Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition brings gamers some of the most engaging ARPG dungeon-crawling since Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time. It’s creative world-building and storytelling offer an engaging experience for new and returning players. But just how well does a 7-year-old game hold up against modern offerings? Let's find out. Grab that coffee, kick back and enjoy this review of Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition for Nintendo Switch.
Set to run parallel to the events of the first game, Darksiders II finds Death, one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, on a personal mission to resurrect Humanity in the hopes of clearing his brother War’s name by literally removing the crimes he was charged for. Death fights tirelessly crossing both Heaven and Hell in an effort to free his brother. The story, much like the Orginal, offers a creative and fresh take on many familiar concepts and lore pieces woven into our own history. It is this creative narrative along with story delivery that draws me into the world of Darksiders every time I pick it up.
In the case of the Nintendo Switch, the visuals and audio have been ported over to run smoothly and consistently. During my playthrough, the game ran well with no major frame rate drops or clipping. Interestingly though I did come across an odd colouring issue that seemed to take place while transitioning between the maps open-world areas. There was an ever so slight difference in the colouring of a zone before and after crossing the loading threshold as if someone applied a warm or cool filter to the lighting. While not a game-breaking issue it was never the less an odd thing to experience.
The world itself is a beautiful mix of both wide sweeping landscapes and intricate dungeon designs. Darksiders II offers players a wide range of tilesets to take in and each feels distinct and unique. I found myself wanting to explore every nook and cranny along the way. Despite having played it pretty heavily during its early years, the world-building has held up exceptionally well and invites players to explore.
Another strength of Darksiders II comes in the form of environmental puzzles. Much like Legend of Zelda, Darksiders offers a wide range of puzzles for the player to navigate and solve. Some are necessary for progression, others simply reward explorers with more loot. All seem to offer a perfect balance of challenge and reward.
Unlike so many games that struggle to find a balance with environmental puzzles, Darksiders II balances the tension line like a pro. Some of the most satisfying moments in the game came from solving the last in a series of combinations or navigating a series of jump puzzles to reach the next area. It’s a mechanic that, when done poorly becomes a point of frustration for players. However, when done well, it meshes naturally with the game's other mechanics.
Above all else, Darksiders II is a great action RPG. The combat is a huge upgrade over the original and arguably better the III. Death’s twin scythes offer a much faster and engaging experience than War’s Broad sword and allow for some much more creative ways of engaging multiple enemies. The controls feel tight and responsive on the Switch and the button layout feels natural to use.
As mentioned earlier even during intense moments of combat the game ran without frame drops. Targetting and dodging were swift and fluid and the overall experience was exceptionally satisfying. The only real slow down came during menu navigation. When scrolling between menu screens the game seemed to hesitate for a second before the transition. I wasn’t a major issue but one that seemed out of place considering how well the rest of the game runs overall on the Switch.
I did run into another issue worth noting. During the playthrough, there was actually a point where the game locked up completely. I still had control over the Switch itself and could easily navigate out to the home screen, exit the game and restart. However, it was frustrating considering that my last checkpoint was quite far back in the level. I tried to reproduce the issue several times without ever managing to repeat it which leaves me to believe that it was a fluke error.
You Get Loot and you get loot. Everybody gets Loot!
One of the greatest improvements over Darksiders I was the introduction of a much deeper progression and loot management system. While the first game in the series had a few smatterings of RPG elements, Darksiders II chose to lean heavily into them and offer a great skill tree system that really allows you to cater the game to your play style. Offering two distinct paths of progression DS2 allows you to mix and match talents to your heart's content. This culminates in some rather unique builds for players to explore and try out.
The aforementioned loot system is another great addition to Darksider II. It allows players to collect unique armour and weapons; some of which can be upgraded along the way. Each item brings with it a new visual that allows for some pretty sweet looking variations in Death’s appearance. These mechanics come together to offer players a truly unique character progression experience.
Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition for Nintendo Switch offers new players the opportunity to play some of the finest Action RPG material on the market. With some creative storytelling, Interesting and engaging world and silky smooth combat, Darksiders II is a wonderful addition to the Switch family. So if you’re in the market for your next ARPG be sure to put Darksiders II on the shortlist.
- Beautifully crafted worlds
- Great story telling
- Smooth engaging combat
- Weird Color tinting in the open world
- Sluggish menu systems to navigate
Full disclosure: A copy of this game was provided for review purposes.