Have You Played… Darksiders II

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

Ooh, I like me some Darksiders II [official site]. Yet another tragic victim of the collapse of THQ, the prospects of a third game in the series seem ever-far away, with current owners Nordic Games still saying such a thing is yet to start. But with a remake of the game coming up later this year, now couldn’t possibly be a worse time to recommend it to you.

Saying that, the awkwardly named Deathinitive Edition is currently only slated for PS4 and XBone, although it would be pretty heftily silly not to press the Make It PC Button too. But anyway, focus. The game. The sequel to the less good Darksiders, this is a third-person brawler in which you play Death himself, for upward of 30 hours.

With clear, worn-on-its-sleeves influences from Prince Of Persia, Zelda, Metroid Prime, Ratchet & Clank and Shadows Of The Colossus, it plays like a best-of-gaming, an enormous (in every sense) game of bombastic action and mayhem, all delivered with surprising finesse. That Vigil Games were dragged under by the demise of THQ is such a shame. That they live on in the form of Airship Syndicate gives me hope that when Nordic finally pulls its finger out, there’s a team in place to deliver us the third of the four planned games.


  1. Floflo81 says:

    I would have liked this game way better if it didn’t add an unnecessary inventory and loot system a la Diablo. Mainly for that reason, I prefer the first Darksiders, which had more hack & slash and Zelda-like elements.

    In my opinion the first Darksiders also had a more interesting plot, progression and puzzles.

    • Xocrates says:

      Yeah, the first one was hands down the better game, even though the second one was conceptually more interesting.

      It did not help that 2 was visibly unfinished, down to the point where it feels half the game had to be cut (only the first area feels finished and polished). While the first game was “safe” but extremely well made, 2 bit way more than it could chew.

      Still highly enjoyable, mind, but certainly not as good as the first.

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        Yeah I couldn’t finish Darksiders 2, seemed to get less interesting as the game went on which probably back up what you say, I was not aware of any budget or time constraints that lead to the game getting rushed but I could definitely understand if that were the case.

    • airtekh says:

      Agreed. I hated the inclusion of inventory management in Darksiders 2.

      I much prefer the first game. Also, one of the few videogames with a really satisfying ending.

      • gabrielonuris says:

        Yeah, I’m actually losing account of how many games have you dying at the end, for instance. BTW who the f*** comes with those ideas? A martyr in a movie could sound cool on paper, but on video games? Nobody likes to see themselves dying after hours of “work”.

        I wish DS2 could have started from where DS1 ended, all that parallel BS got into my nerves, and I actually played the whole game thinking it was happening AFTER the first one. I can’t describe my disappointment when I watched that ending.

        • nunka says:

          Not trying to be contrary, but I enjoy those endings. The darker the better, as long as it makes sense within the logic of the game world. I’m more interested in games as a storytelling medium than as “work” for the “reward” of a happy ending.

    • Crafter says:

      I came to relay the exact same feeling.
      This sidequel felt really forced. Was it the initial plan ? It feels that they realized that they did not have the budget for the events announced during DarkSiders endings, so they decided to employ a diversion tactic.

  2. draglikepull says:

    Kingdoms of Amalur, Darksiders 2 . . . I am beginning to wonder if John is playing a long con to trick people into playing games that were overlooked because they were bad.

    • Eight Rooks says:

      Can’t speak for Amalur, but yes, I partly got Darksiders II on the strength of John’s review and yes, it’s very pretty and stupidly epic in a good way but Christ, it was so. Damned. Boring. A soulless, dead world that felt like neither a place nor an “idea” of a place – it wasn’t convincing as somewhere actual living things went about their daily routine and it wasn’t coherent enough as some kind of demented, dreamlike expression of where mythological beings hung out in their spare time. And the loot system was a big, big, big part of that – if I’m constantly being directed to stare at the ground for the next bit of gear my enemies drop, rather than the awesome scenery, it doesn’t do much to convince me the developers thought of it all as anything more than half-decent concept art brought to life. Honestly, after his Victor Vran writeup I’m starting to think Mister Walker’s part magpie: I need more than just OH LOOK SHINY THING to keep me going, thanks.

    • Enso says:

      Next up: Have you played… Every single dynasty warriors game, including spinoffs, in one sitting.

