Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition Review

Right before THQ bit the big one following a harsh fight with bankruptcy, the company released its finest sequel to date, Darksiders II. Like the original, it featured a superb storyline revolving around morality, with a number of great characters in tow. However, unlike the first, instead of controlling War, you took up the helm of his brother-in-arms, Death, as he tried to bring humanity back from extinction – a task that’s easier said than done.

The original game is still one of the better titles for the 360/PS3/Wii U, and now it’s made a comeback with a new Deathinitive Edition for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. It’s got its little visual touches here and there, and also includes all the previously released DLC, so you don’t have to worry about any separate downloads. Plus, at $30, it’s one of the more affordable HD remasters out there. But is it worth it?

Regarding the Xbox One version, I did run into a few hiccups early on, including some audio stuttering when I was in the sub-menus. In addition, the frame rate doesn’t run a smooth 60 frames per second, unlike the technically impressive treatment given to DmC: Devil May Cry last year. So it’s not quite truly as definitive as it’s saying it is.

But I digress. What remains is a remarkable adventure that’s worth venturing through again, due to Vigil Games’ wondrous gameplay features. Controlling Death is pretty sweet, whether you’re dodging incoming attacks from enemies or hacking away with your combination of scythes and larger weapons (how about that battle axe!). The gameplay hasn’t stuttered a bit in the translation, and there’s a ton of stuff to do here, including the main story campaign and plenty of side missions.

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On top of that, the boss battles are nothing short of magnificent, whether you’re battling a large plant-like creature or a lumbering, Shadow of the Colossus-esque giant with a revolver in hand. And you have plenty of ample chances to get new gear, between shopping at a forge and finding items dropped by foes during your journey.

While the graphics aren’t amazing, Nordic Games did a serviceable job touching them up so that they fit right into this generation. The levels look awesome, and the frame rate, while not 60 FPS, is still suitable enough to make you feel like you’re a part of this world. The animations are impressive as well.

But, oh, that sound. The soundtrack, put together by Jesper Kyd, is amazing to listen to, even after all these years. And the voice acting matches up with it just as well, especially with Death himself, masterfully voiced by Michael Wincott. He gives Death just the right amount of heft, along with some fun bits of humor. “You want me to find you a DISH?!” couldn’t have been read any better.

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One thing that bugs me, though. If Nordic really wanted to make this version “Deathinitive”, they would’ve added the original game. The first Darksiders is still a treat to play, and also has the superb voice talents of Mark Hamill to back it up. Alas, no sign of it here. I certainly hope it gets its due down the road, though. I know some people that can’t get enough of it.

Regardless, Darksiders II: Deathinitive Edition, while not quite the be-all-end-all transfer we were hoping for, is still a fantastic game. It’s a lot of fun to play, the story still has lots of strength behind it, and the presentation is impressive, if not perfect. If you’re an action gamer in need of a fix, it certainly doesn’t hurt to take a holiday with Death.

Good

  • Still plays wonderfully, and you can upgrade your gear and skills quite well
  • A solid presentation, and Michael Wincott is the perfect fit for Death
  • Plenty to do, between additional DLC and other side missions

Bad

  • The frame rate isn't quite as smooth as it could've been
  • Occasional performance stutters, especially in menus
  • No sign of the first Darksiders
8

Great

Robert Workman is a veteran who’s worked for many sites over the years, including GameCrate, AOL GameDaily and Segadojo. When he’s not playing video games, he’s enjoying a fine craft beer and talking about how much Star Wars: The Force Awakens is going to rock. Oh, yeah, and his game shirt collection rocks.

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