PC. This is why they dont create the game for PC then port inferior versions to the consoles.

    • Shinikake says:

      Perhaps you should do more research into the difference of the development process between PCs and consoles. For those that are somewhat lazy, Carmack mentions a lot of the issues they came across when building rage. It is quite long but it will give you the insight you need to avoid making ignorant comments.

      QuakeCon 2012 – John Carmack Keynote

  11. CaLe says:

    They should have a look at Sleeping Dogs, to see how a PC port should be done.

  12. SkittleDiddler says:

    “…especially since Vigil doesn’t technically owe us anything beyond a functional game, which it already provided.”

    And we don’t owe them anything either. That includes spending money on a trashy console port.

    I wish good developers would stop aligning themselves with shitty publishers.

    • Phantoon says:

      Aligning themselves with a publisher that owns them? That’s like telling Bioware to move away from EA- they’re not a seperate entity anymore.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        Has that always been the case? Were they or were they not an independent developer before they hooked up with THQ?

        Anyway, my point still stands. Some developers are so desperate to get funding for their games that they sell their souls to the first bidder.

  13. Freud says:

    The more PC games sold, the more love PC versions of multi-format games will get.

    I have a high tolerance for bad graphics, low res textures and few graphical options, despite having a very powerful PC. So it doesn’t really bother me when ports aren’t fantastic. The exception is when they are horribly optimized and won’t run smoothly.

    Of course if the options are there, but not easily accessible for PC gamers, then it is just laziness.

  14. horseflesh says:

    I thought they were War, famine,pestilence and Death?

    • magnus says:

      They’re his hick relations he doesn’t talk about much.

    • Ratherly says:

      Pretty sure it is, but I imagine if I were THQ I’d probably change it for the game series (maybe that’s what they did? I don’t know). Pestilence and famine don’t really lend themselves to the action platformers of the Darksiders world. Seems a shame though, I’d like to see them try something different.

      Pestilence as a stealth-em-up/puzzler where you must choose how to best spread your disease amongst your enemies but are basically useless in hand to hand combat.

      Famine might make an intriguing Black and White clone, where you must keep your people hungry enough to develop new technology and become more advanced to destroy your enemies, whilst not let them, you know, starve.

    • Sentient Waffle says:

      In this game/lore, they’re War, Death, Fury and Strife, and they aren’t the four biblical horsemen, but rather the four last members of their race, Nephilim (union between angel and demon, and quite popular in games atm.). Nephilim were upsetting the balance of the universe by being too overpowered, and so these three guys and the one girl were tasked with slaying the rest of their kind. They did so because they were tired of the constant conflict, and they were given pretty much power to boot.

      When they are on a task to help this ‘balance’ they slayed the rest of their race for, they have access to these powers. When they are not on a task for the balance, they have not. Death’s quest in this game is not one for the balance (well, one could argue it is, but it’s not acknowledged), but rather for his brother, war, and so he has to start from square one.

    • Phantoon says:

      That’s actually Christian fan fiction by some dudes in the Middle Ages. It’s actually Conquest, War, Famine, and Death, but let’s be honest.

      Famine is boring.

  15. V. Profane says:

    Finally got around to trying the first one last night. As far as I can see the only graphics options were to change resolution and turn on v-sync. The v-sync didn’t work.

  16. Spider Jerusalem says:

    here’s to hoping they fix the camera.

  17. HaVoK308 says:

    True, those typical PC features are not there. It sure looks like AA and AF are working just fine and the game runs at a very crisp 60FPS. I think it looks excellent and the art style really shines. I don’t miss those settings at all. As long as I can change the resolution I’m good. Darksiders II is a fantastic looking game on PC in my opinion. Of course I care more about art direction then I do about bells and whistles. Things that add nothing to the actual game for me.

    For the actual gameplay I am using the 360 controller. Which is fully supported as it is in most games today. Of course I would not want to use a keyboard and mouse for an action game like Darksiders, no more then I would want to use one for a platformer.

  18. caddyB says:

    Pretty sure they rushed it out the door because of money issues and they really didn’t mean to lie.

    • Phantoon says:

      Considering their team was chopped nigh in half, you’re very likely right. THQ isn’t doing well right now, despite putting out better games than EA and Activision every single time.

  19. Sentient Waffle says:

    I actually don’t mind the port, but I’m also playing it with a Xbox controller for PC, so controls are good and menus work fine.

    It works, it hasn’t crashed yet and I haven’t experienced any bugs (except for one instance of loss of sound, and some very minor cases of stuck in stuff, which I could jump out of), and graphics look fine to me.

    So if you got a controller lying about, use it, it works a lot better. But I can see why people complain, as it’s not really optimized for mouse and keyboard.

  20. august says:

    I have a feeling THQ’s current financial situation is the reason this port is so bare-bones.

  21. Jenks says:

    It feels like a fine port to me, but then, I’ve got a PC that doesn’t need graphics options beyond cranking it to 11, and I’m using the proper input device for the genre.

