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This was a tough game to review. Darksiders 2 is actually a pretty big departure from the first game, both in story and gameplay. The game world opened up a lot more with tons of content, dungeons, and collectibles, and they also introduced the concept of Diablo or Borderlands style random loot drops and equipment slots. While I enjoyed the abundant chest hunting for newer and better loot, and the possessed weapons that you could feed your old loot too to make stronger the chaotic brawling gameplay never took full advantage of all the little stats like increased health or fire damage. The only one to make a huge difference was life steal as you could only have a limited amount of health potions. The combat I feel was actually a step down from its predecessor; while faster and more chaotic, I felt like I was just hammering on the X and Y buttons while occasionally throwing in some Necromancer abilities, whereas in the first game I really learned the combos and felt far superior by the end of the game. Also, Death's dodge is annoyingly slow and awkward compared to how fast he attacks.
A lot of the changes could be forgiven as just trying different things had the story picked up where the first game left off (Darksiders was considered by many to have one of the best endings of this console generation). Instead they told a sort of parallel prequel that was basically "While War was incapacitated during the prologue of the first game, here's what Death was doing in a totally different world." At one point Death does actually travel to Earth for a weird shooter segment that only made me miss the original Darksiders even more.
While the sequel is not a bad game by any means, I do feel the developers went a little overboard on expanding the content and the collectibles. By the end of my 30hr adventure I still had a ton of those collectible side quests left, and no desire to go nit picking through various beaten dungeons to find them. Remember the Gold Skulltula quest in Ocarina of Time? Yeah there are like four of those here. New Game Plus would've been really interesting but again after 30hrs on my first playthrough I just didn't feel like committing the time to retread through everything. The original Darksiders, however, I did replay on Apocalyptic and got the full 1000GS (Xbox 360).
I enjoyed the game, despite running into a game breaking bug that stopped my progress right in the last dungeon until a patch a month later allowed me to finally beat it. But its a weird game to recommend as it is significantly different than the original. I appreciate that sequels should not just be full retreads of their previous games with just a few tweaks, but in this case I feel like the devs got a little overambitious and lost some focus along the way. I would be interested in a third game based on the world they've created and I still love the Zelda style gameplay, but it might not be the day one purchase that Darksiders 2 was.
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