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Top Five Reasons Why Darksiders II Should Be On Your Radar

The follow-up to sleeper hit Darksiders, THQ’s Darksiders II looks to build on the legacy of the first game by expanding the game’s universe as it follows the exploits of War’s brother Death as he tries to uncover the truth behind the accidental apocalypse War was wrongly accused of.

So why should this game be something you’re excited about? I’ll give you five good reasons:

5) Pre-Order Bonuses

No, you won’t get a dorky statuette of Death or a special T-shirt with Death’s face on it. Actually, the pre-order bonuses for Darksiders II are pretty impressive, giving us a good showcase of how awesome pre-order bonuses could be. Those who pre-order the limited edition of Darksiders II will get a season pass to two pieces of the game’s downloadable content post-release, plus access to a new set of in-game armor.

The first DLC for Darksiders has already been announced, and is expected to release a month after the game does on August 14th. Called Argul’s Tomb, it is said to be a “significant” expansion of the original single-player campaign.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of pre-order bonuses, but this struck me as impressive for a few reasons. First, that’s an impressive haul, considering the cost of DLC, and here they’re giving two pieces of it for free. On top of that, you’ll be given access to a new set of armor that you might not otherwise get in enemy loot drops within the game.

4) A New Character in Death

The original Darksiders centered around War, the violent “older brother” of the four horsemen who was wrongly accused of causing the apocalypse. In Darksiders II, the game switches perspectives to follow Death as he journeys throughout the Abyss (where all the worlds go to die), interacting with characters as he tries to figure out why everything went wrong. We’ve been promised a darker, more sinister undercurrent to the story of this accidental apocalypse that players will uncover as they aid Death in his campaign to clear his brother’s name.

But why a character change? Developers wanted to do something different and bring a fresh feel to the gameplay and felt that could only be done with a new character and attributes. Death has different skills and is much more agile, moving with more cat-like grace than his brother War. The result is an entirely new take on the Darksiders universe through the perspective of a mysterious and interesting character.

3) Loot, Skill Trees, and Role-Playing

What makes a good game better? Loot and RPG elements, of course. And Darksiders II features both.

Enemies will drop loot, and although it might not be as abundant as it is in a game like Torchlight, it’s no less effective.

Weapons and items such as health potions will be dropped frequently, and it’ll serve you well to pick up whatever you can. Players will be able to equip both primary and secondary weapons, and thanks to an enhanced level system, you’ll only be able to equip more powerful weapons after raising your character’s level a bit.

Skill trees and upgrades will also allow Death to enhance his combat abilities, giving him the edge over his enemies on his journey.

2) Smooth Combat

Thanks to increased agility, Death moves with the fluidity of a ninja in Darksiders II, giving developers the opportunity to approach combat in a whole new light with the game. With the enhaced ability to counter and evade, combat takes on a much more cerebral approach that will require both fast reflexes and patience as you engage in battle.

Attack combos can once again be strung together in an attempt to cause maximum damage to enemies, and all weapons dropped in the world will serve a specific purpose or function both in and out of combat. You’ll be able to customize your character into whatever you want him to be, giving you the opportunity to create whatever sort of fighter suits your play style.

On top of that, combat looks fluid and polished, borrowing some of its aesthetic appeal from games like Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Couple great aesthetics with customization and strategy, and you’ve got a recipe for a hell of a satisfying combat experience.

1) A Whole New World

While it follows in the footsteps of the original, Darksiders II will be a fresh new experience set in the series’ universe. Stated above, Darksiders II will largely take place in the Abyss, a realm “where worlds go to die”. Why? Developers wanted to do something different with the new title, and decided that setting it in a separate game world would allow them to attribute more fantasy-like conventions and stylings to the game.

Not only is the look and feel of it different, but the level structure has been impacted as well. Since Death is a much more fluid and nimble character, his platforming will become an integral part of gameplay. Among other abilities, he can run on walls, jump to ledges, and climb up overgrown vines as he moves through the world with a fluid ease. New NPCs and skillful voice acting and sound design also attribute a new life into the game, and while the game itself is largely a linear experience, players will have to solve some environmental puzzles and search for their path as they move through levels.

Darksiders II is shaping up to be a promising addition to the series and leads the pack of the fast-approaching fall and Holiday season jam-packed with major titles. Look for Darksiders II along with Sleeping Dogs on August 14th.