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Looking back to 2015 and the Remastered Scythe-Wielding Good Times of Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition

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I loved the original Darksiders. I mean, I really loved it. Once it had sunk its claws into me, I was powerless to resist. It just kept forcing me to play, to keep getting further into the tale of War’s redemption and betrayal. To this day, it is one of my proudest completions. Obviously I mean completions in terms of the story: I wasn’t good enough to play the very hardest level in order to 100% the achievements on the game. I even played it through again when it was remastered for the Xbox One, and it was still as good as it was the first time through. However, in this episode of “gaze back into the murky haze of my gaming memories”, I’m going to be looking at the second game in the series, the imaginatively titled Darksiders II. Still, even that’s better than “Deathinitive Edition” eh? Sadly, that’s the version that I’m looking at this time around, dodgy name and all. Still, the second game in the series must have grabbed me at least as much as the first game, right? Well…

Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition

In Darksiders II, we had to take control of Death – another of the Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse, and brother to War. I have to take a moment to acknowledge the sheer terror that his name must have struck into the enemies. “Who have the Horsemen sent? Famine? Pestilence?”. “Nope, Death”. I mean, it’s a scarier name than even War, isn’t it? And I know that for the third game in the series, not only is Strife now a Horseman (Horseperson?), and this seems like an answer to an issue which would be ‘How does Famine fight?’ Surely he’d be too hungry, and Pestilence too ill?

Anyway, enough digressing… on to the game. We control Death, and if you’d played the first game, the controls and the way he moves would be familiar. Instead of a mahoosive sword, Death favours a dual-wield scythe approach. While he can always use slower weapons like hammers, or faster ones like gauntlets, I have to say that I preferred him fighting with the scythes, as they just seemed to fit better with my image of Death. The deja vu runs throughout, as Death runs, swims, climbs and rides his skinny-looking horse, Despair, around the admittedly impressively large maps, stopping only for a little light exploration and pugilism with the minions of the demons. 

The story is even more bonkers than the first one, believe it or not, and centered around Death trying to prove that War was not guilty of destroying Mankind. To understand the story, it is necessary to know that the Horsemen were the last four surviving members of the Nephilim – a cursed race of angel/demon offspring who once waged war on all of creation. Tiring of the conflict, the four killed all the other Nephilim and it fell to Death to takedown Absalom, the first of their kind. This act earned him the name Kinslayer, amongst presumably many others, and in a final gesture of defiance to the Charred Council, Death kept all the souls of the Nephilim in an amulet, which he entrusted to the Keeper of Secrets, the Crowfather. 

Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition Xbox

Of course, things were never going to go smoothly. When War is accused of his crimes, Death decides to find proof of his innocence, and so goes to see the Crowfather again. However, the Crowfather forces Death to take back the Nephilim Souls Amulet, and when they fight, it shatters, embedding the shards in Death’s chest. From here, it’s pretty much business as usual, with visits to the Tree of Life, a corrupted guardian, the resurrected soul of Absalom, and the Well of Souls, which has two keys: one held by the demons, and one by the angels. Neither side really loves the Nephilim. Oh, and the prize seems to be all of the souls of Mankind, which could be restored as long as Death performs his end of the bargain. So no pressure then. 

Obviously, this is just a quick and dirty rundown of what happens, and there are a myriad of dungeons, trips and traps to explore, enemies to fight, and levelling up to do, which is always part of the fun of these games. Death can not only unlock skills in his skill tree as he goes; there are also new abilities that can be granted by having certain equipment in your arsenal, and also by collecting Stonebites – the collectibles this time around – which can be traded for permanent stat upgrades. There are a few different types of kit that Death can equip too, varying from main weapons to shoulder armour, and even different gloves, boots and amulets. Buying these items, or finding them in the wild, will allow Death to always be dressed to the nines, ready to bring, well, himself to the party.

So, the story was vast and twisting, and the world maps did similar. How was the actual gameplay? Well, I was a little underwhelmed to be brutally honest, so much so that I never finished this Deathinitive Edition. Remember, this was me, the man who couldn’t let go of Darksiders; someone who found the whole experience of Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition a little too long-winded, a little too much up its own, ahem, exit. The fighting was fun, but to be honest it was the bits in between that dragged. There just seemed to be too much “world” and by trying to make the game more open, less scripted if you like, I feel that the team behind it lost the momentum of the story that the first game had. You’d find yourself poking around in obscure corners, looking for something to do, rather than knowing where you needed to go to move the story on. In some games, I like this approach, such as Skyrim or Fallout, but here in Darksiders II Deathinitve Edition it just felt like the pacing was off. 

Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition Xbox One

On the plus side, the Deathinitive Edition included all the DLC that had been made for the base game, including two story expansions – The Abyssal Forge, which took place in the Shadow Lands, and The Demon Lord Belial, which took place on Earth, alongside Argul’s Tomb. There were various other packs included as well, featuring new weapons and armour, and in all truthfulness the Deathinitive edition was the complete package. It’s just a shame it didn’t play as well as the original game that kicked the whole Darksiders thing off. 

So these are my memories from October 2015 and of the Deathinitive Edition of Darksiders II. In fact, it has galvanised me to go back and try and finish it now, so I’m redownloading it as I type. But what about you guys out there on the other side of the internet? Did you play the game, and if so did you enjoy it? Let us know in the comments!

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