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Darksiders II (PC) Review

There are times when I feel that Darksiders II is a more enjoyable Diablo-style game than Diablo III…

The original Darksiders was a surprisingly awesome game. I liken it to one of those moments where you go out and try a new restaurant on a whim, expecting to have the standard fare in a different atmosphere, but the experience is so amazing that it immediately becomes your go-to joint. Darksiders is the kind of game you can pride yourself if you happened to have played it before everybody else, or if you’re late to the party, you’ll amazed that it took you so long to discover its greatness.

Darksiders II is, frankly, the perfect example of a sequel. It’s faithful to the original, but is progressive enough and expands and improves upon just about every aspect.

The original game found inspiration in games like The Legend of Zelda and God of War. Darksiders II expands up on the original by including larger, open-world environments. When enemies are defeated, they will sometimes drop loot, like weapons and armor, an addicting element found in popular games like Diablo, Borderlands, and Torchlight. New items not only makes your character look more bad-ass, but it makes him more powerful and harder to kill.

Gap too wide? Wallrun to the rescue!

In Darksiders II you’ll again be playing as a Horsemen of the Apocalypse, this time it’s Death. I think Death is more of a cooler protagnoist than Darksiders’ first Horseman: War. How can you not love a massive, beast-man who is wearing a skull mask and wielding a wicked-looking scythe? Plus: it’s Death! C’mon!

As you’re pounding away and slashing at enemies, numbers will fly off the screen indicating the damage you’re doing. Even though the game often dips its foot into the role-playing genre and offers new aspects like items to equip via loot-drops, Darksiders II is still very much action-oriented, combo attack-driven game.

The bigger they are, the harder they fall...

It’s been awhile since I played a PC game, and it’s been an even longer time since I played a console-style game on a PC. Over the summer, I assembled a decent gaming rig, a 64-bit Windows 7 system with 8GB of RAM, and volunteered to review the PC version of Darksiders II.

I was a little skeptical about how enjoyable it’d be using a mouse and keyboard, but after the opening tutorial I found the PC setup to be acceptable and easy to adapt to. Comfort-wise, I still would rather sit on my couch and play Darksiders II with an Xbox or PS3 controller; I sit in at a computer for 8-9 hours a day, and because of that I can’t fully relax when sitting in front of one to play a game. This is not a knock against the game, rather a matter of preference in comfort.

Options? More like *Option*!

Visually, the PC version of Darksiders II is nice, but it’s not as impressive as I was hoping it’d be. It looks like a console game running at a slightly higher resolution than normal. The options to adjust video settings are basic and almost non-existent (see the image above). For PC gamers who have practically been breed to tweak and adjust, at very granular levels, various elements of a game — like the video settings — the choices to configure Darksiders II’s visuals is extremely limiting and are downright insulting.

Another issue I had with Darksiders II was the load times. They often crossed that “this is taking too long” line. I would be a little more lenient on this issue, or put the blame on an under-powered computer, but that wasn’t the case — I have a pretty nice rig with enough processing power and memory that load times shouldn’t be an issue. However, I often found myself becoming impatient when loading a game, especially when accessing the character inventory.

I will say that this about the game’s menus: I really liked the quick transition when loading a saved game. Death will be waiting for you at the load screen, and when you’re ready to start, the camera simply pulls away, circles around him, and you’re ready for action!

I played the Steam version of Darksiders II, trying it on both my hefty desktop and a less-powerful but still viable laptop. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my saved status resides in the cloud, and was able to pick up at my last spot no matter which computer I was playing on.

Darksiders II will provide hours of enjoyment! Most people seem to average between 20-25 hours between start and finish. That’s a lot of game!

Final Thoughts:

Darksiders II builds upon the first Darksiders, by introducing role-playing, character statistics, massive, open-world environments, and the ever popular loot-drops from Diablo and Borderlands. All the while, staying true to the original action-plaforming gameplay.

You don’t need to play the original to enjoy Darksiders II, but I recommend playing through Darksiders first for two reasons. The first reason is for the storyline. While this isn’t Shakespeare, the angels and demons storyline is much more interesting than other action games, and while you don’t to play the first, you’ll appreciate the story more. The second reason I recommend you wait to try Darksiders II until after playing through the first, is that once you try Darksiders II, it’s going to be tough going back. Darksiders is still awesome, but Darksiders II is better in every aspect. Plus, you’ll appreciate and notice the hard work that went into the game.

As a PC game, I didn’t enjoy playing Darksiders II on a computer, as much as I feel I would sitting on the couch and playing on a controller. The mouse and keyboard worked fine, but I just can’t fully relax sitting in front of a computer screen the same way I can with an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. This is a matter of opinion, and I’m not knocking the game for this.

Darksiders II is an awesome game, and I really recommend you pick it up!

Be sure to check our Darksiders II PS3 review for another take on the game.

About Troy

Troy is the Features Editor at Brutal Gamer. When he's not writing about or playing video games, he's enjoying life with his wife and children. He also loves coffee. And lots of it.

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