  22. MeestaNob says:

    All I want is vsync that works properly (as, in my opinion, having to download an additional set of drivers/applications to ‘force’ vsync is not a real solution – I have an ATI card before any one asks), and a more sensible menu system at the start.

    An ultra high detail texture pack would be really nice, but I’m not holding my breath on that one.

  23. pupsikaso says:

    I think bad ports need to start being reflected much heavier in reviews. Especially the ones that give a score in the end.

    You read a review and you see it’s an awesome game, but a bad port. Well how is it an awesome game if it can be incredibly frustrating to play because of the bad port? Imagine if the console version was as bad as the port, do you think the game would have received a very high review score?

    We judge technical flaws in non-ported games very severely but just shrug off technical issues with ports. Look at something like Boiling Point. An incredible game yet so technically glitchy. So bad in fact that it has what, a 3 or 4 score on most reviews? But the game itself is probably 8 or 9. So why do we forgive terrible ports, from companies that can easily afford to correct them, yet severely punish games from smaller companies?

    I think it’s about time the “playability” of ported games became much more significant in reviews just how the playability of a game is in non-ported games.

    As for why I think it should matter in scores is because that matters a lot to publishers and developers. People get hired and lose jobs because of metacritic scores. If the functionality of a port starts to bear weight on this score, publishers will take notice and do something about it.

    • rpollestad says:

      All of this, so much. (So much so that I registered just to reply.)

      I’m still sore about Arkham City’s PC release. Not once was any of the technical issues mentioned in most major mainstream reviews and yet the game was nearly unplayable in it’s default state. (DX 11 issues and what not.)

      Still, many months later, it’s left still mostly unfixed and no one cares. Game of the year!

    • HaVoK308 says:

      Perhaps, but Darksiders II is not a bad port. Playing it now and it’s fantastic, in both the looks department and gameplay.

      • PodX140 says:

        Much of the game is unplayable with a M+K, hotkeys don’t work, you cannot scroll the skill descriptions, the inventory system is convoluted, scroll wheel NEVER works anywhere, wasd doesn’t work to scroll, or even arrow keys.

        After that, we have the menu screens taking forever to load and close (despite the rest of the game running perfectly).

        I loved the first, had JUST played it and beat it last night in preparation for this one, and I cannot even play an hour of this before the port frustrated me to the point of shutting it off. I have no issue with any visuals, or just being able to change the resolution. What I want is a game that FUNCTIONS, and not one that takes me out of the game for 10+ seconds every 20 because I got a new piece of armor.

    • Phantoon says:

      “the ones that give a score in the end”

      RPS doesn’t do that. RPS has never done that. The closest thing RPS has had to a score is optimus prime thumbs of approval/disapproval.

  24. Thelps says:

    “…especially since Vigil doesn’t technically owe us anything beyond a functional game, which it already provided.”

    Demand MORE, mister Grayson. Vigil might not ‘owe’ us anything but we, as PC users, should always stand up for whatever tweaks, benefits and gains are available to our platform, most especially decent graphics options and settings, something that consoles can’t ever feature.

    We’d do well to always ask for the maximum a developer can deliver. I understand that puts added strain on them, but anything that improves the quality of experience for a PC user, especially with the prevalence of console-to-PC ports, has to be a good thing. :)

  25. Shooop says:

    For $60 they do owe customers a bit more than just “Well it runs!” I’m beginning to see a disturbing trend in PC gamers everywhere just happily accepting the most half-assed of ports. Why not just buy a console toybox since you don’t want anything more than a game that just works?

    • UncleLou says:

      Bit condescending? 60 fps, for starters. Cheaper games. Quick startup times with no discs required. I have a console, but people often don’t get that “bad port” almost always means that you still get a version that is superior in almost every respect.

      Anyway, I seem to be in a minority, but DS2 looks great, runs with 60fps, does not tear, and the UI is at least functional. Meaning it’s not a completely broken piece of utter shit like, say, Borderland’s UI.

      As for the game itself, it’s always good, but never great.

      • Shooop says:

        Cheaper games? Not anymore. The price creep up to $60 has firmly taken hold over PC games as well.

        You may be one of the lucky ones – I’m reading complaints of the game running very choppy and lots of screen tearing. Of course it’s harder to port a game to PC because there’s so many different builds and setups to get them running on, but if they’re going to charge a full game’s price it’s something customers should expect.

        It shouldn’t be a game that works for certain people just fine and causes other people’s machines to explode in horrific fury. Not for that kind of money.

        • Phantoon says:

          I notice how everyone is “reading” that people are having issues, but no one here is having it themselves.

          It’s like the Diablo 3 fiasco in reverse- plenty of people experienced it firsthand and recounted it everywhere.

          I think Vigil needs some pity. They got this thing out the door when their development team was cut to death.

          • PodX140 says:

            People are “reading” that people are having issues, because they exist and are COMMON.