    • Chillz says:

      I am of the opinion that the first 10 hours of content in Kingdoms of Amalur are actually amazing, the combat, the quests, the looks(well those are consistent to the end). You can feel how stuff simply got incredibly rushed after, indeed. As for Darksider’s 2, I had an incredibly bad wisdom tooth ache when I played it and 2 hours in gave up because there seemed to be a 5:1 puzzles to killing things ratio. Also the killing things part was just not satisfying, long useless post, potatooooes :)

  3. basilisk says:

    I have to say I preferred the first one. While it’s true that Death is a much more enjoyable companion than War (and in the game), the sequel is burdened by far too many MMO-isms, with trash mobs and loot drops and whatnot, that are really quite unnecessary. And there’s some some pretty ridiculous padding, too.

    Still, a very lovely pair of games that are regularly sold for pennies these days.

    • Smoky_the_Bear says:

      Yeah I think padding is a good word. TBH I didn’t finish either of them. Checking HowLongtoBeat.com clocks Darksiders at 17.5 hours, 20 hours if you do the extra side stuff. Darksiders 2 at 22 hours, 27.5 if you do the extra side stuff.
      That’s just…..too long for me for fairly repetitive hack and slash gameplay. Currently sat at 7 hours played for the first one, if it were 10-12 hours I’d probably have pushed through and finished it but at that point I could not face another 10+ hours of more of the same.

      • Harlequin says:

        The first didn’t feel like it had much padding at all.. and I haven’t finished the second, so I wouldn’t know. I don’t know if it’s because I grew up on the extremely long Zelda games, but (at least the first) the length seemed fine to me.

  4. The JG Man says:

    Whilst Darksiders 1 was better than the sum of its parts, I felt like DS2 was made worse by them. Individually, a lot of the components of 2 were a step-up from those in the original, but they didn’t quite gel so well. It also didn’t help that the overall pacing was a mess making some parts feel like they dragged on or just sort of appearing for a bit and then leaving again.

  5. kud13 says:

    I still need to play the final boss fight in this game. I got stuck in the Arena, around the third quarter of the way through, and never came back.

    Best thing on PC since Legacy of Kain if you’re looking for supernatural explory-fighting things. I also thought the first was a more coherent story (and War had way cooler gardets), but Death was basically the new Raziel, and traversing th open lush, open world on a ghost-horse, slashing things with the scythes, or shooting them with the pistol, before venturing in a temple to solve ball-rolling puzzles and fighting gigantic Golems was also a great time.

    I’m really sad there aren’t more Darksider games coming, as I felt the series had unique enough lore and solid mechanics to warrant more sequels.

    • kud13 says:

      Disclaimer being, only the first of 3 (or was it 4?) “worlds” (not counting the Prologue” was “lush”. Kingdom of the dead was very meh, though it had nice set-piece platforming about the ghost-ship.

    • Xocrates says:

      The Arena? The optional Arena that you won’t be leveled enough to finish until you’re most of the way into the New Game+ Arena?

      • kud13 says:

        Yeah, that’s the one. I almost got to the 3/4 mark a few times, then I had a lapse in my gaming time, time, by the time I came back to it, I lost the tactile memory for the intensive combat, and haven’t had the wherewithal to retrain myself.

        I’m pretty sure Arena reward is a piece of a collectible armour, which is why I was banging m head against it instead of finishing the game. I’m a bit of an obsessive completionist, y’see

  6. Styxie says:

    I prefer the original game. Both games are problematic, but I found that DS2 had stupidly unimaginative quests and objectives. Every major mission seemed to revolve around finding a new item, using it to unlock a door or something, and then being told to do the same thing two more times just for the sake of making the game longer.

    It grew so tedious that by the mid point of the second game I wanted to stop playing. The first game got around this by being slightly more linear, but a lot more interesting because the settings and objectives were more varied.

  7. MonkeyMonster says:

    Still 2/3 of the way through I think… Have been for a while too. They are both good in different ways as others have intimated but the scale is bigger in this (unsurprisingly perhaps). Loot is a frustrating thing indeed. I also want the possibility of getting an uber armour set though. War looked pretty awesome once he’d got that. That said DS is one of the few games I have finished in my steam game warehouse. Might be the impetus I needed to return to it for a bit.

  8. Jenks says:

    The first game was better and had a better protagonist.

    Not only did the second game feel like a reskin with even less personality, it didn’t even advance the story. A very disappointing sequel.

  9. Freud says:

    Both Darksiders and Darksiders II were excellent game, marrying God of War style combat with Zelda puzzle solving. If you haven’t played them you should, unless you are one of those people who insist on playing everything with a keyboard and mouse. If you are, please continue you normal routine.

    • Xocrates says:

      Hum… I played both games to completion, several times even, using only Keyboard and Mouse, and didn’t have any major problems with it.

