Death takes a holiday

Finished Darksiders 2 over the weekend, and I’m finding myself in the weird position of urgently wanting to talk about it and yet having a hard time finding anything to say about it besides “yeah, man, that game is awesome.”

I think I read (or heard) someone describe DS2 as a game that was not ashamed of being a game.   Which is to say, it’s not trying to be something it isn’t – it’s not an interactive movie, it’s not a “work of art”.  It is telling a story – an interesting story, actually, with strong dialogue and excellent voice acting – but it’s also got furious combat and puzzle solving and pleasurable platforming, and lots of side stuff to do simply for the sake of doing them.

It’s true that the first game wore its influences very clearly on its sleeve, and I think it’s very safe to say that this second game is very much more its own thing.  Indeed, if I had to compare it to anything – and I really honestly don’t feel like I have to, but for the sake of argument I will – I’d probably compare it to Rocksteady’s Batman games.  They’re similarly paced, they take place in huge, detailed environments, they very rarely hit a wrong note.

DS2 rarely stumbles.  But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the combat can be a little tedious at times – the Soul Arbiter’s Maze, for example, was goddamned ridiculous.  And occasionally the bosses can feel cheap – quite a few bosses can teleport, which is rapidly becoming my #1 pet peeve.

I did most (but not all) of the side quests pretty much right before the very last quest, and it also should be noted that some of those quests are, also, ridiculous, in that you’re simply travelling from one “world” to another, relaying a conversation that you yourself aren’t even involved in.  This form of quest is not uncommon in these types of games, but they are unbearably tedious in a game like DS2, where travelling from world to world – and then travelling from portal entrance to quest objective – takes time.  Surely these creatures have email, or smartphones, or even a goddamned telegraph.

Those minor quibbles aside, it’s a magnificent game, and I’m sure I’ll engage in a New Game+ playthrough during the next lull in the release schedule.  Right now it’s somewhere in my top 3 for the year, and I imagine it’ll stay up there as the year winds down.

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