            I for instance cannot play the game because navigating in and out of the menus completely stops the game for a good 20-30 seconds. EVERY. TIME. I. PICK. UP. A. NEW. ITEM.

            Seriously. Got a new chest that is better than your current one? Either ignore it for as long as possible or just waste 40 seconds as you stare at a gray screen waiting for it to load the menus.

            The game itself runs fine, the menus are atrocious.

      • PodX140 says:

        For me the UI is unmanageable, every time I go to the inventory, I have to stare at a grey screen for about 5 seconds, manage the awful inventory, remember I can’t use the scroll wheel or wasd in this mode, equip the one item I needed, back out and wait another 5-10 seconds to re-enter the game.

        It honestly breaks every flow of the game.

  26. lociash says:

    Does the game already look beautiful: Yes.
    Is it great fun: Yes.
    Would I love slidey sliders and graphics options: Sure but it isn’t stopping my enjoyment.

    • Dominic White says:

      Seconding this. It’s a beautiful-looking game and runs perfectly on just about any mediocre-or-better gaming PC. The whole thing is designed from the ground up around a gamepad, so get one of those – if you can’t afford £15 for one, then you’re probably in the wrong hobby. They’ve only been around since the early 80s – it’s not like they’re a new invention, even on the PC.

      The textures are fairly simple and the characters are low-poly. This doesn’t matter one bit, as the art direction is stunning. The environments are beautiful, the animations are smooth, the worlds are very varied and the level design is great.

      It doesn’t have sliders, but that really doesn’t matter here.

  27. Shodex says:

    What’s with this new trend of releasing unfinished games? Online patching is making developers too lazy. If Bethesda wants to sell me an unfinished version of Skyrim, and then fix it up for me half a year later, that’s fine. But don’t make me pay a whopping $60 for it. What happens when I decide to try a game out 15 years down the road, and find out the download servers for the patch are long since defunct. Then my unfinished game remains unfinished.

    The only thing worse is when a game comes out unfinished, then gets left in the dirt. Lookin’ at you, Alpha Protocol. There is no excuse for it, huge sums of money go into making games like these, and $60 is way too much for a video game as it is. Then what happens? They come out unfinished and incredibly short.

    The concept behind a game could be fantastic, it could have a great story, amazing graphics, awesome this, and cool that. However, if your game cannot be played it is not worth releasing. This lazy game design needs to be put to an end. Look at Metal Gear Solid 4, it’s about 4 years old and hasn’t been patched once. Why? Because it didn’t need any patches, when the game was released it was finished. Polished to a shine.

    And don’t even get me started about developers flat out lying about what their products contain, I’m fairly sure that counts as false advertising. Many drastically different endings that are effected by everything you did before, I mean come on. What happened to this industry, I’m not trying to claim it’s the end of the world (I enjoy a very large amount of current gen games on both console and PC), but you’d think more money going into each project would mean more game coming out. Or at least a more finished game.

  28. Howl says:

    It has great out-of-the-box nvidia surround support. This is better than the vast majority of PC games. The cinematic before the eternal throne looked gob-smacking with three screens. I wish there was a way to run it separately somehow.

    The controller support is perfect. I have no idea why mouse martyrs insist of struggling with KBM for this genre of game. We were plugging Kempston joysticks into our Spectrums 30 years ago. Using the correct control method for each game is nothing new.

    • PodX140 says:

      I played through DS1 with MKB YESTERDAY (litrally, I played it for 2 days straight so I could play DS in time), and it was stellar. No issues with camera, controls, nothing.

      Got about 30 minutes into DS2 and could not continue, the games camera, UI, and MENUS (oh god the menus) take forever to navigate, and many hotkeys do NOT function.

  29. Dave L. says:

    I know for a fact that THQ’s QA asked Vigil repeatedly about adding more options (both graphical and control) to the PC version and the response they got was ‘we don’t plan to implement that.’

    The most they’re likely to be able to patch in is functional vsync. I wouldn’t hold my breath for AA, texture filtering or texture quality.

    The most ridiculous thing about this is that Darksiders II is the same engine as Space Marine, but Vigil apparently didn’t bring on any of the engine optimisations and additions that Relic made.

  30. Premium User Badge ffordesoon says:

    The problem, Nathan, is that my game does not function. I don’t give a shit about a shonky port as long as it’s functional; at worst, I usually get an Xbox game that looks and plays better than it does on the Xbox. This port, however, literally does not run for me. I start the game, I go through the bare-bones start menu, I see the first loading screen, and boom, it crashes to desktop. Allegedly, if you download a crack for the game, it works perfectly. This game I bought for fifty dollars, and on which I spent another twenty for the Season Pass, does not work unless I download a crack and put my Steam account at risk. I downloaded a patch today that promised to fix the problem, and it didn’t. Oh, and it didn’t even auto-download. On Steam. A service built around automatic updates.

    So, from my perspective, no, they did not deliver a functional game.

    If I sound angry, that’s because I would like to play this well-reviewed game that I allegedly own, and I can’t.