      • PancakeWizard says:

        If you managed it with KB/M, then cool but it really shines on a gamepad.

    • piedpiper says:

      I beat first one without problems on KB+M.

    • kud13 says:

      I thoroughly enjoyed my time with both games on K+M. Don’t recall any issues, once I configured controls to my liking in the tutorial. Both games were quite well ported when it came to controls.

  10. Aysir says:

    The collect 3 mechanic in this drove me insane with boredom – especially when, while collecting 3 random items, you then have to perform 3 more tasks to get one of them. Urgh – first game was far better. It had a better looking main character, had a more coherent story path and didn’t bog itself down with a terrible loot system.

  11. vlonk says:

    The storyline of the second part was very dissapointing. It felt more like a explanation of the first game, then a continuation.
    Mild spoiler: The game ended very very sudden. I could not believe that this actually was the end of the game. Comparing the length of the individual chapters it is easy to see where their budget/bankrupcy kicked in =/

  12. EOT says:

    According to Steam I’ve played around six hours of DSII and last played it in the December of 2012. I remember that I had died a few times to a SotC-esque boss and given up. I’ve kept it installed for some reason, but if I’m honest is there much of a chance of me going back to finish it? I highly doubt it.

    Played through the first one twice though. I think that it’s quite obvious which game I enjoyed more.

  13. PancakeWizard says:

    Put simply, Darksiders 2 (once I’ve wrangled with the ad-hoc mod fixes and got the decent DLC), is probably one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had in a decade, alongside the Batman AA games. I am a big unapologetic Darksiders fanboy.

    • PancakeWizard says:

      As an aside, it’s quite weird seeing so many comments saying the first one was better citing characters, story, quests etc – all things I thought were vastly improved by the sequel.

      • Xocrates says:

        Thing is, aside from the first area, no other area feels finished – particularly in plot, as such there is little in the way of character arcs, returning characters have little more than glorified cameos, and the game resolves no dangling plot points from the first game making it feel kind of pointless (made worse by the first game essentially undoing the end of its own sequel).

        The first game had a clear plot, clear character arcs, complex characters (even War was more developed and complex than Death), and – quite frankly – a more interesting setting.

        This is not to say that 2’s writing and characters were terrible, there’s certainly a lot of good stuff there, but I have a hard time seeing how they’re better than the first game.

  14. Cryio says:

    I’m still profoundly sad they aren’t bringing the improved version to PC in one way or another.

    I loved both Darksiders games, the 2nd more than the 1st and would’ve liked all the fixes and improvements they are doing for the X1/PS4.

    Kinda annoying when they are doing all these “definitive editions” with improved lightning, other graphics stuff, less bugs for current-gen consoles compared to PC.

    I was annoyed at Tomb Raider, Sleeping Dogs, DmC and now Darksiders 2.

    • welverin says:

      Sleeping Dogs’ DE was released on pc at least.

      As for Tomb Raider didn’t the original pc version have the nifty graphical effects added to the new console’s versions got? The only thing lacking the new model for Lara, which I think looked worse.

  15. Zekiel says:

    According to Steam I’ve played 37 hours of this game. I like the idea of hack-and-slash (something there really isn’t that much of on PC). I like the idea of that being punctuated by occasional puzzling and platforming. I thought the environmental design had promise – great huge titan creatures, interesting monsters.

    But in spite of all that, I found it a profoundly boring game. 37 hours in I suddenly realised I wasn’t really enjoying myself and quit. I’ve never looked back.

  16. kaizer_roll says:

    I stopped playing Darksiders 2 after a bug repeatedly caused the cutscene audio to cut out. I thoroughly enjoyed the first (partly because of low expectations, partly for the aforementioned ‘wearing its influences on its sleeve’ feeling) but the second really did suffer from feeling unfinished, and I never made it far enough for the new RPG elements to feel fleshed out and worthwhile.

  17. skorpeyon says:

    I just want to put this out there: My absolute, all-time favorite thing in the two Darksiders games was Mark Hammill. That being said, I liked both games relatively equally but for different reasons. Darksiders felt like a dark, more brutal Zelda where you could actually jump (take note of that, Nintendo, for real, it can work) whereas its sequel felt like a more open-world grind at times. I probably preferred the original a bit more, but the sequel being more open made it more interesting at times. I’ve beaten both, and am really sad we haven’t seen a third come out just yet. I’m an unabashed fan of the series, though. Felt it was a wonderful idea for a series of games, and I want to know where they were going with the other two gameplay styles (I’d heard mention of the possibility of one being a FPS for example).